Borderline Migratory Patterns of the 1812/2020 Snowbird
Springtime trunks flowed freshly tapped, grew leaves into the heights of a waving summer.
Colourful appropriation painted fall with a fiery Indian Summer and settler-birds paddled
backcountry clichés until winter’s crisp moons forced them back to their nests. Peace exhaled
like air through a whistle. Canada perched itself high in the treetops, oblivious to its unceded
lands and the impending invasion of red and white blue birds.
They flew north for the season. Came to purge the land from a tyranny of tea and crumpets.
Came for fresh water, maple nests and a general adherence to mask wearing. They advanced like
glaciers, covering and compressing until high taxes, gun laws and brutish apologies forced their
retreat. In their wake, a moraine of broken egg shells, one or two Loyalists and the deep
crevasse of populism. Hopeful Canadians could now also make things “Great Again!” (They
had begun to throw around words like genocide in their own backyards. This made garden
parties less fun.) New calls to “take Canada back” had polite and not-so-polite Canadians
scratching their heads, questioning who had recently taken it – other than themselves, of course.
A tiny militia of Canada geese, moose, loons, beavers, health care providers and a handful of
empty nesters congregated to discuss the building of a wall. (The polar bears didn’t have to
apologize – they had a hockey game.)
A big beautiful Southern Wall! honked the leader, pounding his fist against the side of the ice hut. It shook under his weight. Naldo Rump was a formidable goose – the kind that trailed mounds
of refuse, preventing ingress and egress to waterways everywhere. His well-mannered
commandos were all parkas and mitts and shivers and galoshes and hardhats and things to fasten.
It was very important.
You really think they’ll pay? squawked the beaver counting diminutive denominations of
colourful bills. In charge of the treasury, he had recently left the government after a small
financial debacle. Something about pocketing cash. Or handing it out.
Maybe if we apologize in advance! chirped the Blue Jay. Loan them the money? He had left a
professional baseball career to go into farming. Thought the “farm bubble” would be more
protective and anyway, chewing and spitting had been outlawed so baseball bubbles were
No apologies! shrieked Mr. Rump (Ru-Ru as they secretly called him). I don’t want their
smocking guns up here! Now get me a covfefe! He had started speaking in stilted tweets and
typos. Said it made him look tough. Mostly it made the militia confused.
The moose, who tended to hum show tunes or Queen’s Greatest Hits when he felt awkward
wanted to rock on the floor, hoof-over-antler, singing “I want to ride my bicycle.” Instead, he
decided on “We are the Champions!” Figured he would kill two birds with one stone. (The birds
had implored him to stop using this expression. They found it offensive. How could killing one bird be a good thing, let alone two? He never grasped their logic, smugly explaining that killing
ANY animal with a stone is bad. “BUT THE EXPRESSION ISN’T ABOUT ANY
ANIMAL!!!” Exasperated, they would eventually give up – he couldn’t possibly understand the
power of a stone given all his girth – but they also unfollowed him on Twitter.) In the twofold
bird massacre, the moose hoped to raise the resisters’ spirits and placate Ru-Ru’s penchant for
winning. Unfortunately, he got stuck on the line “No time for losers” which triggered the leader
– enmeshed in his own “Suckers and Losers” scandal.
The loon, hoping to break the ice, handed Ru-Ru a double-double. He took a sip, rolled up the
rim and flung “Please play again” on the ground. No one risked moving or picking it up – they
had run out of hand sanitizer. And winning. They had run out of winning. They were also
The racoon adjusted his balaclava. Um…sorry sir…about the wall?
Yes! Right! Well, I’ll probably do it, maybe, definitely!
But it might not be necessary sir continued the racoon, still fumbling with his balaclava due to
the lack of feeling in his paws. It’s likely too cold up here for them.
I guess. I mean, if you really look at it…frankly, it’s a shame. The cold is a disgrace! Or it
could be, you know, a hoax. It’s probably a hoax. Maybe. You don’t know. Let’s see what happens.
The owl rolled his eyes and waddled back to the hospital where he would treat the racoon
(freely) for hypothermia.
The commandos reluctantly handed in their imported AK-47s, lumberjackets and black wellies
and put on a kettle. As it whistled a peaceful boiling point, the snowbirds pondered their fate;
this year, would they fly south for the winter?
The Intersectionality of Meal Prep and 2020 – A Single Mom’s Guide!
Chapter 3 – Leftovers and Back to School
Some people don’t eat leftovers. Ever. As if their personal handbook had a policy on it:
Joe’s Handbook of Life
Chapter 3 – Leftovers and Other Things to Avoid
Subsection B: Things to Do While Avoiding Leftovers*
Brush teeth twice a day – more if you’ve eaten leftovers. (Don’t do the second part.)
Be nice to your neighbour – especially if they bring you leftovers. (Throw out the leftovers.)
Make enough dinner for only ONE night so there won’t be any leftovers.
Cook a little extra spaghetti on Sunday to test your resolve around rule #3; toss the leftovers.
*Addendum: See Appendix C “Other Activities That Bolster Avoidance of Leftovers”
My rules are different. Not in a ‘Joe-should-really-eat-all-of-the-food-on-his-plate,’ kind of way,
or a ‘Joe-should-sit-in-a-spore-swollen-dungeon-and-inhale-pranic-wisdom’ kind of way, but in
a ‘FOR-THE-LOVE-OF-ALL-THINGS-HOLY-PLEASE-WHEN-I-OPEN-THE-FRIDGE-TONIGHT-LET-THERE-BE-LEFTOVERS!’ kind of way. It’s like having the fridge and the microwave
buy your groceries and cook your meal! A major/minor appliance miracle!
Unfortunately, appliances can’t feed you or clean your kitchen – yet – a problem addressed in
Chapter 4 of this book: “Five Ways to Feed Your Children Without Ever Entering the Kitchen.”
It’s a short list of restaurants. (The editors added this chapter after seeing my kitchen.) They
also started a youtube channel of “how to (avoid)” videos. The videos feature my kitchen in
various states of dishevel with Morgan Freeman voiceovers: “I dunno what the hell’s in there,
but it’s weird and pissed off!”1 “He feeds and he doesn’t stop until everybody around him is
dead!”2 “I don’t have memories from this place, I have scars!”3 My personal favourite shows an
Amityville style kitchen, crumbling like The House of Usher. As the camera pans from the
hand-streaked window to the protagonist trembling in the driveway, Freeman’s shark-infested
baritone superimposes the emerging soundtrack to Jaws: “You’re gonna need a bigger boat.”4
Basically, you don’t go in there after watching this channel.
But then school starts up again! So, you write a poem. You give your poem a legend. (Extra
clarity is sometimes required when wandering headlong into a poetic shit show, my kitchen or
Week One – A Daily Menu in 8 Stanzas (Minus the Legend)
Legend: Stanza = A new day! Starts on the Tuesday after the long weekend
( ) = Aspirational, truth, desperational, the easiest thing – in that order
* = necessary ingredient, ranked
(Freshly chopped) veggies
Whole grain (white) rice
Takeout! (Thank the guy at the door, cry a little in front of salivating kids and also the
guy, sanitize all packaging, dispose immediately, wash hands till raw, heat food till
scalding, tell kids to return to their screens if they complain about “NOT BEING ABLE
TO EAT YET BECAUSE THE FOOD IS TOO HOT!”) Encourage kids to save a little
for tomorrow night’s
Regale the kids with a Sunday night frozen pizza, thank the leftover gods****** for
getting you through the week until you open the fridge on
Monday to NO FUCKING LEFTOVERS! Harness the terror of your editors’ youtube
channel: “WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME?” have another break down, make a list
of agenda items to discuss with the microwave and fridge who seem to be abdicating
their duties, order something (pizza) that will show up in 30 minutes or free, call back,
upsize to an XL for the sake of tomorrow’s leftovers, resolve to generally chop more
vegetables. Next week.
Don’t read Joe’s handbook. It’s a little bit douchey. Or, if you do, follow rule 4, chapter 3,
subsection B and “toss the leftovers” my way.
Chapter 4 – (edited) Five Ways to Escape Your Kitchen, Your Children and Morgan Freeman’s
(Spoiler – it’s really, really hard.)
1 The Thing, 1982
2 Fright Night, 2011
3 Insidious: The Last Key, 2018
4 Jaws, 1975
Kathleen Klassen is an emerging writer who discovered poetry as a source of healing after injury. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming on Bywords.ca, Dots Publications/Chitro Magazine, Gyroscope Review, Rise Up Review, Anti-Heroin Chic, ottawater, Dissident Voice, Alternative Field, Paper Dragon, In/Words Magazine and Press, and Cathexis Northwest Press.
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