Vancouver Specials

Not failed attempts at beauty or stating.
Unique answers to specific questions.
How may I fit my family into the equation?
How will we make the mortgage?
How much land will be allotted,
and to whom? What can't I afford?
How may we state the look
of elsewhere? How can I make myself less
abstracted? In the house but not of it.
Grace of a front lawn, stucco sophisticate.
All that glitters stuck in the surface.
Sheet shocks sense into reflection.
Wood sliced into beam better becomes
the forest. Can't see the trees for the city.
Could you move to the east? A little further?

                       specific questions
    family       equation?
                   the look
of elsewhere
           in the house

Larissa Lai



george mckim


Larissa Lai is an Assistant Professor in Canadian Literature at the University of British Columbia, and is currently writer-in-residence at the University of Guelph. Her first novel, When Fox Is a Thousand (Press Gang 1995) was shortlisted for the Books in Canada First Novel Award. Her second novel, Salt Fish Girl (Thomas Allen Publishers 2002) was shortlisted for the Sunburst Award, the Tiptree Award and the City of Calgary W. O. Mitchell Award. In 2009, she published a book-length collaborative long poem with Rita Wong called sybil unrest (Line Books). That year she also published a chapbook called Eggs in the Basement (Nomados), which was shortlisted for the bp nichol Poetry Award, and her first full-length solo poetry book Automaton Biographies (Arsenal Pulp), which was shortlisted for the Dorothy Livesay Award. She has recently sent her critical book Slanting “I”, Imagining “We”: Asian Canadian Formations, Relations and Strategies in the 80s and 90s to a Canadian academic press.