A Canadian girl in training (C.G.I.T.)

a congregation of crows meet, in the
parking lot across from a thread of war-
time houses, brick sanctuaries, they glow
in the blue lamplight, silk & horsehair.
Jackie is 1956 vintage, veneered in
chenille, romance, but the landscape
disappears with Daddy; an accumulation of
God, row of A-frames, teetering dominoes,
his dead face displaying black & white
glamour, limbs & CN scars, she is outside
this picture, searching for the planets,
aligning him. stranded with crows.

Questions and Answers

What inspired “A Canadian girl in training (C.G.I.T.)”?

This poem was instigated by a black-and-white photograph of my mother, (“Jackie”) and a simple question: What did it mean to her to be a young “Canadian Girl in Training” (Girl Scout) in 1950s Montréal?

What poetic techniques did you use in “A Canadian girl in training (C.G.I.T.)”?

Religious symbolism, for one, that works to undercut what it is related to. Also, it is implied that “Jackie” is considering a photograph of her father: “she is outside this picture”, which serves to create yet another surface, another layer of image to interrogate. Indeed, because the poem relies heavily on imagery, it functions like a photograph itself; it plays on these ideas of surface….

This poem “A Canadian girl in training (C.G.I.T.)” originally appeared in Canadian Literature 181 (Summer 2004): 93.

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