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"Fabric" by Dominique Bernier-Cormier

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

 

Fabric
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? 

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