Winner in the 2009 Alumni Poetry Contest
Once, I was asked to describe a
Scene from my boyhood that has lingered
In my mind through seven decades,
Five wives and countless would-be successes
In such elaborate and disparate fields as
Mechanics and brainstorming, painting and a
Travelling gig with a Klezmer Band headed by
Aman named Rodolfo (or was it Yago?),
Who, by the way, wore a plum-coloured tie
And addressed his wife as Cleopatra –
Heiress to the desert of his heart and
Baker of the key lime pie to end all pies,
And, for that matter, all desserts which
Take as their base the Caesarian World of Fruits.
Anyway, it was over an apple when
He asked if I would come and deliver a
Few words on my favourite memory –
We were sitting under an elm in a sunny
Quadrangle, agog at the blue Parulas
Who appeared to be learning to comb the
Leaves on the circlets of their heads: I said sure.
With an old guitar string, he cut me a
Crescent of apple and listened as I explained
(In my roundabout way) how my scene had
Come to pass; it was with the cup of my
Hand on the egg my chin that I told him
The story of how I was eight years old,
Scrubbing the muck from the kitchen floor,
The bubbles gathering like angels or
Those fluffy bits from the trees in spring,
When, all of a sudden, a gust from the
Window sent them, scurrying, to the
Couch where my Grandmother was
Napping, up like a bird, one foot off the rug.
Breathing deeply, I rustled her hair and
Watched as she looked at me with her dodo-eyes
And penguin-smirk; then I asked her (very softly):
Why do you sleep with one foot up like that?
And she said (even softer): with one
Off the floor, you’re halfway to flying.
Cory Ingram earned a philosophy degree from U of T in 2007. After graduating, he moved to Alberta, and has spent time travelling and writing. In addition to a collection of poetry, Ingram has recently finished his first novel – a gay-themed, coming-of-age story set in Toronto. “Inspiration,” he writes, “is coffee and a willingness to surrender.”
The winners of the 2009 Alumni Short Story and Poetry Contest are Kerry Clare (BA 2002 Victoria, MA 2007) for her story “Georgia Coffee Star” and Cory Ingram(BA 2007 Woodsworth) for his poem “Bubbles.” Clare and Ingram each received $500.
Lacey also won a Readers’ Choice Award for his story. Laura Rock (BA 1986 St. Michael’s) won a Readers’ Choice Award – for her poem “In Rocco’s House (My Grandmother’s Poor Beginning)”