About the book
About the author
Originally from Grand Bank, Newfoundland, Rhonda Douglas has published her poetry and fiction in literary journals across Canada and in New Zealand, with her writing earning prizes in the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts and Letters Competition and Memorial University’s Gregory J. Power Poetry Contest. In 2006, she won both The Malahat Review’s Far Horizons Award for Poetry and Arc’s Diana Brebner Prize.
A graduate of the Humber School for Writers, Douglas is completing the Optional-Residency MFA Program in Creative Writing at UBC. She lives in Ottawa with her husband and their two daughters.
Some years of knowing what a child knows:
how to hide, what quiet means. Grow into
your body, the unwanted truth of being a woman
and not some other thing. At eleven, begin
by saying out loud words that are true, confirmed
by shock in widening eyes, the quick hot censor
of what’s withheld. For your own protection,
your mother says. Already there is no truth between you.
Go walking, unaware the gods are envious
of beauty, and death — a natural order beyond
their reach. If they play with you now, they can
watch from a distance for what happens next.
Go to the temple. Be reminded in its silence
of the sky and all that continues in the distance.
See Apollo. Know immediately what he is looking
for here, what possession might feel like.
Want, don’t want, want again: does it matter?
Negotiate your own terms, then give in. Fall,
fall down into sweetness. Ask for a gift,
concede. Change your mind. Find his
anger irrelevant, now that you can see.
Don’t Forget Paris
My singing drove everyone nuts and
Paris was a whiner. (Mom, she’s singing again,
make her stop. She’s touching me. I am not.)
Singing Blue Moon in the backseat, Crazy in the front.
We played toy cars in a dirt city. To get in,
honk at the gates and shout the password.
Once he cheated and snuck in when I wasn’t looking.
Little shit! Cheaters never prosper, Paris.
Tell the truth now, Cassandra: they do, Mom said,
it shouldn’t work that way but it does,
usually. I stopped playing with him after that.
He was always just the baby. Once a baby
always a baby in a family where Daddy rules
and the boys are kings. Get away with murder
or near it. But you couldn’t blame him,
his eyes would drag you into complicity:
Don’t tell, Cassandra, don’t tell.
History’s lost to us. We’re tempted to
tart it up and give it a rosy glow
from the embers only.
This much I know:
I loved Paris in the springtime.
I loved Paris in the fall.
“This is the story of the Fall of Troy, but not only the Fall of Troy, as told from the point of view of Cassandra, the prophet-princess to-whom no-one listened.
The poems talk about rape, about denial,…” >>
— Voices of Venus
“Rhonda Douglas' first book of poetry, Some Days I Think I Know Things: The Cassandra Poems, was published by Signature Editions in 2008. Her writing has won prizes in The Newfoundland and Labrador Arts & Letters Competition, and the Gregory…” >>
— Rob McLennan