spread out on the rocky beach
our full bacchanalia—
cucumbers stuffed with pearls, tins of Scott Expedition peaches,
of dodo pâté and communion sourdough
—and picnicked in full regalia:
Mom in her flapper dress glittered like moonlight on snow,
slayed in a K-mart tuxedo,
while dad with spats, brogues and a Patek Philippe
pumped the piston of a Coleman stove.
dipped his line in the lake
and snagged a Fiji mermaid by the lip.
He tossed it back. He was after rusalkas and this was a fake.
took out her needles and didn’t stop
till she made a cable knit
out of clippings she got from a barber shop.
hummed old Blind Lemon and toyed with Voyager probes
and full-scale battleships,
played Operation and got gore on my clothes.
around us could only stare
at our pataphysical banquet and dad’s siren fishing,
my Delta blues and mom’s sweaters of hair.
wasn’t our fault if our neighbours never got in our groove.
It wasn’t our problem if we left them wishing
they weren’t too polite to ask us to move.
Richard-Yves Sitoski (he/him) is the 2019-2022 Poet Laureate of Owen Sound, on the territory of the Saugeen Ojibway Nation. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Fiddlehead, The Maynard, Prairie Fire, Bywords.ca, in the League of Canadian Poets' Poetry Pause, and as part of Brick Books' Brickyard video series. He is a 2021 Best of the Net nominee and 2021 John Newlove Award winner. His latest book is No Sleep ‘til Eden, an augmented reality multimedia collection of poems on the environment. @r_sitoski rsitoski.com