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May-June 2018

My Teeth are Tombstones With Your Name Engraved on Them

New poetry by Kayla Czaga

Kayla Czaga

I am standing in a cemetery
eating a breakfast burrito, Kyla.
In its aesthetic wisdom the city
irrigates this cemetery by pumping
water through black tubes
so that our dead, however
problematically they lived, god
rest them, will reincarnate
as big dead trees with burgundy
rotting blossoms. Don’t worry, Kyla—
I know how death works. I know
as much as any living human
eating her breakfast burrito
in a cemetery, which is zilch,
not even if these eggs have loitered
too long in what’s known as danger
zone and grown toxic. I’m trying
to say I worry about dying.
I worry about my fertility, about
hurting Shaun, and not doing enough
about microaggressions on busses.
Beautiful women keep running
past me with beautiful sad faces
and sometimes well-bred panting
beautiful sad dogs. I know they will
outlive me by five minutes
for each kilometer they can manage
around our problematic dead. And
it might be worth it to be beautiful
and sad if it means I get to live
a few minutes, maybe hours,
longer in this city with you
and Shaun and good coffee shops.

Kayla Czaga is the author of For Your Safety Please Hold On, which won The Gerald Lampert Memorial Award and was nominated for the Governor General’s Award for Poetry and the Debut-litzer, among others. Recent poems of hers can be found in PRISM international, ARC Poetry magazine, Room magazine, and the Rusty Toque. She lives in Vancouver and works at a nerd bar.

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