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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 Ontario,

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

consume emptiness



the thought ‘holy shit I am still here’

but depression has zero calories

so I shotgun late-night pizzas into my emptiness

half succeed

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.

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