Hesitation

First published in Solitary Plover #34, Summer 2021, page 9. Originally written in April of 2016.

The answer was James Bay.
It’s that body of water on the south end of Hudson’s Bay
between Québec and Ontario,
that freezes over in winter.

The final question was to name the largest bay off Hudson’s Bay.
My team was in the finals for college bowl
and I knew the answer.
Buzz in, I told myself.

This is not a regret story,
where I tell you I hesitated,
where I froze and failed
to do what I knew I could do.

I did buzz in, amazed
that no one else knew the answer.
Being a canuck in the you-nighted states
was paying off for something.

We won.