Marika Prokosh



The Home for Wayward Spinsters has large windows overlooking the street. The spinsters like natural light, and they don’t worry about attackers after the example they made of one in 1987 (his horrified face has been bronzed and mounted on the cellar door). The Home for Wayward Spinsters keeps a well-stocked pantry because proper nutrition is important, but so is eating fancy cheese on toast with a glass of wine on a gloomy Tuesday evening. The Home for Wayward Spinsters has a large electric van and two strapping boxing coaches they send for sisters in tight corners. The Home for Wayward Spinsters abolished the word unlovable in 2002, because who couldn’t love the rare gifts of lace-knitting, divination, or high-level math. The Home for Wayward Spinsters has a library packed with works from Sappho to Emma Goldman to Claudia Rankine, and a generous interlending program. The Home for Wayward Spinsters has increased recovery outcomes for women with cancer because having a wife is the major recovery indicator, while a husband is a liability. The Home for Wayward Spinsters operates in defiance of the private pro-business nuclear family state. The Home for Wayward Spinsters has benefits that include dental, eye care, reproductive, hormones, gender confirmations surgery, and mental health care. The Home for Wayward Spinsters is looking into rural support options. The Home for Wayward Spinsters is always open. The Home for Wayward Spinsters is a far-flung unincorporated unstable completely necessary network of female-centric support. To get in touch, bring a thermos of tea and a cup of sugar to a spinster in your area. Build a boat.





Snow accumulates
on the sill, the path
to the gate, obliterates
all the abandoned
nests. She reads Shirley Jackson
novels and bakes odd-end
casseroles, grows, whitens,
persists. She lets the baseboards
gather dust, eats the second
serving herself, mismatches
socks. She works nights—no one sees
her, Reigning Library Ghost
would be the title on her cards
if she had them. In purple knits and crooked
hair, she pays the fine for leaving
a lover others find more convenient
to see (their friends crowding in
with wine and records, an apartment
she’ll never see bright with new paint, laughter,
neon winking from the busy strip), but
she has chosen this feral habit, nights
in quiet labour, days
of sweet industry, the queen
of this goddamn
castle, mistress of ovens
and ballpoint pens,
who scratches
through the white
winter days before
they bury her.





One tick from a trailing strand
of sound clicks from her clock
in a dark room. A pot erupts
on the element. All
that this small inconvenience
will take. A lie rises and tips
from your lips, the word so slight
you could lose it
in a change purse. A dish
loosens from my grasp’s sure
gravity. A dropped beat
skips—lethal slip
of morphine sticks and stops
his heart’s quick engine.
A flash snaps the evidence:
we were happy. An arbitrary
mutation of one year (candles!
kisses!) into another, one age
to the next: youth, modernity, post-
apocalypse. Fermat’s Conjecture resolves
in a final proof—eureka! Stockbrokers
and obituary departments perform
fickle subtraction. A forgotten
bill comes suddenly due.



Marika Prokosh is a Winnipeg writer and library factotum. Her writing has appeared in Prairie Fire, Existere, rip/torn, and online at The Toast, where she writes the poetic divination advice column “The Spinster’s Almanac.” She reads and cooks in an old blue house downtown.

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