Best Violin

Summer, 2002 / No. 8

with the very best violin

strapped to the back

of his dad’s grey trench coat

he survived somehow

wrote bad poetry

rode that rotting skateboard

like a blocked beat poet in search of inspiration

and God, the class belle loved his scent of pallid suicide

skipping class, palms sweaty

he was chubby acid-wash jeans

she was laughing blue eye shadow, mascara smudged, black cat earrings

oh, could they ever talk on the phone for hours

they were Betty and Archie

skating in Kensington Market

a year of punks,

subway stations,


vintage clothing shops

he wrote love in her yearbook

she introduced her mother

and, though she faked it,

she never could play the violin to save her life

Emily Pohl-Weary lives in Dovercourt Village. She will publish her latest teen novel, Not Your Ordinary Wolf Girl, in 2013. She facilitates the Toronto Street Writers, a free writing group geared toward marginalized youth, and is the executive director of the Academy of the Impossible, a storefront learning centre. Her book about her grandmother, Better To Have Loved: The Life of Judith Merril (Between the Lines, 2002), won the 2003 Hugo Award for non-fiction. She is the author of the poetry collection Iron-on Constellations (Tightrope, 2005), the novel A Girl Like Sugar (McGilligan, 2004). Last updated summer, 2013.