I Forgot To Mention the Thunderball   The day I stepped through my Etch a Sketch signaled the end of an era. Over were the evenings my father would lie belly-down on the rumpus room rug, propped on his elbows winding mini-mazes for me to solve, as I counted bunnies on his Pilsner bottle. All I remember about Nicky Schrier is plastic pucks clicking back and forth on her air hockey table in the bruised glow of her mauve glitter lamp. I remember the sound of Polly Pocket dolls shuddering up the vacuum cleaner. I remember gel pens, pens with glowing ends, glow-in-the-dark stars constellating on all our bedroom ceilings below which I’d temporarily scrawl fuck on my Etch-A-Sketch until that day my foot split its Plexiglas screen. Where in the landfill is my Styrofoam solar system slowly leaking spray paint? I’ll never again live that morning before the science fair, balancing its coat-hanger frame on my lap in the passenger seat of the Astrovan. Like the mazes on my Etch a Sketch that day’s long since been shaken from the slate, nothing left of it, but the memory gone blurry and grey.   The Braggadocios As I write this, my hair is growing microscopically. One day it will touch Toronto where Michelle and Vincent live with their careers. Years ago we lived together in Victoria, drinking not enough water and heckling English professors. When Michelle cried, her freckles shone so brightly we all started counting them. Vincent wore wooden earrings and everyone kept talking about whether or not he should. Ah, to be young and starting a literary movement! In those days you could buy fish tacos for two dollars from a rusty shipping container and the wind was always threatening to toss Jessie off the dock. Every peeling Arbutus we passed reminded us to buy new pairs of second-hand pants. Even reading the word weep made us yawn. We called each other camaraderie. We read our poems out loud once a week to eight other people. In those days, my hair was very short. It didn’t need to be any longer. All I loved surrounded me—I could just reach out and slap it in the face.   Tech Support I have turned the thingy off and on, off and on. I have bonked the thingy with my hand and other doodads. So as to dislodge dust, I have blown into the thingy and lifted it above my head to gawk its problem from below. I have imitated the various whirring and beeping noises articulated by the thingy prior to its problem. I have complained loudly to no fewer than six men on ext. 473 about the failings of the thingy and received responses in the form of intricate coughs. I have confided intimate information into the thingy to appeal to its emotions. I have abused it with numerous expletives including but not limited to, conjugations of fuck. I have phoned the 1-800number and held on. I have procured the extended warranty. I have pushed and slid the components of the thingy, as if massaging. I have plunged a toothpick into the thingy, waited thirty seconds, and withdrawn said toothpick. I have performed a séance, contacting grandfather thingy, the telegraph, who responded with a series of rhythmic clicks, have you tried turning it off and then on?
Kayla Czaga grew up in Kitimat BC and currently lives in Vancouver. Her poetry, fiction, and nonfiction have appeared in The Walrus, EVENT, The New Quarterly, and The Antigonish Review, among others. For Your Safety Please Hold On (Nightwood Editions, 2014) is her first book of poetry.