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).