Dominique Bernier-Cormier's poem "Fabric" won the Ralph Gustafson Prize for Best Poem as part of The Fiddlehead's 26 annual literary contest. You can read an interview with Bernier-Cormier here.
October 31st, 2016
I throw off my leopard hood
and moonlight streaks my copper
wig. My father drinks a 3 a.m. cup of espresso
in his bathrobe and asks me who I am.
Shania Twain in “That Don’t Impress Me
Much,” clearly. The news
plays softly in the background.
He hands me a bottle of turquoise
electricity and says, Did you know
your ancestor Pierrot faked breasts
with two Granny Smiths, a bra of laced
night, and walked straight out
of the British jail where he was held
in Fort Beauséjour, circa 1755? His falsetto
saving him from the tobacco fields
of North Carolina, saving us, to this day,
from speaking the King’s? On TV, American
physicists claim to be the first to cut
a hole in the fabric of time. But in the photo
on the window sill, my brothers and I
stick our faces into wooden cutouts of faceless
Acadian peasants and churn eternal
butter under 300 year old sunlight. Of course,
none of this happened
in English (we never speak it). But I’ve learned
to tie these foreign lines I write like silk
ribbons on a bonnet and simply walk out
of my past. Tell me — can you see the face
of French flashing a smile through the hole
I’ve cut in the silhouette of this poem?