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.
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.
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.