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“or both” by Morgan Christie, from Arc’s 2022 Shortlist

“or both” by Morgan Christie

Arc Poster · Or Both
 

 

or both


when the hockey coach tried to recruit me
i wondered if it was because i was black
or because i was canadian. because the sport
is a national right of passage or because
black is tough and kick ass. so i asked her
and she said it was because i had great reflexes
and was quick witted. it never occurred to
me it could be neither. or both. but it did occur
to me that she could be lying because i was
born, you see. born in a place my parents
weren’t and born in a body that clashed with
winter. it never occurred to me because if i
wasn’t being asked where i was from, i was
being told how beautiful my skin was. and it
never occurred to me that i’d almost cry
thinking about it on the walk home. not
because of the hockey coach but because of
the timmies i passed. because i thought of that
old commercial when the kid goes and gets
his neighbour a coffee while he’s out
shoveling snow. because it was so magical,
like the way steel glides on ice, to see the
man just take something, a kindness, and
not have to wonder why it was given.

 


 

Sarah Tsiang on “or both” by Morgan Christie

“or both” is deceivingly simple. Filled with ambivalence and honesty, this tender poem masterfully lays bare how our lives are made up of and defined by the smallest moments.

 


 

Morgan Christie authored the short story collection These Bodies (Tolsun Books, 2020) and three poetry chapbooks. Her collection People Without Wings recently won the Digging Press Chapbook Series (2023).