The Frequent Flyer’s Monster Manual
I meet the devil in an airport Chili’s.
She extols the importance
of marriage, careers, tipping only six percent
for average service.
How did she get through security?
Is sulphur and brimstone status quo
for YYC after 10 pm, and what other creatures lurk
in late-night terminals, embrace the ethereal
between heres and theres,
like the shoeshine guy who says hello
every time I pass him by on my path
around gates C-16 and A-whatever--
a circle which always leads me back to Chili’s
and the shoeshine stand,
wondering who needs their shoes shined at this hour
and if the devil really wears Prada.
Maybe the shoeshine guy is an angel
sent to spy.
Or maybe he’s a fey folk,
tracing fairy rings from my footsteps between gates,
mistaking me for someone like himself:
a shapeshifter, centaur, mermaid, half-being who bounces
between two cities, borders, bodies.
Let me out of your circle, fairy man;
I have to find my way home.
On the migration patterns of rats
There are no rats in Alberta.
Habitat maps outline that border I crossed
to a new house--
home is up for debate.
Still, I’ve yet to see a rat.
Sometimes, grass shimmies
on the wrong side of the Ambassador Bridge;
I say to nobody
‘Maybe that was a rat!’
My mentor told me not to rent here.
‘What could be wrong
with a neighbourhood named Sandwich’
I ask nobody, knowing my relationship with food:
all day without meals
the thought ‘holy shit I am still here’
but depression has zero calories
so I shotgun late-night pizzas into my emptiness
go to bed hungry
for something else.
I dream that I don’t eat the whole pizza,
that rats scurry around
my unfurnished apartment
with chunks of crust.
I dream the rats grow wings.
I know it’s foolish, but we all cross borders somehow.
Skylar Kay is a poet from Windsor, Ontario. Much of her work to this point has been haiku/haibun but she is exploring longer poetry. Her debut book of poetry Transcribing Moonlight came out through Frontenac House in April 2022, and she is currently working on her MA thesis.