Some Days I Think I Know Things

By (author): Rhonda Douglas

A contemporary retelling of the story of Cassandra, Rhonda Douglas’s Some Days I Think I Know Things explores what “truth” really means and asks what Homer’s iconic young prophetess might have to say to anyone wise enough to pay heed to her in the twenty-first century. We find Cassandra walking among us once more and, just prior to the sacking of a Troy not unlike any modern city, she sheds light on the idyllic domestic life that she shares with her father Priam, mother Hecuba, and the rest of her doomed, if royal, family. No sooner has she relished in the timeless sexual awakening dreamt about by most girls, than she must stoically submit to the indignities of the invading Greeks. As a captive, she pronounces a series of prescient “Lost Prophesies” intended for our time. However much her Cassandra remains faithful to the figure of the ancients, Douglas destabilizes her heroine’s primacy as “truth-teller” with a witty, varied chorus whose voices we can’t fail to recognize from the quotidian of our present-day lives.


Rhonda Douglas

Originally from Grand Bank, Newfoundland, Rhonda Douglas has published her poetry and fiction in literary journals across Canada and in New Zealand, with her writing earning prizes in the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts and Letters Competition and Memorial University’s Gregory J. Power Poetry Contest. In 2006, she won both The Malahat Review‘s Far Horizons Award for Poetry and Arc‘s Diana Brebner Prize. A graduate of the Humber School for Writers, Douglas is completing the Optional-Residency MFA Program in Creative Writing at UBC. She lives in Ottawa with her husband and their two daughters.


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Excerpts & Samples ×
Being Cassandra Some years of knowing what a child knows: how to hide, what quiet means. Grow into your body, the unwanted truth of being a woman and not some other thing. At eleven, begin by saying out loud words that are true, confirmed by shock in widening eyes, the quick hot censor of what’s withheld. For your own protection, your mother says. Already there is no truth between you. Go walking, unaware the gods are envious of beauty, and death — a natural order beyond their reach. If they play with you now, they can watch from a distance for what happens next. Go to the temple. Be reminded in its silence of the sky and all that continues in the distance. See Apollo. Know immediately what he is looking for here, what possession might feel like. Want, don’t want, want again: does it matter? Negotiate your own terms, then give in. Fall, fall down into sweetness. Ask for a gift, concede. Change your mind. Find his anger irrelevant, now that you can see. Don’t Forget Paris My singing drove everyone nuts and Paris was a whiner. (Mom, she’s singing again, make her stop. She’s touching me. I am not.) Singing Blue Moon in the backseat, Crazy in the front. We played toy cars in a dirt city. To get in, honk at the gates and shout the password. Once he cheated and snuck in when I wasn’t looking. Little shit! Cheaters never prosper, Paris. Tell the truth now, Cassandra: they do, Mom said, it shouldn’t work that way but it does, usually. I stopped playing with him after that. He was always just the baby. Once a baby always a baby in a family where Daddy rules and the boys are kings. Get away with murder or near it. But you couldn’t blame him, his eyes would drag you into complicity: Don’t tell, Cassandra, don’t tell. History’s lost to us. We’re tempted to tart it up and give it a rosy glow from the embers only. This much I know: I loved Paris in the springtime. I loved Paris in the fall.

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96 Pages
9in * 6.04in * .22in


September 20, 2008


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Book Subjects:

POETRY / Canadian

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