According to the survey

If I had one word to describe myself? Irrepressible.
One fruit? Strawberry.
One meal? Garlic prawns with a peanut butter sandwich.
One piece of playground equipment? The merry-go-round.

What a delectable monster I’ve become it seems, wading
through the middle of life as if it were a strange kind
of kiddy pool — half tears, half frothing with bubble bath
& translucent Jello.

I’ve decided not to answer to anyone, the main amended
addendum in my little black book of going on, and when you
tell me I shouldn’t share photos of my filet mignon,
nor dance too recklessly at the cabaret nor develop

feelings for whomever opens my legs to the sky,
well, I’m flipping you the proverbial bird right now,
only my middle finger is a phoenix and its ashes
are all the times I said yes to the darkness

unzipping its pants in the alleyway behind Helen’s Grill.
Animal? A wolf.
Plant? A prickly pear.
Clothing? A furry ginch.

Dream? The one where my band was called the Random
Zambonis and it was happiness not to make sense in all flavours
of rhythm ice cream and I was a child again, building epic
sandcastles, reading endless Nancy Drews, not defining

myself by any flawed systems of measurement.
Clock? Cuckoo.
Hat? Cowgirl.
Tree? Cedar.

Future? Outlaws around a campfire.
Do you know me yet? If so, would you pass me the salt?


Author’s Bio

Catherine Owen has published 15 collections of poetry and prose. Her most recent books are Riven (ECW, 2020) and the anthology Locations of Grief: an emotional geography (Wolsak & Wynn, 2020). This poem is from a manuscript in progress called The Flowers Terminal. Raised in Vancouver, she now lives in Edmonton.