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Sunday, October 2, 2011

On January 14th, 2010, Tyler Bigney

I drank a quart of vodka
and went over to play pond hockey
with the neighbour’s kids
and their friends and their friends.
We lined up and picked sides,
and I was picked somewhere
in the middle. I skated end to end,
took slap shots, and skated backwards
quicker than they could skate forward.
All in all, I scored eight goals,
and set up seven more. I was unstoppable.
I told the kids I once tried out
for an NHL team, and they believed me.
That night, sore and immobile
I passed out on the floor
amongst the dust and dog fur,
and woke at sunrise to call in
sick for work. The phone didn’t ring
until almost two in the afternoon:
My mother calling to say hello,
and to wish me happy birthday.
Twenty seven years old, she said,
I remember the day you were born.
I thanked her and hung up,
watching the phone, waiting
for it to ring again, but it didn’t.
I watched the sun sneak through the crack
in the curtains. And the clouds,
they rolled along like summer fog,
as I whispered happy birthday,
choking on the dust,
and figured it was time I grew up.
Maybe travel to Ukraine, soak in
a culture unlike my own. Maybe
quit the plastic factory, once and
for all, or go back to school and
take up carpentry, so I can fix
what’s broken around the house.
And for a second there,
I almost believed it myself.

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