“As a lesson in technique, Katie Fewster-Yan models the right positioning of the self in poetry, neither invisible nor exposed. On first reading, ‘PR’ is like an inconsolable, wailing baby. It pierces your attention and ransacks your composure right to its oddly arrogant and uncertain last line. And it gets better on subsequent readings. You leave it and come back and it’s crying even more loudly, but musically like an opera singer and somewhat more recognizably like your own baby suffering.”
—Ian Williams, Thomas Morton Memorial Prize Judge, 2015
Zest is a soap brand and the thin bright skin
around the bitter pith of citrus and a quality
that depressed persons struggle to muster.
Small tablets are prescribed to promote happiness,
circulating packets of neurotransmitters from their satchels,
brain cell to brain cell, like good campaign managers.
MAKE EVERY THOUGHT VOTE HAPPY! is the neurotic
optimist’s slogan, self-affirmation being as key
to the good life as Lysol to counter health,
as is performing each step on the hand-washing
manual to maintaining the distinction between self
and maliciously infiltrating substances.
These days, hens are fed cornmeal and marigold petals
to yellow their yolks. People prefer them this way,
lack of striking pigment mitigated, in the same way light
prefers not to bend when it reaches an obstacle
and instead face plants over everything like bird shit
on a windshield. Not all can resign so exquisitely.
Tomorrow, I will fill my prescription for a thousand
lemon cakes. I will become a millennium. I will not
get scurvy. In time, I think we all might learn to love me.
Katie Fewster-Yan grew up in Toronto. She is currently living, writing, and studying in Fredericton.