Kayla Czaga | SMALL POEM

The closest thing I have to a heritage
is a photograph of my grandmother
being fake-arrested in a fake saloon
in Arizona. Two cowboy actors aim
plastic pistols at her. She’s laughing
in the photo, my grandmother,
in cowboy boots and a 10-gallon hat,
her face thrown back to the rafters.
When anyone says, I heard she shot
her husband, her sons chorus,
Which one? Four-foot-eight and she
wielded every inch. In her left hand,
she crumpled the word orphan
like a napkin and belched into it.
In her right hand: vodka and gifts.
The colours of her flag are identical
to the colours of flags from many
other countries. The colours of her
sweatpants are bargain-bin bright.
And the colours of her flag are
I’m going to count to three and
[no translation available] and Go
tie back your hair so I can see
your beautiful face.


Kayla Czaga is the author of the poetry collections For Your Safety Please Hold On (Nightwood Editions, 2014), Dunk Tank (House of Anansi, 2019) and Midway (House of Anansi, 2024). She lives with her wife on the traditional territory of the Lekwungen people (Victoria BC)