A Memorable Fancy

By Sina Queyras Sina Queyras
At the toll booth she stopped to ask who was in charge of the expressway, or future, the words slipping back and forth in front of her. A large-headed woman, her hair roped and lashed about her head, looked up and held out her hand: George Washington. Seven times.

I have no money, she said, suddenly aware that this was indeed a fact, as was the yoke around the woman’s upright neck. Her nostrils flared, her body strained against it, Al Green in the background. Are you a poet? she asked, meaning do you feel that tug? The roar of tires is the rhythm of my day, the woman said, every fourteen cars a sonnet. Behind her the city slickened: vehicles everywhere, idling, honking, revving, stiffening themselves against her. The braided woman did not flinch. George Washington, seven times.

I am lost, she said. Can you tell me where to start?

The braided woman’s thumbs smoothed the air. You can try Port Authority. But I wouldn’t hold my breath.

In response to the woman’s kindness, she shared her latest vision: Louis XVI is alive and living in Washington, a staggeringly blind man filling his frame with BBQ ribs and glazed ham. Under his bed he keeps a rifle, thinking a cattle rustler might show up in the night. Deeply suspicious of his dreams he hires a young woman to stand in the corner and lash herself all night as he sleeps.

It doesn’t matter if I see her, he said, it’s knowing she is somewhere lashing herself.

Sina Queyras, “A Memorable Fancy” from Expressway. Copyright © 2009 by Sina Queyras. Reprinted by permission of Coach House Books.

Source: Expressway (Coach House Press, 2009)

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Poet Sina Queyras

POET’S REGION Canada

Subjects Activities, Jobs & Working, Arts & Sciences, Poetry & Poets, Social Commentaries, History & Politics, Popular Culture

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 Sina  Queyras

Biography

Sina Queyras grew up on the road in western Canada and she has since lived in Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, New York, Philadelphia and Calgary where she was Markin Flanagan Writer in Residence. She is the author most recently of Unleashed (BookThug), a selection of posts from the first four years of her blog. Her previous collection of poetry, Expressway (Coach House 2009) was nominated for a Governor General’s Award and a . . .

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SUBJECT Activities, Jobs & Working, Arts & Sciences, Poetry & Poets, Social Commentaries, History & Politics, Popular Culture

POET’S REGION Canada

Poetic Terms Prose Poem

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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