Penelope Before Marriage Phoebe Wang There are no mermaids in Lake Ontario, but I have heard you singing. The girls leaned in, legs wobbling onboard, their footing unsure. Before the ferry crossed our path we tacked, taking our time with the racing done and the jib sheets slack. The wind flirted with their feathery hair, and they shivered as if feeling your eyes comparing their bare arms, tempting and harmless. One among us will be your true wife. Across the inner harbour, hotels lure and wink, waiting for your gamble. Prince of this pleasure craft, you sighed and looked away from the western gap and what awaits you beyond these sheltered waters. Soon we’d be motoring back for supper. Flaking the main, I hugged the mast. I never stopped my ears against your suit nor strained against what bound me. Our greatest hardships are those closest to home.


Phoebe Wang is a poet, reviewer and educator whose work has appeared in Arc Poetry Magazine, Canadian Literature, CV2, Descant, Grain, and The Malahat Review. She is a graduate of the U of T MA in Creative Writing program and her chapbook, Occasional Emergencies, appeared in 2013 with Odourless Press. More of her writing can be found at