Voting is now open for the 2022 Aurora Awards! My poem, "My Pillow Eats Screams," is on the ballot in the Best Poem or Song category. On this page, you can:

  • Download a short ebook of the poem
  • Learn what the Aurora Awards are
  • How you can vote
  • Read the poem itself

I have a separate page about what inspired me to write "My Pillow Eats Screams".

Read on!


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What are the Aurora Awards?

The Aurora Awards are fan-voted awards for Canadian speculative fictionAny Canadian can take part. All nominated works across categories for novels, short stories, poetry, graphic novels, organizations and more must be by a Canadian. Then, any Canadian can nominate a work to get on the ballot, and vote on the final ballot.

I have been on the final ballot several times in various categories, and I won for poetry in 2018. I'm hoping to win again.

How can you help?

First, you have to be Canadian to take part. This includes long-time Canadian residents and citizens living abroad.

To vote:

  1. Go to the Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Association (CSFFA) website and become a member. There is a $10 fee to join, but CSFFA members get a voter's package of the works that make it on the ballot. That's novels, collections, stories, and more. It's a bargain.
  2. Once signed up, you can access the ballot to vote. (You must be logged into the CSFFA site to see this page)

My poem, "My Pillow Eats Screams," is in the Best Poem or Song category.

Voting uses a rank-ordered ballot, so you don't have to only vote for your top pick. You pick your favourite, second favourite, third favourite, and so on. This method ensures there must be broad community support for the winner, not just whoever gets the most votes. So if there's another poem you like better, you can still show support by making me your second or third choice. These second, third and even fourth place votes to matter because competition can be very tight, and a single fourth place vote can make a difference.

Voting closes July 23, 2022 at midnight Eastern Time.

Thanks for your support!

My Pillow Eats Screams

My pillow eats screams, engorged on these tears
Trapping confessions in celestial down

For six nights, six again, skies sang with steel
Trembled to warfare’s thunder
Titans of the clouds, leviathans of the air

Mornings brought
Purple-tinged blood
Stained roadways, rooftops.
Muddied ground drank greedily,
Sprouted mint and thistle,
Roses and cinnamon snaked
Over row house fences.

Through yards and parking lots,
cemeteries and playgrounds
I first walked then raced to gather—feathers
Colours beyond count
Colours that stuck some competitors mad or blind
I dodged, delivered blows
Filled a pocketful of feathered remnants
From the inner din and outer dark

Our battles brutal
Vicious in intensity,
Spread like fork lightning
Spilled blood to feed the mites and ticks and flies
Dawn’s calm gloom shattered by shattering bone
Gasping, gasping
Final sounds to leave a mortal throat

My treasure, safe beneath my head
Eyes swollen on recounting horrors inflicted, horrors endured
A father’s words and a mother’s hands
Smiling denials in tomorrow’s light
Silence the only armour

Replies, whispered in the small hours, of special death
Flawed, finite bodies jettisoned
An ascension, up and out and above
To touch the sky and rise above the inner din and outer dark
To the light that eradicates all

For six nights I wailed my well-practiced denials
Rationalizations like finely honed battle steel

For six more nights, I stalked, drenched in mortal blood
Until wings emerged from where they hid

We are as that which below has shaped us
We are as that which above calls us to be
I am, now, of everything and everyone
To—at last—scream in the heavens

"My Pillow Eats Screams" was published Polar Starlight, Issue #4