“There is a dream I remember having” By Julia on V, J, W, and A’s couch

Thursday, February 22, 2018

10:01pm

5 minutes

The Wilds of Sleep

Kat Duff

I am younger than nine

I remember just fine

Not the age or the stage

But the people and the place

It’s not scary

but it’s a nightmare

I go down to tell my mom

Having a bad dream again

But it’s my dad shaving in the bathroom

And he’s smiling

And I ask where she is

And he says right here

And then my dad enters again

And my dad stands beside my dad

And my dad shaves besides my dad

As in, my mom is my dad

As In, my dad is my mom

As in, my mom has been absorbed by my dad

As in, my mom is turned into his copy

Two dads, as good as he is, is not

a substitute for one of each

My mom signs my report cards

My mom toasts my bread

My mom reads me stories

Let’s me sleep on her side of the bed

“There is a dream I remember having” by Sasha in the wicker chair

Thursday, February 22, 2018
6:59am
5 minutes
The Wilds of Sleep
Kat Duff

Dr. Sandhu is wearing a linen cream pantsuit today. Did she think of me as I thought of her when choosing my blue sweater that covers my bum and stretchy grey tights and my fun boots that I usually only wear out in the evening for evening plans? WHY DO MY BOWELS FEEL AS THOUGH THEY WANT TO EMPTY?

“How was your week, Claire?” She says my name like it’s a pastry or a perfume or something a little bit biblical.

“It was okay. I brought my Dad a roast chicken on Sunday because at the home the chicken is dry and I never hear the end of it.”

“Tell me about your Dad.”

“What do you want to know?”

“How long has he been sick?”

“Both my parents had Alzheimer’s at the same time so if you want to know about him you have to know about her, too – “

“Your mother?”

“Yeah, they really overlap a lot inside my – “

“Use your body to be the tent” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Wednesday, February 21, 2018
8:42pm
5 minutes
Nest Filled
Kim Stafford

When the kettle boils
I make a cup of tea
too late for black but
I do it anyway

I sit down at my desk
and tonight that means
the kitchen table
sweet with rounded corners
the tea
and the table

my body becomes a tent
chair legs
and my legs
fingers typing
toes tapping
tea steaming
you on my mind
you in the bones of
so many of these poems

I’ve written three lines
of your birthday card

my heart hurt
sunrise to sunset
my heart hurt
the first year in
many that I haven’t
sung to you
written to you
loved you from close up
loving you from far away
is teaching me about
womanhood
courage
softness
time

Our language is this
five minute stories
I’ll set the timer
force myself to keep going
even though now
with this
then
with this
words don’t ever seem to be
enough
always seem to be too much

too little
too late

that always seems to be the problem

Snow falls outside the window

“Use your body to be the tent” by Julia at her desk

Wednesday, February 21, 2018
8:50pm
5 minutes
Nest Filled
Kim Stafford

I don’t know that I would sheild you first in an attack from outer space
You’re high on the list but not at the top
Maybe you’re fourth or fifth, or sixth which, don’t get me wrong, is still very good
I wouldn’t want to be fourth or fifth on anyone’s list but
for you on mine it’s a privileged spot
Especially when you consider how many things are important to me
How many people too
I don’t think I would use my body as the tent in case it happens
to rain outside
even if you were wearing your tailor-made suit
I would much rather you employ an umbrella to do that job
I guess I don’t consider rain life threatening
But in the event of a life threatening occurence
I would save my right hand and then my left
And then my sister
and then my notebooks
and then my cousin’s kid
and then you
That’s sixth for you, just like I promised
After, of course, counting my hands seperately

“During a rest stop” by Julia on her couch

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

11:46pm

The Ecology of Prayer

Fred Bahnson

When Erin got out of the truck her hands were still sticky. She told Cal to keep the engine running as a joke but he didn’t quite compute. She walked back to the passenger seat and held up her hands, then said, I’m going to be a minute. Cal got it. He could see his semen catching the light like dried glue. He watched her go into the gas station and wondered if he should be washing off too. He thought about the baby wipes Raisa used to leave all over the place, making everything smell like diapers. Erin tried not to touch anything until she reached the bathroom. She realized it was a mistake to walk along the row of Doritos.

“During a rest stop” by Sasha at her desk

Tuesday, February 20, 2018
10:15pm
The Ecology of Prayer
Fred Bahnson

In Berlin
I slept in a room with twelve strangers
and in the middle of the night
two of the strangers
decided to have sex
one of the strangers
got sick in the shared en suite
vomiting and fucking
at the very same moment
and no one should have to hear that

no one should have to do that
not at my age

In Berlin
I walked the old streets
in running shoes
because my back hurts now
that’s what it’s come to
and I hate these stupid shoes
but my back feels good
and feeling good wins
every time
and I hate that too

In Berlin
I drink beer with a man half my age
and he asks if I have children
and I laugh
beer comes out my nose and he says
that I’m charming
I say that I’m sleeping in a room
with twelve strangers and maybe
we can go back to his place
and he says sheepishly and staring
into his stein that he lives
with his parents

“ready for the feel of fire” by Julia at her desk

Monday, February 19, 2018
11:51pm
5 minutes
All Things Wasting
Mallory Tater

The last time I spoke to him I lied and said I had roasted his favourite shoes over the open fire. I told him I made chestnuts out of them. He believed me. I guess that’s saying something about me. About him, sure, but about me first because I must be pretty convincing. I suppose he has good reason. Once when we were laying in a sleeping bag somewhere in Tobermory, I said I’d stab him if he let go of me and when he did, so did I. Stab him, I mean. It was only a little, and he bled but not for long, but I said I would do it and I did it and that’s when he started to get a little scared of me. Even if it was only my thumb nail piercing his upper thigh. He’s entitled to his opinions. He can think I’m whatever he thinks, but I would never actually roast somebody’s shoes on a fire. I’m not a monster. He didn’t even respond right away when I told him I did it. He took a few long breaths and then said that was all he could take for right now. I think that was a tactic his therapist told him to practice. I don’t think he would have thought of those words on his own.

“ready for the feel of fire” by Sasha at her desk

Monday, February 19, 2018
7:16am
5 minutes
All Things Wasting
Mallory Tater

I keep having dreams that I’m pregnant, or giving birth, or losing a baby, or holding a baby, or handing you our baby. I google what this means and google tells me that I’m “pregnant with change” and that “there’s a part of me that I’m neglecting that needs nurturing”. Um. Kay. I’ve never been more sure of not wanting to have an actual real life screaming shitting baby, so it’s absolutely not “a baby dream may be telling you that you are actually pregnant. Congrats!” Um. Nope! I don’t tell Todd, and I don’t tell my therapist because there are more important things to discuss with both of these people.

“the beauty and challenge of facebook” by Julia at her desk

Sunday February 18, 2018
9:40pm
5 minutes
Multitudes
Margaret Christakos

Earlier today I was on Facebook deleting all the people who I no longer want to have access to my life. You don’t get to see what I’m up to if you’ve been a bad friend. Or not a friend at all. It isn’t your right! I decide, okay? I’m getting heated up forof a myriad of reasons. Sometimes it feels like the whole damn world is watching. Sometimes I want to be left alone. Tina and Guy send messages from each other’s accounts and that drives me up the wall. Speaking of walls, I don’t need some stranger commenting on a conversation I’m having with my sister’s boyfriend. I don’t need to be having conversations at all on Facebook but I’m on it and that’s that. I don’t want to miss anything. My brother posts videos of his kids in the pumpkin patch. I don’t want to miss my mom accidentally telling me she misses me on my profile picutre. But I don’t want the people who don’t deserve my time to witness my activities. If they can’t be in my life, they shouldn’t get to see it. I don’t just post all the best stuff either so it’s really, really my life.

“the beauty and challenge of facebook” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Sunday February 18, 2018
8:02am
5 minutes
Multitudes
Margaret Christakos

I fucking hate Facebook. I think it’s all posturing and must-be-seen-as and “come see my show!” BARF and “this is how beautiful I am this is how talented I am this is how political I am this is now armchair activist I am!” I fucking HATE Facebook. I wonder how many hours, as a society, we waste zooming in on the face of someone we went to kindergarten with, someone we made out with once, someone we forget how we know but damnnnn their baby is cute. I fucking HATE Facebook. But I spend hours on it. Every. Single. Day. Especially when I’m trying to avoid the gym, or crossfit, or my best friend who just went through a breakup and “needs to talk RIGHT NOW.”

“Near Middle: for “Devilish woman,” by Julia at her desk

Saturday February 17, 2018
7:04pm
5 minutes
Errata and Addenda
Rachaela Van Borek

Can’t tell her the truth even though that’s what we both promised we’d do.
When she tells me hers, she apologizes a month later and says, “Maybe when
you asked what I thought that night I shouldn’t have answered at all.”
I tell her “No, you should have, I want you to be honest with me,”
but I don’t know if that’s just because I don’t know what else to say.
I have some ideas about the questions she doesn’t ask me and
I know I can’t tell her what I think so I agree inside that maybe she is right.
A blanket gets thrown at me when I look cold but feel sweaty.
That’s probably on account of all the discomfort.
Some people sweat when they lie.
I put it on my toes and count the minutes before the pizza arrives.
Maybe when we’re eating we will have less time to peer into each other’s
souls and risk ruining a perfectly good family.
Suddenly her phone rings and she answers it in the middle of my good story.
She covers the receiver, tells me that our mother is frying shrimp dumplings again and asks if I want any.
I tell her to tell her yes.
She tells our mother we’ll be right over.
When she hangs up she shakes her head.
“Not sure what Mom is doing making dumplings at midnight.”
“Not sure what Mom is doing thinking we all still live in the same time zone.”

“Near Middle: for “Devilish woman,” by Sasha at her desk

Saturday February 17, 2018
12:22
5 minutes
Errata and Addenda
Rachaela Van Borek

She reaches into her pocket and there’s a melting Hershey’s kiss, six fifty in change, a receipt for a mini bottle of vodka, and lip chap that she’s scraped out using her pinkie nail. This is the state of her life. This is what she deserves. This is forty-two. She pulls her hand out. Step back.

She caught his eye in the elevator that first time only because that one asshole who had to stand facing the opposite direction. It’s eight thirty in the morning, dingus. Now is not the time for a social experiment. He’d smiled. He’s gorgeous. She’d blushed. Game over.

She packs her desk up into a banker’s box – lemon hand cream, a framed photo of her nephew, her BOSS mug, the succulent that’s hanging on by a thread. Is that what it’s come to? Step back.

He texts her and says that he’s thinking of her. He’s on a beach in Playa del Carmen. His kids are probably squishing guacamole all over his torso. His wife is probably emerging from the ocean, tan and beautiful.

“eat all of our food? Rude.” By Sasha on the 99

Friday February 16, 2018
10:22pm
5 minutes
Flushed
David Delisca

Crumbs under the toaster again! GODDAMNIT SHARLEEN! I can’t take it anymore! Crumbs all over the counter and it’s not hard to moisten a cloth, wipe the counter, lift the toaster, wipe under the toaster! I raised you to be better than this, Sharleen! Come downstairs! I hate shouting. Sharleen?! Jesus, she’s not even here?!

Furiously dials on the cordless phone.

Hello, Sharleen. This is your mother. Please call me immediately. This is an emergency. I repeat. This is an E-M-E-R-G-E-N – Oh! You’re calling on the other line. Shit. How do I – ?

Sharleen?

GODAMNIT!

Sharleen!

“eat all of our food? Rude.” By Julia in N’s kitchen

Friday February 16, 2018
8:03pm
5 minutes
Flushed
David Delisca

When Harley stays with us on Tuesdays and Thursdays cause it’s closer to the hospital
he buys us hot dogs and
orders pizza
He doesn’t want us to make him anything special simply
because he’s dying
He’d rather eat out of the garbage
can than put us out any more
than he thinks he is already
On Mondays and Wednesdays
Mitch goes out to pick up
the groceries he thinks Harley
might like to snack on when
he thinks the rest of us aren’t
paying attention
Fruit by the foot and Reese’s
Peanut butter Puffs
Organic strawberries and Oreos
We stock the cupboards just
in case

“we were in the same grade together” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Thursday February 15, 2018
9:51pm
5 minutes
Lesbian at a Bachelor Party
Amber Dawn

I run for miles just to get close to you and then when you’re there when you’re in front of my there aren’t words there is only my incessant heart that insists on beating seventeen times too fast whenever I’m in your presence.

It doesn’t help that I’m so hungry for love for touch for attention for kissing for you that I hide when your close and that’s not a metaphor I actually hide as in I crawl under the sink and wait until you’re gone.

It doesn’t matter that I ran for miles to get here and that then seeing you real and alive and breathing and looking worse than I thought you’d look it doesn’t matter it doesn’t matter I will die here in the cupboard of shame and fear and love and sweat and

oh my god

you’re searching for dish soap.

I’ve been found.

“we were in the same grade together” by Julia on the 99

Thursday February 15, 2018

9:43pm

5 minutes

Lesbian at a Bachelor Party

Amber Dawn

I remember him when I think about my front tooth. When i accidentally hit it with a fork, or a glass of water. The last time it was knocked out was half a decade ago by a guy turning his car when he shouldn’t be. The first time was on a snow hill when I was seven years old. This kid in my grade came at me with his rotten mitts and punched me in my mouth. I guess it was already loose, but there was still a lot of blood. When I went to the bathroom to rinse out my mouth the tooth fell down the drain. I remember I was more angry at him for making me lose out on the tooth fairy money than I was that he attacked me for absolutely no reason. How do you prove to the tooth fairy that you lost your tooth when you actually lost your tooth?

“famous for flying around”by Julia in her bed

Wednesday February 14, 2018

2:38am

5 minutes

Anthony’s Glass Eye

Billeh Nickerson

Today he was wearing a giant crystal dangling on a thin leather rope. It was so close to his Adam’s apple I thought he was going to slice it right off. He told us all that his ukulele was a lesbian and that he used to be a winged thing in the life before this one.

I know that feeling. Of wanting to share everything inside my skull. But I don’t do it because I’ve seen what happens when you’re candid with everyone. They can’t handle the honesty. It makes them squirmy.

The person beside me was breathing so consistently and heavily that it started to activate my anxiety. I had to keep catching my own breath and plugging my one ear. If I had been honest I would have gotten in trouble for asking them to please try breathing with their mouth open or not at all.

“famous for flying around”by Sasha in the bath

Wednesday February 14, 2018
10:52pm
5 minutes
Anthony’s Glass Eye
Billeh Nickerson

Suddenly a song comes on that makes me think of Dan. I haven’t thought of him in a really long time and that feels like a small victory, close to finding blood oranges on sale or something like that. Didn’t I by Darondo. We listened to that song so many times that spring and summer. Dan was the worst sex I ever had. But I loved him. Maybe I loved him more like a brother, or a sister, or a puppy. I didn’t love him like a lover. But. Suddenly Darondo comes on and I’m transported back to watching him sleep in my bed in the apartment across from the college, watching his little belly rise and fall.

“freckles on thighs and in-between.” By Sasha on the 17

Tuesday February 13, 2018
9:43pm
5 minutes
Teachable Moment, 1986
Kellee Ngan

My finger traces the freckles on her thighs and
in between the places there are no windows
there is no bright.

Red jacket and long johns and beeswax on the sheets
and white sage and kettle singing and cat curled at our feet
and Marvin Gaye record spinning and spinning

Muck out to the pottery studio
out beyond the outhouse.
The reassurance of snow.
The dependability of sun breaking through cloud cover after weeks.

Drinking black coffee out of chipped pottery.
Eating honey by the spoonful.
Keeping warm by the space heater.

Hands learning a new language
your hair dirty and perfect
turning grey.

“freckles on thighs and in-between.” by Julia at the studio

Tuesday February 13, 2018
6:07pm
5 minutes
Teachable Moment, 1986
kellee Ngan

you were the one who first told me about the freckle
on the inside of my bum cheek and I didn’t even
know it was there
I want to thank you now in retrospect for looking
as close at the inside of my bum cheek as you did
For looking as close at the inside of my chest
even when I couldn’t be happy for your happiness
or when I chose silence over words even though
you knew I knew words better
I want to thank you now for noticing then the trilion
tiny specks of me
the good the bad, the ugly ugly ugly
You were so patient until your patience bit
and when it did it took out a deep chunk
You always knew where to sink your teeth in
but that was your reward for paying such perfect
attention
You told me once that my tongue whipping down your
throat was not sexy and I didn’t have the thought
to tell you then that I was holding tightly
to a thread that held your head close to mine
And I was not anything close to ready
to letting it go in case you went with it
One day I opened my fingers and you went with it
but I thank you now
the first

“bellies full of unborn air” by Julia on her couch

Monday February 12, 2018
1:40pm
5 minutes
Mannequins
Emily Davidson

There is poetry in everything
Sadly singing
Love songs slowed down
A harmonica player on the curb
ushering out guests from the drink heavy bar, the heart heavy
We are bellies full of unnamed protests
our oceans only clear where the sky is
crossing the street as if we were still in another country
the one we learned to walk in
eyes forward, hands clasped, unafraid
Sundays turn into Sundays last
when the news comes in
another flight this evening
taking him away

“bellies full of unborn air” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Monday February 12, 2018
8:31am
5 minutes
Mannequins
Emily Davidson

Bellies full of unborn air
we reach for stars
we have no concept of.
How far away is venus?
How close is the new moon?
Where exactly is the north star?

Hearts full of
bubbles and pebbles
we crouch in the fire
hope we
don’t get burned.

Yes

you know more than me.

In my unknowning
though

I am wiser than
the octopus
with her smirk
and her paws.

Contort this body
into origami cranes.
Shake your head
at the grey
at the red.

Make failures
and love
in equal measure.

Yes

you are the tallest

mountain.

Playing piano
with our noses
we shake our fat
until the crows
laugh.

“sometimes a pencil is an octopus” by Julia on her couch

Sunday February 11, 2018
10:11pm
5 minutes
Octopus vs. Pencil
Philip A. Miletic

Sometimes you know the answer and sometimes you don’t. You don’t know because no one knows and you know because everyone knows. It’s an exact science you can rely on. It’s called Life and everyone knows it because it happens to everyone. Sometimes a theory is a sword. Sometimes an accusation is a law.
Sometimes a lie is a punishment.
Sometimes a lie doesn’t know it’s being lied. But this scientific thing, this thing that everyone knows, called Life, is hard to prove because everyone who knows it knows it in their own scent. It’s a thing everyone knows but it’s a thing no two people know the same way.
Sometimes a Buffalo chicken leg is dinner.
Sometimes a Buffalo chicken leg is breakfast.
Sometimes a Buffalo chicken leg is punishment.
Sometimes a punishment is self generated.
Sometimes the body is trying to protect itself.

“sometimes a pencil is an octopus” by Sasha by the water

Sunday February 11, 2018
1:41pm
5 minutes
Octopus vs. Pencil
Philip A. Miletic

News coming in on the radio
and I’m boiling eggs.

I didn’t go to the march
because I had tickets to a play
where one brother shoots
the other brother dead.

No irony.
No excuses for inaction.
For silence.
For being afraid of the rage
in the bellies of the First People.

Third generation settler
I’m sick and sorry and grieving and

Can’t shake the guilty feelings.
Can’t shake the feeling that my
whiteness is an affront and what
am I even doing here anyway.

Social media activism feels grimy
ineffective inefficeint fucked up.
I don’t know what else to do.
Give money.
Give love.
Give freely.
Ask of myself how I am a part.

Is the act of my sharing
violence? Listen. Listen?
Listen. Listen listen listen.

I’ve got everything I need here
including the sun today.

“I’ll probably do it while you’re sitting on the toilet” by Julia on the toilet

Saturday February 10, 2018
12:18am
Who Says I’m Not a Romantic
Fernando Raguero

We bought new toilet paper and you used the last bit of the roll but forgot to change it and we bought new toilet paper so it would have been easy. It would have been satisfying or maybe you’re not me. It is satisfying to change the roll, out with the old, in with the new. It’s a fresh start. A roll that hasn’t yet gotten dusty or humid or damp. A roll that suggests a readiness for all. And maybe you’re not me. And I can’t expect you to wait for me to have dinner even though you invited me to have dinner. You might have meant dinner on a different night like tomorrow or Easter Sunday. I can’t expect you to buy a new garbage can if the old one is busted even if you said you’d pick it up after work. You might have meant you were going to pick up the garbage can and see if it was heavy. You might have meant pick it up and put it back down again.

Some things add up really nicely.

Some things make sense to me but not to you, maybe, because you are not me.

“I’ll probably do it while you’re sitting on the toilet” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Saturday February 10, 2018
1:21am
5 minutes
Who Says I’m Not a Romantic
Fernando Raguero

I’m saving myself for the race
to the centre of the earth
saving my “sorry’s” for all
the broken-hearted children
saving my strength for you
when you get home tired and
hungry and lonely and angry

The whole world is singing
to a drum beat
singing to a heartbreak
singing quiet then loud
then quiet

My girl we’ve gotta stop this
too many boys with bullets
I don’t even know about hope today
What’s that man with a rifle in his hand
gonna say to us with our saving and our singing

World’s gone mad

Shoot me in the head

World’s gone mad

I’m saving my sadness
I’m saving my ears
I’m saving my pennies
Too much saving and not
enough doing

It all seems petty
these grievances between us
your eyes brimming
my eyes brimming

something in common

“moths drift from the trees” by Julia on her couch

Friday February 9, 2018
11:09pm
5 minutes
Al’s House
Lorna Crozier

I slide my nose along your nose while you lay your head in my lap
I’m convinced this is the map
of your breath travelling in and out of your body
I sniff your nose skin like it gives information and I have to track
the proof of you here
I could almost weep at the sweet of your nose and the smooth and the still
while you let me trace the personality poised in the middle of your face
Maybe that is the road the sprit knows
Up and down and back and forth
Maybe my spirit knows your spirit so plainly by now by the route of this place
The way the answers light themselves up bright enough to see
even when the eyes are closed and the room is dark.

“moths drift from the trees” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Friday February 9, 2018
10:02pm
5 minutes
Al’s House
Lorna Crozier

I was a sailor once.
I was a mermaid once.
I was an exploding star.
I was a grieving angel.
I was a piece of dust caught
in the bellybutton of a lost boy.
I was a moth once.
I was a good liar.
I was a red stamp
on immigration papers.
I was a banana farmer.
I was a rock star.
I was a bluejay.
I was a fawn that
only survived one spring.
I was a grandmother.
I was a grapefruit.
I was a good listener.
I was a criminal.
I was an exile.
I was a shaman.
I was a lover.
I was the last page of
a library book.
I was a pair of kitchen scissors.
I was Shakespeare’s daughter.
I was a lamb.
I was a killer.
I was a shadow
stretching across the sky.

“He couldn’t get enough of sky” by Julia on her couch

Thursday February 8, 2018
10:08pm
5 minutes
North America’s Favourite Zoo Animal
Stephanie Bolster

This boy flies in a plane
never seen the sky from
this high up
never seen his church
from this far away
Counting stars, Mamma,
I see them all the same as
down there
Makes a wish in case
one of them unexpectedly falls
And this one can be yours too,
Mamma, we can share it
This boy wears light blue hat
with bear ears sticking out
He sleeps in the soft of his
mother after watching the pink
and orange stripes fade
The gentle lady walks by and
catches herself off guard
by his tiny perfect face

“He couldn’t get enough of sky” by Sasha on her couch

Thursday February 8, 2018
1:08am
5 minutes
North America’s Favourite Zoo Animal
Stephanie Bolster

He hit the road on Friday after supper and didn’t stop driving until he was just outside of Moose Jaw. He couldn’t get enough of the sky and watching it turn from morning to noon to night. He couldn’t get enough of the open highway, ebbing and flowing with cars, depending on when and where he was. John Prine on the tape deck. Townes Van Zandt up next. He’s never been happier. The highway was calling for thirteen years. He put it off and put it off and put it off and put it off.

“barely do I sense that faint tug” by Julia on her couch

Wednesday February 7, 2018
9:37pm
5 minutes
Hiking With My Shadow
Don McKay

once there was a faint tug of determined grace
it came on the night after
it started to grow like a headache
and it was loud then, too, unavoidable
grace is supposed to feel light
like a tongue
forgiving a whisper
but the whisper changes shape
and the tongue gets confused

the faint tug was built like
a milkshake, everything getting
caught in the straw on the way up
the pull
a force that shouldn’t
be this hard;
the pull
a lie that
keeps getting stuck in the cheeks
it was there once
but it hasn’t come knocking
since

“barely do I sense that faint tug” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Wednesday February 7, 2018
7:13am
5 minutes
Hiking With My Shadow
Don McKay

Mimi makes the chocolate birthday cake for Don’s birthday. She mixes wet and dry. Stirs in eggs and oil. She meticulously follows her mother’s recipe. It’s Don’s favourite cake. She’ll make the frosting and ice the cake tomorrow, right before the party.

“Mimi?” Don’s home early.

“I’m in the kitchen.” Of course she is. He knows that’s where to find her. She whisper calls, because Jonah’s napping.

“Mimi, it’s Dad. He’s in the hospital in Calgary and I have to go right away.”

“We’ll come with you…” She’s already taking off her apron.

“No, no… There’s no point. He’ll probably be dead by the time I get there.”

“coffee laced with rum” by Julia on the plane

Tuesday February 6, 2018
4:42pm
5 minutes
I’ve Fishing Crawford Lake
Kim Maltman

The coffee had been sweetened
with hazelnut syrup
There was no extra charge
and no side comments made
It was served in a tiny cup; handmade, delicate
The man ordered a cup in the morning and again in the afternoon
He joked and said he had already
forgotten the taste
It was not the coffee itself
he needed more of
-his head a jolt of unsafe caffeine
navigating foreign streets-
but the condensed milk
layered at the bottom or when lucky
whipped through, and hot
The woman took only little sips
when offered
but ached for more, quietly

“coffee laced with rum” by Sasha at Anytime Fitness

Tuesday February 6, 2018
7:12pm
5 minutes
I’ve Fishing Crawford Lake
Kim Maltman

First date and she asks what you’re drinking and you say that you’re not but she thinks that you’re joking so then you’re joking and then there’s a rum and diet and instantly you’ve got game and sex appeal and a smile that looks like you’ve had orthodonture.

You pour yourself three fingers and you know you shouldn’t you know you promised but you do it you do it anyway.

Morning meeting coming up there will be pastries maybe a few too green bananas there will be coffee you bring a travel mug of your own your own is better and you get to lace it with rum.

Hard times come and it’s harder for them to go once they’re there and you’re back nursing a beer at three when you should be with your family at Len’s christening shit shit when did it get this bad?

“I’ve been hiding who I am” by Julia in Hanoi

Monday February 5, 2018
9:57pm
5 minutes
Sisterly Love
Elise Pallagi

Not under the rug or anything-
in the wide wide open
in my laugh
in the unkind words I’ve used to describe myself
in the moments between dream and awake when I can’t tell what’s real
When I know what’s real and still send my brain to the night cave,
the haunted ride,
the hole in my three/almost four year old running shoes
When I say I don’t need more
When I say yes, let me settle for this;
watch how this small nothing
does suffice
And in the wretched mirror of our private elevator I have been hiding
my joy behind picked skin regrets named Lack
named Control
It takes everything I am to say what
I am not
It is worse work
It does not come with sweets

“I’ve been hiding who I am” by Sasha at her desk

Monday February 5, 2018
7:06am
Sisterly Love
Elise Pallagi

I get tired of your texts at twenty to eleven. I want to shut my phone off, but I can’t because I’m addicted. I get tired but I want them, and when they don’t come I’m twitchy and sad. I run a bath and then my phone beeps and I’m up and out of there making puddles across the hardwood. Shit. I’m addicted. You aren’t clever in your seduction. I never thought I’d sink this low. Shit. When did my standards get so low? “I’ll be over in an hour.” It’s like my thumbs have a mind of their own. Good grief. Quarter to midnight and I’ll be riding the elevator up to tenth floor. Your door will be open a crack.

“Ninety pounds.” By Sasha at her kitchen table

Sunday February 4, 2018
7:04pm
5 minutes
T is for Texas
Derek McCormack

Hardly ninety pounds soaking wet, Kenny didn’t have a friend ’til he met Burl. It’s not like Burl had a softball team waiting to eat lunch with him or anything, but he did have Henrietta so that’s something.

Henrietta did not like Kenny from the moment she met him. Something about a boy in sweatpants just got her goat. When he walked over to her and Burl, acting like he belonged, she wrinkled her forehead and looking back and forth from Kenny to Burl like she was watching a badminton match. Silly birdie.

“Hi Burl.”

“Hi Kenny.”

“Would you like to come over and play after school today? My brother has chess, and Joan would rather not have to entertain me.”

Anyone who calls their mother by her first name cannot be trusted, thought Henrietta, picking the lettuce out of her salami sandwich.

“Ninety pounds.” By Julia in Hanoi

Sunday February 4, 2018
9:47pm
5 minutes
T is for Texas
Derek McCormack

I met a woman in the museum today
She was 90 pounds and making things
Pushing through the thick
and then
more making, more things
She won the medal for
perseverance or something like it
Not a war hero but a woman hero
and a wall climbing metaphor
She didn’t see the wall and
think there was no other way

Can’t go over it
Can’t go under it
Can’t go around it
Got to go through it
(Going on a lion hunt)
(If the lion was accomplishment in spite of)

The angle of her made her body
look big and she seemed
so very unfazed
standing

“children dawdling to school” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Saturday February 3, 2018
9:04am
5 minutes
Prazeres
K.V Skene

You forget what you came into the kitchen for. You don’t think much of it. These things happen. You have been working long days. It’s taking it’s toll.

You put the sponge in the freezer. You know that you have one and you can’t find it. This pisses you off. You scream swear. You’ll go for the frozen bananas tomorrow morning when it’s time for a smoothie. There it is. Frozen solid. Shit.

You forget why you got on the bus, and where you’re supposed to be going. Your heart sinks. You wonder if this is what happened with your mother, and her mother, and her mother before her. You wonder if you should’ve eaten more broccoli, less sugar. You wonder if this is your destiny, riding the bus across the bridge unsure when to get off.

“children dawdling to school” by Julia in Hanoi

Saturday February 3, 2018
10:20pm
5 minutes
Prazeres
K.V Skene

It’s over the hill and past the old abandoned ice cream truck.
The little ones don’t seem to
be afraid when they go by it
but I don’t like the feeling it
gives me. I don’t like what it
represents but then again I’m
old enough to remember what
happened. They skip and play
and sometimes pretend to steer
the wheel. They make believe
that they are just like the ice
cream man on a regular Wednesday in June.
The police say there might have been more than twenty bodies.
They say
they didn’t consider
digging so far back until
they had a reason to. When
you think of what all of us kids
knew back then, it makes you
wonder what their priorities were,
and what order.

“handed down mother to daughter” by Sasha on the 33

Friday February 2, 2018
6:29pm
5 minutes
Without Mercy
Howard Wright

We weren’t ever really sure where she came from. Just arrived one day, with diamond eyes and the reddest hair you’ve ever seen. She didn’t knock on the door, just stood outside it til Allen went out to milk the cows. She barely said a word. Got by on shaking her head and little grunts, like a goat. Mama put up posters in town, at Pharmacy and the General Store, almost as if she were a stray. No one claimed her though, so we kept her around. She never smiled. She baked the most delicious biscuits. We called her Red, and I think she liked that. Never told us her real name.

“handed down mother to daughter” by Julia at Tree Hugger Cafe, Dong Hoi

Friday February 2, 2018 at Tree Hugger Cafe
3:33pm
5 minutes
Without Mercy
Howard Wright

The slow blink while angry
The smooth legs
The internal smile at babies
The compassion
The sometimes door mat sometimes door
The olive oil skin
The walking feet
The running instinct
The humming bone
The story teller
The clam sauce recipe
The porcini mushroom gnocchi
The onion soup
The date and walnut cookies
The open face
The open mouth
The ears
The rage
The hurt
The agency
The curiosity
The attention to details
The service to the ones loved most
The glued roots to Italy
The never ending conversation
The family first

“Should we take the pillows?” By Sasha in her bed

Thursday February 1, 2018
11:04pm
5 minutes
What Are You Thinking?
Jay Ruzesky

A: Should we take the pillows?

B: Why would we? They’ll have pillows there…

A: I know, but I sleep better with my pillow.

B: It’s a weekend, I mean –

A: – but if the whole idea is that we’re going to relax and –

B: Bring it.

A: Should I?

B: Isn’t that what –

A: I don’t want to by high maintenance.

B: You aren’t.

A: Was that sarcasm?

B: Um – …

A: Rude!

B: It just seems a bit excessive to bring your own pillow to a B and B. What will the hosts think?

A: Who cares what they think!

“Should we take the pillows?” By Julia in Phong Nha-ke bang National Park

Thursday February 1, 2018
10:07pm
5 minutes
What Are You Thinking?
Jay Ruzesky

R-Should we take the coffee packets? Will you want those later?

A-I’m collecting them. I think they’ll be good to have on the go, don’t you

R-And should we take the Q-tips?

A-always good to have cotton swabs we didn’t have to buy in case of an emergency.

R-should we take the bag of crackers?

A-Of course I think we’ll enjoy having them as a snack in between major meals on the road.

R-And should we take the pillows?

A-well, if they will fit in our bags then it would be good to—wait. The pillows? Should we take the pillows?

R-Yes, should we take them?

A-The pillows?

R- Yes.

A-But…the pillows?

“a forest lake frozen to the bottom” by Sasha at her the Diamond Centre

Wednesday January 31, 2018
5:20pm
5 minutes
Seen
Pia Tafdrup

Back when the lake would freeze solid
or at least it felt like that
or at least I was a child and trusted safety still

We would lace up skates too tight
double layer of socks
double layer of love and comfort

My sister and I
all girlhood glow
all wonder and piano fingers
all stir-fry bellies
all blue eyes

Dancing swirls and future
carving the ice
carving the present
carving ourselves

Cheeks rosy
sweaty underneath layers of sweaters
pink jackets
snowpants

Darkness coming in
over the horizon
across the lake
time to get up
to the house

“a forest lake frozen to the bottom” by Julia in Phong Nha-ke national park

Wednesday January 31, 2018

10:20pm
5 minutes
Seen
Pia Tafdrup

It reminds me of the time we tried to take our leftovers home and the waitstaff who couldn’t understand our English very well didn’t know what a container meant. And so they gave it to us in a giant ceramic bowl that wouldn’t fit in our tiny fridge. They must have thought we were out of our minds. We brought the bowl to our room and some smaller bowls to eat from but we were too full to keep eating that night so we put them in the tiny fridge. The next day the giant bowl was gone but our two smaller bowls were still in there. We didn’t want leftovers until later and by the time it was later, we couldn’t eat them anyway. When we went to stick a spoon in, the top was hard as rock. It took a moment to figure out that it had frozen over-we put it in the wrong spot. This made us laugh for a while. Thinking of them coming to collect our giant bowl and saying, well I guess we’ll leave their ice noodles in the fridge then?

“the holy monkeys and the colourful birds” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Tuesday January 30, 2018
8:01am
5 minutes
You
Anna Margolin

The holy monkeys run at me as soon as I enter the temple. I was ambivalent about coming here, to say the least. But Jed said, “You have to go to the Monkey Palace! You haven’t lived until you’ve seen those monkeys!” I can hear his voice now, that way that it lilted like summer and peaches. Shit, I miss him. There I am, charged by primates, and I’m weeping because Jed, and I’m probably a little homesick, and maybe hungry, and tired. A Balinese woman comes up to me, so beautiful, and she offers me a piece of mango.

“the holy monkeys and the colourful birds” by Julia on the bus to Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng

Tuesday January 30, 2018
8:39am
5 minutes
You
Anna Margolin

In the morning before we said goodbye to Ann, the tiny blue bird with the long beak that I had seen in my half sleep from the bus reappeared. It cradled a thin branch near the water with its feet and stopped the world from stepping. I tried to tell you that it was a sign. You couldn’t see the blue and told me it was probably some other bird. It was the same one and I knew by the way it sat. Its stillness was a perfect one. I would know it anywhere. I managed to quiet my heart beat long enough to hear. To sense the strength or the message or the absence of expectation. I heard it like the humming of my Nonna, her voice soothing while she used to mend my favourite sleep shorts. I would know that sound anywhere. I would.

“it was poetry, fireworks, ticker tape” by Sasha at Anytime Fitness

Monday January 29, 2018
7:12am
5 minutes
Bad Hand
Mallory Tarses

It was fireworks when Alma was born
It was poetry when she looked up at Judy

“Poetry” Pete says when he’s telling the story
He loves to tell the story
even now
seven years later

“It was the coldest night of the year,” says Judy
stroking Alma’s soft downy fawn hair

“How cold?” Alma asks

“Thirty six below,” says Pete
as he puts another log on the fire
and it sparks
Alma giggles
The old dog Mutt opens one eye

“Where were the fireworks?” Alma asks
She knows the answer
but that’s the quiet comfort of
childhood
asking anyway

“Right here,” says Pete
tapping on his chest
knocking on the door of his heart

“It’s bedtime now,” says Judy
and she’s right but they all hope
that maybe tonight she can stay up
just a little bit longer

Mutt farts in his sleep and
they all laugh and laugh
and laugh
plugging their noses

“it was poetry, fireworks, ticker tape” by Julia in Hue

Monday January 29, 2018
9:16pm
5 minutes
Bad Hand
Mallory Tarses

It was hard beds, good sleeps, wild dreams.
It was soft hands, stark words, sweet kisses.

It held us in our tiny pod, two feet from the ground and floating. Brought us to the flashing lights and the back alleys and the families of perfect chickens. It was poetry and history and a birthday song over the PA in the lobby.

It was poetry and river walks.
It was poetry as patience.

As kindness.
As covered knees in the solemn place.
As the sunrise on a boat in the Mekong Delta.