Surprise!

I’m here to tell you I escaped
through a sewer line, in a blue prairie frock
on dishwashed hands and knobby knees.
I travelled north and north and north

through that subterranean tube, all the while forgetting
what they taught me about dinosaur riding, about tater tots,
about front hugs, about God. All the while collecting
opinions like Dollar Store gemstones, new and sparkly,

but hard to brag about. My perm unfurled
four miles in and I ripped off my shit-soaked dress
after five. When I emerged from that manhole,
I pulled my hair into a slapdash bun

and wandered the wheat fields of Saskatchewan.
I found myself a Tim Hortons, a cup of devil’s brew,
double-double, which I sipped buck naked
as the Canadians looked elsewhere politely.


Jaclyn Desforges is a writer, editor and workshop facilitator whose work has appeared in Mortar MagazineLiterary Mama and Peregrine. She's the winner of the 2018 RBC/PEN Canada New Voices Award and is currently completing her MFA in creative writing at the University of British Columbia. Jaclyn lives in Hamilton with her husband and daughter and is writing her first book of poetry.