Sonia Saikaley lives in Ottawa. She has taught English in Japan. Her
fiction and poetry have appeared in the anthology Lavandería
- A Mixed Load of Women, Wash, and Word, Writers4Peace,
Urban Graffiti, Zygote, the anthology Burning Ambitions, FreeFall,
Bywords Quarterly Journal, Jones Av., blueskiespoetry.ca, The Writer's
Block and Inscribed. She is a graduate of the Humber School
What Immigrant Officials Failed to Explain
In a side garden, squirrels
feast on her tomatoes.
She curses at them in Arabic;
the neighbours stare through closed blinds.
They say she is a gypsy, her skin
is olive, her hair is black
and curling; her hands move
when she speaks.
In the summer garden
leaves from the tomato stalk shrink
and the plants deteriorate, disappearing.
In September she walks into
a beauty salon. Dye my hair
and straighten the curls
she tells the hairdresser.
She learns to ask what she wants
without an accent.