Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

March Flash Fiction Winner: Catherine Graham

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Want to try your hand at flash fiction? Check out Renee Miller's April Flash Fiction Challenge on Open Book.

Congratulations to Catherine Graham, who wrote March’s winning submission titled “The Queen is Not Welcome Here”. What an awesome piece of writing. Thanks to Catherine, and to everyone who submitted excellent pieces of writing which made my decision very difficult. Check out April’s writing challenge here and wow me again.

The Queen Is Not Welcome Here

By Catherine Graham

the blood I am sweating rubs off on the sheet,
but I’m still holding on to my head.
What cocktail is Daddy preparing for me?
What ferments in pathology’s sink?
“Gethsemane Day,” Dorothy Molloy

She won’t leave, the Queen.
She is hogging my room, my living room.
She is waiting for me to leave
my bedroom and Bobby Orr keeps
waiting by the door,
tapping his hockey stick
like a clock, a trick —
Get out. I won’t. I cradle
myself in my sheets,
the blood I am sweating rubs off on the sheet,
a red that hides. But I see like I hear
the “Pomp and Circumstance”
playing outside my chair-jammed door.
She is hungry now, her Royal Highness.
I sense it for the brass has stopped.
Her growls slip through the doorway slit,
quick pink contractions.
I grab
for the phone. I holler: I’m coming!
but I’m still holding on to my head
between the sheets. It hurts
even more with this receiver
at my ear. “They won’t leave,”
I say to my daughter. “Calm down,
Mother. I’m coming over.”
And the music starts up again
to the tapping stick, and the Avenger is waiting
in his bowler hat, his brelly’s a tock
to Bobby Orr’s tack.
What cocktail is Daddy preparing for me?
When will my daughter open the door?
I hear my lost youth
in her questioning voice. But the flat
is quiet again
when I walk out, quiet as empty.
I peek out the front —
she is tossing a bag down the garbage chute.
I hear the long slide. “Say goodbye
to them, Mother.” I won’t. I can’t.
What ferments in pathology’s sink?

Catherine Graham is the author of four acclaimed poetry collections: The Watch and the poetry trilogy Pupa, The Red Element and Winterkill. Vice President of Project Bookmark Canada and Marketing Coordinator for the Rowers Pub Reading Series, she holds an MA in Creative Writing from Lancaster University (UK) and teaches creative writing at the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies. Visit: www.catherinegraham.com

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