The War Came As If a Dream

Michael Prior


Welcome to the second installment of Broadside Thirty, our new feature for young poets. Each digital broadside will feature one poem under thirty lines by a poet under thirty years old. Today we feature a poem by Michael Prior.


The War Came As If a Dream

Our children volunteered our eyes, for they

had seen more through them than us. Iron-clad,

sulfur-borne, we lived a field of camphor

that embalmed our every step. It’s true:

we shot a man and stole his home to sleep.

Later, like wind-up birds, we sang our way

to ruin, passed cities gutted and aflame.

Lanterns shattered glassy nights on rooftops,

the papers good for naught but kindling.

Our dreams grew greater than we could explain,

while our prayers chose clarity over colour,

colour over light. I fear we will remember

everything in a single shade. Eternity

opened up but once. Our answer was a gun.



Michael Prior is currently a student in the University of Toronto’s MA in Creative Writing Program. His poems have appeared, or are forthcoming, in The Collagist, Geist, Lemon Hound, and The Malahat Review. The winner of The Walrus’ 2014 Poetry Prize and Grain’s 2014 Short Grain Contest, his first chapbook will be published in 2014 by Frog Hollow Press and his first full-length collection will be published by Véhicule Press’ Signal Editions in 2016.

Submissions to Broadside Thirty (poets under thirty years old may submit up to three poems, each under thirty lines) or any other categories on The Open Bar may be sent to with the category name in the subject line.