Sue Goyette


Griffin Poetry Prize 2014
Canadian Shortlist

Book: Ocean

Poet: Sue Goyette

Publisher: Gaspereau Press

Click here to read and listen to an excerpt.

Sue Goyette reads Forty-Eight


Tourism was great until the ocean went all coyote on us.
Lurking behind schoolyards, attacking people.

We were told to act big. To stand aggressively in our place.
Experts in animal control told us we had polluted its natural habitat

with our motored hands and greasy mayor. It had to feed further
afield and was too wild to mediate. The marriage counselors

suggested we do five random kind things for it on a weekly basis
until it trusted us again. Also, to show we were listening,

we were to “mirror” what it was saying. We gave that job
to the poets. Apparently, it was “a tired bus driver”

and “a wayward friend.” It was “the midnight of the death
of nights” and “the orphanage we’d been taken from.”

A fourth grade class made it their Spring Fling project.
With glitter glue and feathers, we were given murals

of how our life should look. We’d need more diving boards,
exploding rainbows and smiling dolphins/unicorns to achieve

any of it. The mothers of teenage boys elected themselves
to counsel. They wore wedge shoes and pink nail polish

and were either fiercely tired or determined to get supper on,
nodding while we explained how it sprawled its stuff everywhere.

How it stayed up until all hours of the night and gave us no
respect. Sound familiar, we asked. They leaned in as if over a map:

you are here, they said, manicured but in the trenches, trust us,
let go of any ideas of what you think it should be doing.

From Ocean by Sue Goyette
Text copyright © Sue Goyette, 2013

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