from The Solve by Medrie Purdham, a finalist in the Vallum Chapbook Award contest for 2023
You saved your meat trays from the grocery
for the assaults of my rounded needle.
A colourful fraying wyrm popped above
and plunged below, above and below,
the splintering surface of that white lake.
That’s how the children played again
during the early pandemic, Omi, with
all the purity of salvage: a tabletop game
made of clothespins and marbles.
A loping paper horse, his feet cut
wedgewise, who could walk
himself down a ramp.
The cards on the floor still returned matches
in our memory game; everything felt a bit
like stitches, my first hand. Nobody
in the street, no room a stopping-place,
and time a curling fret. My child asked,
Is the university empty? and it was.
Could it be a roller rink? he asked,
and I felt like you, Omi, when I said,
Just this once.
Medrie Purdham lives in Treaty 4 and teaches at the University of Regina. Her first book of poetry, Little Housewolf, was published by Véhicule in 2021 and won a Saskatchewan Book Award. She was the runner-up in Arc Magazine’s Poem of the Year competition in 2019, and her poetry has appeared three times in Best Canadian Poetry (Tightrope Books).