Alexandra Oliver


Job Proposal for Gavra, Aged Seven, Who Has Been Given a 452-Page Science Almanac

Today, while going to the shops, you told
your dad and me about the tapeworm’s cycle,
how each untested pork chop means survival.
Thrilled to teach, you would not be controlled.
We got the full McCoy: you had the feeding
habits down, the scolex seeking tenure
in the gut’s sweet, fleshy, floral pasture,
the weight loss, faintness and suspicious bleeding.
Next time we’re in a room of lurching bores
discussing stocks or some upcoming show
or what’s gone floating through their private lives,
I’ll pay you fifty bucks for three whole hours
to tell the buggers everything you know
(plus bonus, when the final person leaves).


Alexandra Oliver was born in Vancouver, BC. She has received two Pushcart Prize nominations, as well as a CBC Literary Award nomination. Her first book, Where the English Housewife Shines (Tin Press, London, UK) was released in 2007. Her second collection, Meeting the Tormentors in Safeway, is forthcoming from Bibioasis in September 2013. She teaches in the Stonecoast MFA Program at the University of Southern Maine and is a co-editor (with Pino Coluccio) of The Rotary Dial.