Our house was red brick and surrounded
My sister and I sat on the step and imagined ourselves graceful like Olga Korbut.
We watched her on t.v.—
the child who wiped tears from her eyes
after an uneven routine
before defeating adults
on the balance beam.
My sister and I stopped being astronauts.
Astronauts couldn’t do the splits.
We practiced daily.
And then, one day,
our mother stopped letting us watch.
You’re too young, she said,
and banished us into summer
away from the Olympics.
I guess she didn’t know Olga, didn’t know that a girl still in school
could be more important than anything else.
André Narbonne spent ten years as a cadet and marine engineer on bulk carriers, tankers, fishery patrol and hydrographic vessels before working nightshift as a stationary engineer in a waste oil refinery to pay for his studies at Dalhousie University. He also tested capelin for a Newfoundland fish plant. He holds a PhD from the University of Western Ontario. His favourite band is the Kinks. He lives in Ottawa with Aeriana, Schrödinger, Helena, and Cordelia, two of whom are cats.