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The Great Contraction by Rachael Madore

Updated: Jan 31, 2022

Art by Bhaswati Bose

The Great Contraction


Turning tides

Time creeping on

Turning seasons

From fall-winter to winter-winter

From freedom, access, expansion

To this guttural Great Contraction

That takes root in the under-most belly of the city

As all its members gather their loved ones

Ben, Jerry, the cat, the roommate

And retreat

Under cover from nature’s cruellest trick

I stare a man down

On the bus I can no longer evade paying for

(Because one Great Contraction inescapably invites others)

I sense him gathering his mental troops

To battle this 4-month beast

I nod; I feel myself contracting, too

In small ways

Saying no, wincing, groaning

Fantasizing, avoiding, astral projecting

Scheming escape routes to Costa Rica

Any way to remember

An existence where one could step outside,

Outstretch naked arms,

And embrace the sun

About the poet:

I am a conscious storyteller on a lifelong journey to explore critical issues of environment, justice, and healing, and further to help build the world that I believe in. Recently graduated from Strategic Management and Environment at McGill University, I am currently working on the project of a lifetime: building a global network of human stories. Previously, I have led campaigns for national non-profits at a creative agency, made a documentary about the experience of queer women in Paris, and wrote a two-time published research paper on southern African wildlife conservation. As I write my way through this journey, my goal is to get ever closer to the truths of our humanity, and in doing so, rewrite the narrative that will shape our future on this planet. You can follow my blog at

About the artist:

Bhaswati recently completed her graduation from NIFT, Bhubaneswar. She currently works as a graphic designer at Missing Link Trust and occasionally takes up freelance projects as a side hustle. She draws inspiration from the most mundane things in life, wildflowers and music, buildings and people. She always carries a sketchbook wherever she goes and her favourite thing in the world is her microtip pens. Apart from art, she likes solo dates to museums, reading, stationery hoarding, and petting her cats. Find her work at Instagram or Behance.


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