Bibliophilia by Kayla Czaga

I am very avant-garde in what
I use for bookmarks. That
look on your face would do.
A clump of my hair
in a pinch. At sixteen I dumped
coffee into Jane Austen
and still she crackles open
to a botched proposal.
I am a monster dogearer.
I use Joan Didion as a napkin.
Before I became a person
my dad lived on a farm
with no electricity, only
Louis L’Amour for toilet paper,
so it is my birthright to defile
the printed word. Instead
of depositing my book
into my bag when my hands
are doing other things
like masturbating or thumbing
avocados I dangle it
from my teeth like a retriever
with her retrieved. If you
love something so much
why do you keep it
up on that shelf and never
touch it? It’s like you want
a virgin wife while all
I want is a girl I can bend
backwards over tombstones,
lick Pringles from her cracks
and cackle with. We stay
up all night with séances
and french-braiding and neither
of us ever wears white.


Copyright © Kayla Czaga. Originally published in EVENT Magazine (Issue 47.2, Fall 2018).


Kayla Czaga is the author of For Your Safety Please Hold On (Nightwood Editions, 2014) and Dunk Tank (House of Anansi, 2019). Her debut won The Gerald Lampert Memorial Award and was nominated for The Governor General’s Award, The Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize, and The Debut-litzer. She lives in Victoria, B.C. and currently serves as the online poetry mentor for SFU’s The Writer’s Studio.

Subscribe to Poetry Pause or visit the Poetry Pause Archives.


Now in its 48th year of publication, EVENT is an award-winning, internationally recognized literary magazine that publishes fiction, poetry, non-fiction and book reviews by emerging and established authors three times a year. Visit us at

Subscribe to EVENT Magazine here.