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remember childhood claw machine prizes
fistfuls of change and frantic button presses
dad obsessively working
You're wasting money on that thing
threat of claw-hand dangles from the sky
pick me up by my belly button
(your grandma had an outie too)
hang me above the city to be stoned
naked, tangled in rainbow flags
umbilical ties to a family that I've hid this secret from since eighth grade crushes
turn away
I feel like never really knew you
You've been lying to us your whole life
I am turned inverted paper umbrella
drink spilled, limbs dangle, crumpled and bent
flags slip and flutter down
naked now, exposed hickeys freckling inner thighs
marks from a woman who is home
spin spin spin against sea of coral
Aren't you worried you might lose your job at that Catholic school of yours?
What am I supposed to tell people?
I twist and am suspended
teacup ride nausea
above the city, I am sick

Nic Whitty (she/her, they/them) is a queer middle school teacher,
living and working in Amiskwacîwâskahikan, on Treaty 6 territory. She
holds a BEd from the University of Alberta, and is passionate about
arts education, sustainability, feminism, and the
Bachelor franchise.

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Previously published in
Edmonton Poetry Magazine:
Three Poems by Tiana Ranta.

Published June 1, 2020

Poets of the Prairies & Great Plains Contest #1 - First Place


by Nic Whitty
(Edmonton, Alberta, Canada)
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