Whoonu? 

The game is simple:
guess each other’s favourite things
among these words on yellow cards,

baths or trucks
or corn-on-the-cob?

The game is simple.

Pickles are ahead of long hair if
they’re dill and it’s not my hair.
They rank after breakfast in bed if
food is served on pottery
with a lone carnation on the tray:
raspberries, homemade eggs,
freshly squeezed bread
and free-run orange juice.

The game is simple,
if you don’t think about it.

Bagpipes outstrip barbequing by a mile if
outside and the day not hot.
Black is better than most perfume, but . . .
combing cinnamon sticks through hair for scent
or rubbing hands with dried orange peels
– do those count?

The game is not simple.
Everything has context.

Snowball fights exceed cotton candy,
unless the boys from West Flamborough School
are in any way involved.
Then I’d rather have pink gobs
of sticky stuff.

The game is not simple.
It relies on memory.

Between speedboat and turtleneck,
I draw a blank, since speedboats can be fun,
but pollute our lakes, and breasts squeeze
warmly on polyester as they itch.
Oysters or crafts? `Making crafts better than
eating raw oysters; smoked oysters
preferable to buying crafts.

“You’re not playing right,”
she leaves the room.
Again the game is simple.
It’s over.

you have to choose
you have to choose
you have to choose

Monika H. Lee is a full professor of English literature and outgoing Chair of Humanities at Brescia University College, affiliated with Western University in London, Ontario, where she teaches nineteenth-century literature, a wide range of other English courses, and creative writing. Monika completed a B.A. in French and English at the University of Toronto, M.A. and Ph.D. in English at the University of Western Ontario. She graduated from the Humber College School of Writing with high distinction in poetry. Her publications include Rousseau’s Impact on Shelley:  Figuring the Written Self (1999); gravity loves the body: poems by monika lee (2008); poetry chapbooks, slender threads (2004) and skin to skin (2016); many essays on literature, and dozens of poems in literary journals and anthologies. She won an Ontario Arts Council Writers’ Reserve grant to begin a new book of poems, If water breathes, recently completed, and is currently looking for a publisher.

To view other poems published in this issue please visit Vallum’s website.

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