Catriona Wright is the author of the poetry collection Table Manners (Véhicule Press, 2017) and the short story collection Difficult People (Nightwood Editions, 2018). Her poems have appeared in Prism International, Prairie Fire, Fiddlehead, and Lemon Hound, and they have been anthologized in The Next Wave: An Anthology of 21st Century Canadian Poetry and in The Best Canadian Poetry 2015 & 2018. She is the poetry editor for The Puritan and a co-founder of Desert Pets Press.
The woman who eats tar lives next to
The woman who eats detergent who lives next to
The woman who eats dirt
When they carve me open, they’ll find bolts, screws
and fine red potter’s clay. My baby is half ashes,
half cornstarch, half chalk. In the back garden,
I use both hands to shovel the soil in, tender earthworms
tickling my tonsils, snail shells scraping my tongue.
The woman who eats paint chips lives next to
The woman who eats pebbles who lives next to
The woman who eats wool
I am not one of those monogamists who swoons
imagining the heft of her favourite stationary.
I am as happy wolfing down cream card stock
as I am nibbling gemstone sparkle tissue paper.
Ever since I tore my mouth lock off, I’ve been binging
like a magpie, every glint and texture.
The woman who eats mucus lives next to
The woman who eats lipstick who lives next to
The woman who eats bottle caps
Let the tyrants stomp through their kitchens slapping
dazed sous-chefs with steaks. Let them caress
the garlic press and lemon zester. I am not interested
in stoves, those great civilizers. I am not interested in
marinate, broil, bake. Just pluck me a couple of silver
nostril hairs, the coarser the better, and I’ll be on my way.
From Table Manners, Copyright Catriona Wright, 2017.