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C.N.P Poetry 

The Stats Spell Doom, Oh Well.; A Married Friend has the Newly Engaged Over for Tea; Unsworth Vineya

By: Laura Stephenson

The Stats Spell Doom, Oh Well.

Now, forty-seven percent of insects drop dead!

Anyway, the science is inconclusive to why.

It’s not just agro-pesticides or the pounding of 

electromagnetic waves. The hippies don’t eat fish

anymore. The science is inconclusive to why

I’m neither spitting nor a panicked froth.

Don’t wave the electromagnetic fish, hippie,

I’m blind by the theoretical end of pollination.

I am neither-nor. A frothed panic spits

a yeast to colonize through rhetoric. Youth strike &

I’m the theoretical end of pollination? Blind

pathogens suck their host dead. We consume, spread

through youth. Rhetoric strikes to colonize & yeast

a gloom rising in the fevered choral despair of

their dead. We pathogens suck, consume, spread—

fuck food security, the budget needs a balance.

A fevered gloom in the rising despair in coral

science; I’m not blasting with cyanide to eat seafood.

The budget needs a fuck. “Balance food security!”

ninety-nine percent howl while wearing WiFi earbuds.

I’m not with cyanide science, blasting seafood to eat

agro-pesticides. It’s not just the pounding of

WiFi’s howl; Ninety-nine percent wear earbuds while

forty-seven percent of insects now drop dead! 

A Married Friend has the Newly

Engaged Over for Tea

“I’ve really got to start wearing an apron too.”

Her eyes met mine, lips stretched

as we laugh deep from our ribs.

The joke— a shared acceptance of our maternal echoes,

despite our lifelong conscious effort 

to be unlike anything in those women.

I notice my hands smooth the thick cotton smock

wrapped and tied like a corset,

streaked with floured fingers and wet slops 

of washing bubbles where hipbones meet the countertop. 

“It’s the veil of commitment,” she says and I see her see

my bare toes on the kitchen floor,

stitched red letters spelling HERS across my chest.

Our eyes catch again, I say,

“it’s a costume for a role anyone can play,”

while I tug the strings behind my back.

The fabric billows, drapes back down over my body, 

unrestricted, momentarily warmed to my shape.

I duck my head freely from the noose of domesticity,

to be hung neatly on the pantry hook next to HIS.

Unsworth Vineyard Restaurant, Summer ‘17

I shake drinks. Froth egg whites, skewer olives,

melt sugar with herbs, an alchemy of elixirs.

Squeezed a thousand lemons and limes,

a drop of citrus will blister my skin now.

I stage plates. An aromatic, edible backdrop

on one-of-a-kind ceramics. Heavy hand-thrown bowls

decorated with local rabbit, arugula, Ling cod.

Fingers alone present date night.

I strut legs. Glossy duck thighs or smooth Bordeaux,

spread wide across glass. My own muscular limbs glide

up stairs down halls in an illusion of relaxed leisure.

Our troupe depends on their metronomic performance.

I spiel wine. Red velvet tongue unrolling

tannin this, lactic fermentation that, buttery mouthfeel yums.

Dazzle so every glass is a Grand Cru, swirling the poetic

jargon around my lips into paper in my pocket.

I serve culture. Pine table top theatre shines

in candle wax spotlight, your opportunity to play a role:

The nouveau riche, the food critic, the justmarried.

Comedy or tragedy, a black apron is license to ad-lib.


Laura Stephenson is a fourth-year Writing and Philosophy major at the University of Victoria. When not studying, she's writing and keeping busy with gender-violence advocacy work. Laura is lucky to live on gorgeous Vancouver Island with her husband and wild sons.

"I wrote these poems in three distinct moments of my life. They all share a bit of wonder and humour, like each poem's speaker is both confidently sure of their performance and yet amused at the banality and complexity of day-to-day life's situation. In work, home, and our shared environment, circumstances can feel fatalistic and also completely within our own control. These poems give voice to performative reaction."


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