“but took that nasty” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Monday June 22, 2020
9:31pm
5 minutes
anti-immigration
Evie Shockley

I’ve put this off all day because I’m not sure
how to wrangle the fullness of this particular wave

Will I cup my hand and move it slowly left to right
watch the shadow throb on the wall

Will I wave like Lola does with the enthusiasm of
having just mastered something pedestrian and wonderful

I will not wave

That is not the summation of eight and a half years
of a daily pause or a daily play that in it’s collection

Forms a revolution
I will feel the heavy heart of a goodbye that has been

A long time coming
Goodbye catches on my teeth and turns to salt water

This gentle place has seen the best and the worst
The burning and boring

The empty and the quiet
The dark night and the wisdom of growing

Thank you for reading all the strange wonderment
Thank you for finding the pearl in the compost

And believing what you heard between the lines
Thank you for the patience and the listening

My brilliant beloved trusted friend Julia
Thank you for how you rise

Thank you for the passion with which you fill every second
Of these five minutes

“And when the revolution frees me” by Sasha in the bedroom

Sunday June 21, 2020
2:07pm
5 minutes
Because We Are Not Taken Seriously
Stephen Dunn

Happy Father’s Day
I am beyond words grateful to know you
As a daughter does
As a daughter can
Know your fortitude and your ferocity
Your intelligence and your imagination
Your creativity and your generosity
Your tenderness and your tenacity

I am grateful for every chapter of our story
From being the baby in your arms asleep
To my baby in those same arms dancing
How you hold what you love close
The pull of time a web that weaves
something magic
ancient and new

The revolution won’t wait for you
And I admire how you know this
How you listen with full attention
To what we are saying
Punctuated by deep breath and tears
The prickle of your pride
Fathering daughters is something
you are well suited for

“I almost hear your voice:” by Sasha in the bedroom

Saturday June 20, 2020
11:17am
5 minutes
Full Consciousness
Juan Ramon Jimenez

If I am really writing, I am looking the feathered fish
right in the glassy blue eyes, fantasizing
about kissing a new tongue, Killing an old belief
Atonement for the little lies that build a chain
That house a dog
Barking to all eternity

The tannic truth that always leaves
Legs on the glass,
Nectar of maybe swirled.

I almost hear your voice now:
Giving me notes on the syntax and the rhythm,
Alliteration is lazy,
Voice is derivative,
Punctuation doesn’t serve a purpose.
Your baritone reaching in to my vulnerable folds,
pulling out, pushing in, pulling
out, filet after filet, after lemon wedge, after peony.

I’m exhausted by men who are too fucked to ask questions,
Dole Whip a critique masked as a suggestion, wearing the clothes
of a wolf, wrapped in cellophane and oceanic fury.

Salty lick and suddenly I’m believing every word you say,
Trusting your “Nah” and your nod more than my own.

“gags, oh gags” by Sasha in the bedroom

Friday June 19, 2020
9:02pm
5 minutes
Black Matters
Keith S. Wilson

You hold me like a malachite in a clenched hand
These fingers curled around the hope that this
Could be the time
the place
the person

the knowing
Knowledge is your scaffolding
Emotions are a weird frozen untrustable

Cut off the crusts of the
Promise sandwich and see how the bread dogs
Sogs
Yawns
Brittle and aloof

All the you’s and
all the me’s
Treading water in the same pool
of the same river

You hold me like a jade on your tongue
Eucharist of temptation
Sweaty small of the back begs questions
Words can’t ask

I take off my clothes
A corporeal deliverance
Contemplate the seven sins
The seven circles of whiteness
The seven years that held
a lot of dinosaurs
Spiderwebs
Foggy morning wetness

A lot of bones
Hymn to the light on the quivering horizon

“Her bigness sweeps my being” by Sasha in the bedroom

Thursday June 18, 2020
1:02pm
5 minutes
America
Claude McKay

Supple in her sweeping she walks in to rooms and people
Notice the broadness of her shoulders or maybe
it’s just her command
Her gaze is chestnut and pride
A few nights sleeping under a bridge when you’re seventeen and
High on meth
And your gaze changes for
Ever

June calls for brightly coloured beads and Slurpees spiked with vodka
Drum and bass sweaty thighs sticking to garden chairs
Ice cubes melting in bellybuttons
Asking for what she actually wants for once in her life for
Once in her fucking
Dream she is the real versioning vision of who she knows herself to be

When she turned forty
She promised to forget about all the assholes who took her for granted
She’s wasted so many hours with a clenched jaw
Focus on the love her cat gives her in the morning
Paws pressing into her forehead
Nails flirting with a scratch
Her cat saves her life and she never thought she’d be someone
To say that

Always hated when people spoke of cats in such a way

She turns up CBC radio
Opens a window
Picks up Rocco
Pats his calico head and picks gunk out of the corner of his eyes
She’ll make waffles for breakfast

Because it’s June 18th
Because it’s Thursday
Because she’s here and she slept decently well last night and she doesn’t feel the growl of an unanswerable question in her elbows

“Pandemic of lilies” by Sasha in the trundle room

Wednesday June 17, 2020
12:49pm
5 minutes
My Sister Says White Supremacy Is Turning Her Crazy
Morgan Parker

You exit your third floor bachelor apartment for the first time in seven weeks. The pandemic has made your OCD spike, and you can’t bring yourself to even go on walks, let alone line up for more cereal. You’ve been getting your groceries delivered. Today, you brave the potential exposure because the walls of your place feel like they are shutting in, leaning down, squeezing your ribs. You need a walk. You need fresh air. You need a smooch. You need someone, anyone really, to lie on top of you, the weight of another body on yours. You’ll settle for a walk. Fresh air. Pittance. You wash your hands before you go, put on gloves and a mask. You wear sunglasses and a blue baseball hat. You are paranoid that you’ll run in to someone you know, even though you don’t know anyone who lives in your neighbourhood. You’re glad it’s early. There will only be dog walkers and mothers with small kids out. You know this because you usually sit by your window at this time and see what’s happening on the pavement below. You watch dog’s shit, mother’s wipe snot from noses, and the empty bus careen around the corner.

“if the seas of cities” by Sasha in her bedroom

Tuesday June 16, 2020
11:49pm
5 minutes
if something should happen
Lucille Clifton

If I position myself just so
in the right light
She thinks
Maybe then maybe then
maybe then the truth will land
and the nervous giggle won’t crescendo
fall flat in the face of so much strange

A third of life in the rear view mirror
at best
She thinks that she knows about
seasons changing
And how to tend to bruised palm
The best method for soft boiling an egg
What she needs when she’s tired and lonely

If I position myself
In the magic hour patina
Feel for the dew of desire
She wonders
about asking outright or if
it’s most palatable to keep playing
the game a little longer

“10. going, going, gone” by Sasha in the trundle room

Monday June 15, 2020
12:52pm
5 minutes
alternate names for black boys
Danez Smith

  1. Take a seat and observe how the room twirls and smokes, scoffs and languishes. You are the eye of the storm in your silence and watching.

  2. It’s been so long since you’ve been in a group, since you’ve been at a party, that you don’t remember where to find words or place laughter. You bite your tongue a hundred times before you slice with a something small and the man in the rimmed glasses cocks his head and looks at your breasts.

  3. You wonder how many people here are pretending, how many people are holding in a fart or a pee, how many people really wish they were someplace else, swimming in a cool lake, touching the papery skin of their mother’s forearm.

  4. It used to take you hours to get ready for something like this, standing in front of the mirror, a bottle of tequila on the bathroom counter, swigging and painting your face for battle. Today it took you exactly six minutes to brush your hair and put Vaseline on your unruly eyebrows and chapped lips.

  5. You arrive late, as usual. Toss your jean jacket on the back of a chair, on top of other jean jackets and cardigans. You smile without showing your teeth. You forgot to brush them. You wonder about your breath, and if you’ll even get close enough to anyone to smell their toothpaste, their IPA, their roast chicken dinner.

“your face remains close to the ground” by Sasha in the bedroom

Sunday June 14, 2020
7:02am
5 minutes
Inmate of Happiness
Elizabeth Metzger

Annie orders extra plates of things when she goes on dates. Because why not. Because she deserves the smoky eggplant dotted with pomegranate jewels. She must taste the pickled carrots on a bed of yogurt and mint. She wants to see this almost-stranger’s face as they dip a triangle of warm fresh pita into silky hummus. She orders with confidence and curiosity, unafraid to try the dishes on the menu that might be skipped over. Tripe, liver, chicken feet, mousses, raw beets shaved into snow. She is kind to wait staff, asks them their name and how they are and listens deeply to their answer. She knows what she wants. This adds inches to her beauty and shimmer to her glow. If you saw Annie walking down the street you might not notice the fullness of her presence, but if you are lucky enough to dine with her, you will be as enraptured by the depth of her noticing as you are by the spread. She has an impeccable palate, whispering, “is that sumac?” Or, “Saffron! Saffron and raisins!”

“not with legends and poems” By Sasha in the bedroom

Saturday June 13, 2020
5 minutes
12:26pm
Frederick Douglass
Robert Hayden

I feel the end approaching
Horizon hazy and grey
Uncharacteristically cold for June thirteenth
I sit with the heavy cherry in the bottom of my throat
Breathe past it
Down to a belly that has grown my life and her life
Housed my shame and pleasure

We are going to say goodbye
All the endings lined up in a row
To point and shoot at
Light a match to
Or caress and care for
Kiss and hold close
Hold in the space between chin and neck
An orange passed around a circle
The small frog in the grass that’s here and then
Disappears

I feel the end before I meet it
Anticipate the taste of this year and how
One day
I’ll think back to these months and shake my head

All the endings lined up on death row
As the days turn to weeks turn to months
And suddenly it’s here
We’re there
I’m here
It’s now
It’s done

Okay
Thank you
Okay

There are words like Freedom” by Sasha in her room

Friday June 12, 2020
5 minutes
9:18pm
Words Like Freedom
Langston Hughes

We are sat on the couch
The same couch where that famous picture is taken
The first winter we loved each other silly
We are sat on that black couch
And it’s night
And the stars are singing a hymnal spring
And you say
I notice your collarbone is protruding
And I imagine you like that
I howl with laughter because I don’t know what else to do
You have rarely commented on my body
Rarely said anything approving or disproving
And even though I know that’s probably the right thing
I have thirsted for your affirmation and approval
Like a parched dog
Wagging tail the whole way to the bowl
But will lap and lap and lap until she pukes
When she gets there
Unknowing of her own thirst
Of her own insatiable need for being seen
As something to be desired

“in the plumed summers of Los Angeles” by Sasha on the couch

Wednesday June 10, 2020
11:09pm
5 minutes
_______ my loved blacknesses & some blackness I knew
Khadijah Queen

You sit across the table from the person you promised forever too
You remember that when you said it you felt your stomach turn
How could someone twenty five or otherwise know anything about
The hours of a whole long life?

You sit across the table and you look at the hands of the man who
Keeps saying “My client”
They are hands that have trim nails and hair on the knuckles
Hands that tie garbage bags and turn steering wheels and eat burgers

You love this man across from you the divide of oak table and sadness
Reaching across is what you want to do but you sit on your hands
Palms pressing into the tan leather of the chair
You don’t see the lips you spent days kissing in the beginning

You see lips that need water and redemption and a break
Cheeks concave under freshly shaven skin
You wish that you’d worn something beloved instead of this
New striped sweater

“as darkness under your eyelids” by Sasha at the kitchen table

Tuesday June 9, 2020
8:59pm
5 minutes
how to get over (be born: black…”)
T’ai Freedom Ford

You are the plum tree spitting fruit
and leaves to the ground
when you’re tired and inconsolable
Raging at the tiers of injustice
Unsure how to move in your foliage
How deep the roots reach towards water

Darkness under your eyelids with the depth of night
Rather peel back the bark than say something
Wrong
Only now do you smell the rot of last summer
You didn’t even know you were plugging your nose
Relish the quiet of dawn
Aren’t sure if you’re ready to dare towards sunlight

The veins scorch and it’s a lucky turn of fate
That the network below sustains you
Lifts you
Keeps you from sinking
You don’t wish for lightning to strike
But you wonder when it will and welcome a bolt
A jolt
A shaking from the cling of soil

“for us to breathe.” By Sasha in the living room

Monday June 8, 2020
10:07pm
5 minutes
A Small Needful Fact
Ross Gay

“She’s having a panic attack,” the doctor says. He has eyes like a cocker spaniel. Like a fish. Like your grandmother. He has big hands. Hairy hands. Knuckles that have been grated and bruised. “I don’t want to prescribe anything but therapy,” he is talking to her mother and her mother is the kind of woman who still wears a girdle and drinks sugar free iced tea from a can. Her mother picks at scabs when no one is looking, and buys herself a secret doughnut on the first day of her period, but she doesn’t menstruate anymore, so she actually buts herself a doughnut once a month on the day that she used to start her period. She is a very anxious woman, always pushing back her cuticles, reaching for gum. Anxiety is a thread woven between the women in this family, woman to woman, down the line, a strange kind of relay race.

“All above us is the touching” by Sasha in the basement

Sunday June 7, 2020
4:02pm
5 minutes
Elegy
Aracelis Girmay

All of the lonely people wishing for a touch
on the forearm from the new fingertips
the sizzle of the egg
the tongue on the earlobe
wishing for a spark
the fire starts low in the belly
spreads quick
suddenly there is no pandemic
is no risk
is nothing
but the want
for a touch
the longing for a taste

Above us is the promise of change not made
by someone at a podium or with a microphone
the sun watches as we disobey orders
as they burn cities
topple oppressive monuments into murky water

I’ve been clenching my jaw again
scratching my throat
losing sleep over the dead ones
the living

“I didn’t blink when the water” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Saturday June 6, 2020
1:15pm
5 minutes
The Truth
Ross Gay

She says she can’t stop crying
and I can’t either but for
the same reasons
and different flooded shoes

Don’t take the bait of the snarl
a curly tongue wearing pepper and fear
the same reasons
and another restless morning

The distractions are numb toes
and scrolling clown faces
try to temper the burn
peel the puffed grave

“Andrzej squinted at it” by Sasha on her couch

Friday June 5, 2020
10:16pm
5 minutes
The Button
Makana Eyre

Andrzej squints into the sun. He looks to the grass, bold in it’s shade of green, and sees spots. He tightens his backpack straps. He wishes he was older than eleven, and bigger than Elijah. Born at thirty-two weeks, Andrzej didn’t grow the way the doctor’s told Mia and Kendrick that he would. The boys in his class are starting to shoot up, corn stalks, but Andrzej only grew a quarter of an inch last year. He’s glad that Mr. M decided to take them to the protest instead of doing a Geography Quiz. Elijah hasn’t been feeling well, so has been staying home from school since Tuesday. Mia and Kendrick both go to work when Elijah’s sick and Andrzej knows that he must watch a lot of television.

“I lay on a moment” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Thursday June 4, 2020
10:10pm
5 minutes
I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
Maya Angelou

I can’t reconcile the
lightning striking now the
strange smell
lilacs and revolution the
temptation to stay quiet
stay small

I made a small vow the
kind of promise whispered
to the water against the window
I will notice how it feels
in my body when I feel shame
my privilege taking up
too much space too much
oxygen all the sorries in
the world collected in
hands that can barely
hold a rocking city

I will read more listen
more reflect more dismantle more
talk to my parents more
the uncomfortable the un
comfort
able

There is no place to get
line in the desert
or trail in the sky
nothing is the same
everything is the
same
know
ledge is power

“Go home. Get some sleep” by Sasha at the kitchen table

Wednesday June 3, 2020
8:18pm
5 minutes
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay
Michael Chabon

Aggi: Go home, Clem. Get some sleep.

Clem: Why would I do that?

A: You look like shit. I’ve never seen you like this before. I’ve seen you –

C: I don’t care what you think! How many times do I need to –

A: GO HOME.

C: Can’t I just sleep on the couch? I won’t be any trouble.

A: All you’ve given me is trouble!

C: I’m sorry.

A: Fuck.

C: I’m really sorry. I shouldn’t have had that third glass of wine.

A: I told you when you opened the bottle that it wasn’t a good idea. We agreed that we wouldn’t –

C: Not all of us have the privilege of a fucking therapist, okay?

A: Stop. Just stop.

“This describes well what I’ve said” by Sasha on the couch

Tuesday June 2, 2020
1:03am
5 minutes
Mencius
Mencius

You say “I’m sorry that that happened to you”
I say “Thank you”

It’s the kind of exchange that builds muscle
slowly over time

You tell me about midwifing a cow
and smoking hash on the beach

I tell you a few strange details
starting and stopping

not sure what’s too much
I am most often too much

Peering out the window into darkness
lightning strikes

the sky illuminated in wonder
and loneliness

I didn’t set out to write something so sad
but it’s a strange time to want to touch

toes while lying on the floor
trading songs like passport stamps

here’s where I’ve been
and here and here

“And you intend to remain there a few days” by Sasha on the living room floor

Monday June 1, 2020
10:39pm
5 minutes
Murder on the Orient Express
Agatha Christie

You intend to remain in your sad place for a few days
build a little fire in the stove

fry some eggs in the cast iron skillet when you get hungry
You’ll write an angsty poem or three
Try to catch a frog

You’ll be pleasantly surprised when a dragonfly lands on
the tip of your nose

This is not the kind of event that you’ve come to expect

You had intended to swim out to the island a ways away
lie in the tall grass
tempt lightning

The storm blows over and you’re left with a sunset
that turns your stomach
loons calling to each other
or to you

“describe what it might be like to be her child” by Sasha at the kitchen table

Sunday May 31, 2020
2:39pm
5 minutes
Room To Write
Bonni Goldberg

You walk around the corner with an apple piece in your hand
extended in a reach that says “yes” and “look!”

You just learned how to tip toe and
smell the purple lilacs

I read a headline this morning that there might be rolling
pandemics every five or ten years now

and I almost threw up
a wave of sadness that you were born into this world

How will I explain it all when your questions grow
wider than “Hot?”

I was always so sure that I was to be a mother
I never imagined such grief as your bones and blood grew in my body
At eleven weeks of holding you here
my small world exploding
and now the big world breaking and burning
little and big
nested like dolls inside one another
your hand in mine now
as you step up a stair

“having petals more or less united” by Sasha in the trundle room

Saturday May 30, 2020
2:09pm
5 minutes
Flower Finder
May Theilgaard

She puts a magnolia in the barrel of the gun
Weeps and weeps and wails
She thinks of her mother
doing crosswords at the kitchen table
stewing chicken thighs on the stove

She wears a blue face mask
doesn’t wear contacts because if she gets tear gassed
they’ll stick to her eyes and blind her
She leaves her glasses at home
doesn’t want them to break

She can see enough to know that something is building
a rising fire tide with the crowds and the four hundred years
of brutality and systemic oppression
She wishes that she’d taken other electives when she was in college
She should’ve studied history
She should’ve read biographies

She makes eye contact with a young boy on the shoulders of his father
Broad shoulders getting him up close to clouds and perspective
a new story being written by his fingers in his father’s hair

“La vita con te é fantastica” by Sasha in her bedroom

Friday May 29, 2020
10:30am
5 minutes
From a birthday card

I’m sorry that I haven’t written something meaningful about what really matters here. I don’t know what to say. This isn’t about my apology, always with the “sorry sorry sorry sorry”. This isn’t about me. I don’t have anything interesting to add. I don’t have anything interesting to order, collect, sort or share. I’m sorry. I’m sorry for my ignorance and my laziness and my bullshit trying. I’m sorry for being distracted by my little life and how it explodes and settles and then explodes again. I’m sorry for all the failures to stand up. I’m sorry for the times I said nothing because I was scared. I’m sick with this. But it isn’t about me. I don’t know what to say. I’m sorry. That’s not productive. N

“give me advice!” by Sasha in her bedroom

Thursday May 28, 2020
11:47pm
5 minutes
From an email

I turn to the quiet for advice now
or the voice and face I love on the phone
crouched in the mosquito tent
dandelions painting my legs yellow

I try not to offer unsolicited popcorn
Ask before I offer
I’m mostly terrible at it
But at least I try

The sage says that I ought not distract
from the restlessness and the dis-ease
I can’t help it
Or can I
I don’t know
I reach
I fall
Maybe I’m the one who rushes everything
Maybe I always thought it was him and then him
but it’s actually me
Tripping over my own feet
fumbling towards a hit of something smooth

“channel your energy” by Sasha in her bedroom

Wednesday May 27, 2020
2:41pm
5 minutes
From a fortune cookie

I lie belly to the floor
and listen to what the voice says
beyond the tension and the toil
where the ground splits and splays

Like a seashell to the ear
the floor tells stories that
might just be blood rushing
but might be the sky underfoot

“Think about the life you want to have”
my sister says and she’s right
It’s not about a decision
It’s about the life I want to have

All the threads are spooled in the moment
of this gathering together
sure to be frayed again by morning
but for now
ear to the whitewashed wood
I’m slipping towards the eddy

“can have a foul odour and taste” by Sasha at the kitchen island

Tuesday May 26, 2020
8:23pm
5 minutes
Chosen Foods Avocado Oil Label

Henry sticks a meat thermometer in the chicken. Shawn is arriving any minute from now, and he fears he underestimated the cooking time. Why does this always happen? Henry is not a confident cook. He has his dishes. Roast chicken isn’t one of them. He thought he ought to branch out. He threw some parsnips and carrots under the bird, and put three cloves of garlic and a lemon in the cavity. He followed the recipe carefully. Maybe it’s his old oven. Cooks things unevenly. There’s a knock at the door. Shit. He looks down and realizes that he forgot to change into his outfit. He’s still wearing a ratty grey T-shirt and basketball shorts. Well, there’s nothing else to do but embrace the moment. Fail forward, he mutters.

“Wild Gourmet Fish” by Sasha in her bed

Monday May 25, 2020
11:02pm
5 minutes
West Coast Select Flyer

Flaking off the pieces and popping them in his mouth
he is an animal too and knows it when he eats this good trout
from his uncle Rod’s farm way up way up the coast

He spent a summer there when he was seventeen
wishing he was back home smooching Bethany and touching
the blonde hairs on the back of her thighs

He didn’t know then that that summer would be one
of his best even though he wished he was somewhere else
He didn’t know then that being out on the boat with Rod

and his crew was the most connected he’d ever feel
to other men and to the sea and to the world and to
the life cycle that spins a Wheel of Fortune

He didn’t have a cellphone and barely had a clue
or a bank account or understood how to apologize
but he had the salt wind in his face and an ache

in his belly and tears in his eyes

“positive descriptions of the world” by Sasha in the trundle room

Sunday May 24, 2020
10:31am
5 minutes
Perceiving Ordinary Magic
Jeremy W. Hayward

Let’s go back to the time before the
anarchy and debauchery and the excuses dressed
as Big Cats

Let’s paint in sand and cello music
wrap ourselves in rhubarb leaves and moon juice
take a page out of the book of birds
and fly
and sing

There isn’t anything the matter
but everything hurts

Anyone who says otherwise
is wearing dress up clothes
musty from being in the attack
stinking of detergent
from being worn and washed

“the notion of being thawed back into life” by Sasha in the tent

Saturday May 23, 2020
4:44pm
5 minutes
The Childhood of Jesus
J.M. Coetzee

The thaw comes after a long time of being chilly. Inside the intestines, lungs and gallbladder, the kidneys and the blood. She didn’t realize until the thaw began. The release of small drops of body water. A body of water. Our bodies are water. She didn’t realize what had been frozen for oh so very long. She stretches into the end of May like a cat. Spine twisting. She leaves a trail of moisture in her path. Not suspect at first, but the thaw picks up pace and then she’s dripping at all hours of the day and night. She realized that being naked is the easiest way to weather this strange storm. She only wears a bathing suit (blue one piece from Target from her Bubby) when she goes to water her vegetable garden, just in case Tom and Bob next door are trimming their roses. She doesn’t want to upset them.

“Excluding any personal opinion” by Sasha at the dresser

Friday May 22, 2020
7:21am
5 minutes
The Death of Ivan Ilyich
Leo Tolstoy

Excellent extraterrestrial beings are congratulating their fellow friends
For the solid score of flesh eating disease on the high seas of planet earth
They’ve planted and sowed and watered and spit and shit and spat and moved
Their long fingers across the faces of the frozen zombies and they are

Goddamn delighted

That the flesh is finally falling off the bones and the frozen zombies are now
Sitting in their bathtubs filled with lentils and hairbrushes and they are
Scrubbing and scrubbing and scrubbing
The pure unadulterated extraterrestrial joy of a mission that’s been accomplished that has been in motion for millennia

“and took another profound drag on it” by Sasha in the window seat

Thursday May 21, 2020
7:13am
5 minutes
The Bonfire Of The Vanities
Tom Wolfe

When she wakes up in the middle of the night, the crickets shrieking outside the cracked window, she thinks about how long the money in her bank account might last, when she might be able to see her mother again, and how her hips ache. She gets up and pees. She drinks from the bathroom sink. She squints at herself in the mirror, hair looking surprisingly good. “Huh,” she says. She pads back to her bedroom, stopped to peek in on Nassau. Tucked into his bed shaped like a rocket ship, he’s still except for the small wheezing chest – up and down and up and down. His inhaler on the bedside table, next to his comic books and green stainless steel water bottle. She leans over her boy, listening to the quality of the wheeze. Should she wake him? He’s fucking beautiful – Larry’s exquisite eyelashes, her mother’s jawline, her cheekbones, and lips all his own. Nassau furrows his brow. Turns over onto his side. Coughs. She tiptoes out of the room.

“nobody should let them in that night” by Sasha at the table

Wednesday May 20, 2020
2:44pm
5 minutes
Wuthering Heights
Emily Bronte

The night of the accident was the first one that really felt like summer. Becca and Sam were in shorts. Maybe pushing it a little, but whatever. Dylan and Stuart had joints tucked behind their ears, a lighter in Stu’s back pocket. The Zippo that his big brother James gave him for his seventeenth birthday. That’s where they got their weed too, and their beer when they drank. James liked the power he held over Stu when he did shit for him. He liked when Stu owed him something. You never know when you’re going to need a favour, or a cover. Stu didn’t think that James would be in the barn when they got there, and he didn’t know that James had dropped acid three hours earlier, on his way home from his job at the Garden Centre. “Who’s there?” Stu called when he heard something. The barn creaked. James whistled the whistle that their Grandmother had taught them in case they got lost in Walmart or the woods. “Shit,” Stu mumbled.

“so for a long time the king was defeated” by Sasha at the kitchen table

Tuesday May 19, 2020
11:44am
5 minutes
The Jewish War
Josephus

Look Lauren, I’m not saying it’s impossible. I’m saying it’s unlikely. Recovery won’t be straightforward, okay. You’re going to need intense rehabilitation – physiotherapy will only be the start of it. You’ll need occupational therapy and you’ll have to get your home outfitted to accommodate – … It’s going to be a long and hard path. I believe in you. I believe you can do it, but I don’t want you to have some idea of how it’s going to look or how it’s going to go. Any progress is good progress, is against the odds. You have your age on your side, and the fact that you’re in decent shape. Do you have insurance? I don’t see anything noted on your chart here…

“they must not wait for him” by Sasha in the kitchen

Monday May 18, 2020
2:22pm
5 minutes
Tacitus
The Histories

You slice off the end of your finger. You don’t scream. You don’t curse. You don’t fall to the floor. You look at the fingertip on your cutting board. You sigh. You see your father’s face, flushed. He’s just come in from the garden. He’s just come home from a long night shift. He’s just grilled three pieces of salmon on the propane barbecue. The blood starts to drip onto the floor, pooling on the linoleum. You used to faint whenever you saw blood. Daddy helped to train your mind to bear it. “Like a marathon runner, or a samurai fighter, Danielle!” He’d get down and look you right in the eye. Your eyes are the same colour as his. People used to stop you on the street and comment on it. Act like you didn’t know.

“serious minds settling down to discuss” by Sasha in her bed

Sunday May 17, 2020
10:09pm
5 minutes
Dreams
CG Jung

It is not morose to think of death
all the little pebbles collected in the pockets of my jeans
I wonder why I feel weighted at the end of the day
Laugh as I line up twelve stones on the dresser top
swiped from a little mouth
stolen from a little hand

Death is as life is
Innate in our vitality is our undoing
The paradox of living is the constant dying
It is not odd to consider how we distract and fear this
It is odd to not consider
To stick our heads into the dry earth
Fill our mouths with cheese and grapes
Turn our eyes to the bright blue light

I walked barefoot on the driveway today
Didn’t mean to do it
But did it

“The words merely drifted” by Sasha at the table

Saturday, May 16, 2020
3:34pm
5 minutes
The Right Stuff
Tom Wolfe

Words like javilins like tennis balls
like popcorn like ice water
Drifting from my mouth to your mouth
Catch them
Venus fly traps
Catch them and swallow them
make them into new words
Words I didn’t say
Sharp
Bouncy
Catching a kernel in the throat

Words these sweet friends
turned scorned lovers turned awkward strangers

Betrayal has a jet stream that lingers
long after the word purges from tight lips

Catch this one and volley volley volley
You’ve been practising your spikes
The ball comes when I’m least expecting
Tired and stretching
BANG
First thing in the grey morning
BANG

“Ooh! A fun challenge!” By Sasha at the table

Friday May 15, 2020
3:25pm
5 minutes
From brittab.com

Monica shrugs her shoulders. She feels Dan’s eyes on her body, taking in the rise and fall of her chest as she breathes. She remembers when she used to lie with her head on the soft place between his shoulder and his clavical. The easy silence between them. Now, a layer of plexiglass between their hands as they reach, palm to palm. “I don’t know what happened, Danny, he doesn’t have a father figure, he dpesn’t have a role model,” Monica repeats herself. Dan knows that she does this when she’s anxious. He remembers how she bailed him out at least a half a dozen times when he was working with Len and Gary. The way she’d peel out of the parking lot in her old red Honda Civic, tires screeching and then rail into him, repeating and repeating as he bit his tongue and said, “I’m sorry, baby.”

“if you are not comfortable I totally understand” by Sasha on the couch

Thursday May 14, 2020
8:45am
5 minutes
From a text

I dream of walking to Ideal, Lola toddling along beside me. Ordering an Americano, handing over my travel mug, eyeing a chocolate beet muffin. I dream of grocery shopping at Ko on Roncesvalles, navigating the tight aisles, selecting almond butter, mirin, dried mango. I dream of going to see a play at the Theatre Centre, and running in to someone I know. Someone I went to school with. Someone who gives me a full body hug, a really good squeeze. I dream of kissing. I dream of Wednesday morning breakfast at Lou’s, maneuvering the stroller by the recycling bins. I dream of Friday afternoons at Chloe and Fern’s, drinking tea and watching the girls chase each other around the kitchen island. I dream of a bath in my tub, even though I actually like the tub here better. My tub is my tub.

“We invite you to read” by Sasha at the table

Wednesday May 13, 2020
4:03pm
5 minutes
Canada Council for the Arts Newsletter

Gemma secretly wanted to name her daughter after her dead mother, “Frances”. Liam thought that was morbid, so they called her, “Molly”. Gemma closed her eyes, three-day-old Molly at her breast. Not quite drinking and not quite sleeping, Molly made Gemma both dopey and highly alert. She knew that she and Liam weren’t going to last. They were doing her best. Oops. They were doing their best. Liam hadn’t been sure about wanting to be a father, but when she’d gotten pregnant, he’d put on a brave face. His refusal to attend the birthing class that Gemma signed them up for wasn’t the first red flag.

“we are on the verge of something.” By Sasha at the table

Tuesday, May 12, 2020
1:48pm
5 minutes
When Things Fall Apart
Pema Chödrön

Four olive pits on a plate painted with roses, a crack on one corner. Fifty three days since I’ve been home. Six green peas on the high chair tray, leftover from lunch. One tea bag in the bottom of the blue and white mug. Hundreds of ants chewing through the wood that keeps us warm and dry. Three drops of poison spread across the beam in the living room, the kitchen counter corner. One pandemic. One water bottle emptied and filled, emptied and filled. One nub of red candle. One small chipmunk on the deck railing, watching me write. Eleven seconds left on the timer. Two eyes, blinking.

“I bend double under its gaze,” by Sasha in her room

Monday, May 11, 2020
10:03pm
5 minutes
All the Room You Need
Lorna Crozier

Under this gaze
the weight of my face feels heavier than water
Air rising to the surface
Mist on the lake

I wish that I could tell you something good
Something effervescent
Hear your laugh buoyant as fireflies
But all I can muster is a bullet point report on the state

of my heartbreak
Sent in a little blue bubble
from the end of the road

Sometimes I think about looking back
on this time

What might still sting
What might create a shiver
laughter
What might be frozen
beneath

the new layer of the new thing
that’s right or wrong

“We think you’ll like it here” by Sasha at Knowlton Lake

Sunday, May 10, 2020
1:17pm
5 minutes
From an email

Shadows of birds move
across the white birch
I eclipse myself
as they do
spreading wings wide
and riding the cold wind west
I gather rocks in my pockets
carefully swiped from Lola’s mouth
Find them at the end of the day
when I undress for a bath
wondering why I am weighted
Lay them out on the windowsill
Little grey gravel pieces
I’ll return them to the road tomorrow

It’s a rollercoaster
I say over and over
Until I believe that the nausea
might be attributed to something
other than the inevitable letting go
It’s inevitable for all of us
Not just me
Letting go
Meeting our mortality
in every ending
I don’t speak in forever anymore
Scoff at those that do

There is not certainty
Anywhere but sitting with the stream
She’ll swell again next year
I can count on that
The trilliums are coming
Despite early May snow
I can count on that

“what tiny synapses” by Sasha at the table

Saturday, May 9, 2020
1:30pm
5 minutes
Supermarket Lobsters
Robbie Gamble

Jinny can’t stop jerking off. She sneaks into the bathroom on her break and touches herself. She wakes up and masturbates. She goes to sleep with her hand in her pyjama bottoms. She washes her hands more than she used to. Isn’t yet at the part in the story where she questions her shame, her queasy feeling when she thinks about anyone knowing that she’s orgasmed six times today, thanks to herself. She used to despise the term “horny” but she’s reclaiming it, whispering it under her breath when she feels howshe really is just that – “horny horny horny hornyyyy…” There isn’t a suitable synonym. She’s tried to think of one, synapses firing red and ready. There must be another word for it! She’d just started online dating again, after deleting the apps at Christmas after three dozen strange, awkward, boring dates. She’d connected with a few people before the pandemic started, but things got strange and tense once everyone was in isolation. Robi, who wore a beaded necklace and overused the moon emoji, wanted to do a FaceTime date but Jinny said no.

“when you went to Vermont” by Sasha on the couch

Friday, May 8, 2020
7:41am
5 minutes
she is in the kitchen now
Nora Pace

When you went to Vermont you never expected to see your first dead body. Hard to believe that you made it to forty-five without ever encountering a corpse, open-casket funeral or something. You wear gators for rain over your hiking boots and quick dry pants as further protection against tics. You’ve never been scared of something the way that your scared of tics. Maybe it was seeing Claire get Lyme’s and how her doctor acted like it was all in her head, just like the endometriosis and the depression. Maybe it was that something so small could have such a huge impact, a life changing crippling, debilitating impact. You aren’t one for attention-to-detail but when you come in from a walk you strip down and scour every millimeter of your body. It’s hard because you’re hairy. You suit up, and head out from the cabin you’ve rented. You’ve hiked since you were a boy, trailing mountains and bush with your beloved father who could do no wrong in your eyes, even though all he could do was wrong in the mother’s. You take the path you’ve scouted, but turn south instead of north, descending down into a deep valley. Three miles in, you see something different that the milieu of greens, golds, and browns. You walk closer.

“When the rains come,“ by Sasha at the dining room table

Thursday, May 7, 2020
2:12pm
5 minutes
Monologue of a Fly’s Shadow
Danielle Hanson

I wonder if I’ve ever felt like home to you
and if that even matters now
that we are where we are
beyond the blue horizon staring the sun in the face
Retinas recycling remembered debris
I am positing what might come next
staking ground and digging in heavy heels
What is mine now
What is yours
What is the new “ours”
Hour after hour of
Am I in denial or
Am I this okay
Am I this not okay

I wonder if you’ve ever been home to me
I certainly thought you were
But I thought a lot of things
that now feel second cousin and estranged
Living in Paris or Dubai
Wearing hand me down traumas
bright jangly jewellery dripped from neck and wrist

You say that you notice how you’re
less quick to judge
Quote something from the bible about stones
We’ve been fighting the whole car trip
the tannin of sadness thick in my mouth
staining my teeth I run my tongue along
count the smooth edges
I open the window and let the gush blast me
A bomb of maybe spring
Maybe delicacy
Hope the fresh air might change the station

“the creek below babbling” by Sasha at Knowlton Lake

Wednesday May 6, 2020
10:07pm
5 minutes
The Fawn
Jenny Burkell

Everyone seems to want to say that things are going to get worse. Do things always get worse? Especially when you feel they can’t, expect they will? The funny thing is, the creek babbles and the leaves burst on the trees that were bare. The funny thing is, despite how bad things are already, I’m doing pretty well. In some ways, I’m doing better than ever. Freckles have sprouted on my nose again and this feels like hope in the shape of a pigmented constellation that looks a little bit different every year. I make up song after song on walks up the road, singing more now than I ever have, or at least more than I have since childhood. I just can’t stop singing.

“And it speaks to certain devils“ by Sasha in the trundle room

Tuesday, May 5, 2020
11:16am
5 minutes
Another Vision
Patricia Nelson

“We think that by protecting ourselves
from suffering we are being kind
to ourselves,” Pema writes.

Walls made of feathers and playing cards
ash and lightning
photographs and receipts

Erected with a very well scrubbed poker face
A very well stocked pantry
A very good pretending disguised as meditation

Then a flash of light and you’re
sat across from the devil
wearing the clothes of someone

You thought you knew so well
Paint a layer of nice between
two slices of bread you kneaded for many years

“We are very happy to present a virtual conference this year” by Sasha in the trundle room

Sunday, May 3, 2020
10:52pm
5 minutes
From an email

I get emails that I delete before reading. They invite me to online live readings videoed performances live stream dance classes cooking shows and library debates I don’t even know anymore I don’t even care anymore what is it that we are trying to do anyway? I get emails that I send to a folder that is called “Creative maybes” but it’s where emails go to get buried in more emails and why haven’t I set a “vacation responder” that says, “Please don’t email me anything that you think might be “of interest” because I haven’t even spoken to my dearest friends in too long and I don’t care about your think-piece or your feelings about char.”

“between the kitchen and living room” by Sasha on the couch

Saturday, May 2, 2020
9:43pm
5 minutes
From a text

Turn the page and find colours there in the lines and the letters
Close eyes and taste the sweet kiss of possible
Laugh in the bathtub at the ladybug crawling towards towards towards
Lola is a kindred grace her discovery of the world the tonic of rainbow

I dance to the sound I hear when I think of you
Feel the rise and fall of body on whitewashed floors
Body to body your body in my hands your hands in my body
Close my eyes and remember through tongue and fingertip

Ouija board cloud game where the ghosts are back and rolling
Light show on the lawn like the good old days when farmers
Would gather for Canada Day roast up some hotdogs and pour beer
Into jars or even drink straight from the cold can

Hang their hats on the belief that they knew what was coming
Hold their children in the arms as the sky exploded in blaze

“The cost of rural housing” by Sasha in the trundle room

Friday, May 1, 2020
11:05am
5 minutes
Life After the City
Charles Long

So being here with the robins and the apple blossoms
the sloping fields and the red winged black birds

the swamp and the cedar forest and
the big chest freezer and the turning garden

I think about rural living and how good
it feels to wear the same fleecy six days in a row

And add a log to the wood stove
while the girls make a “show”

Wildflower heart blooms ripe
I catch my own eye while brushing my teeth

And see someone new
Someone who I didn’t know I needed

Didn’t know I missed

“Knock! Knock!” By Sasha in the bedroom

Thursday, April 30, 2020
11:30am
5 minutes
Villa Incognito
Tom Robbins

Minnie Gowan’s “Knock! Knock!” is out of a horror movie. At least that’s what Veronica thinks.

“Why don’t you just, like, actually knock on the door? Why do you yell that when you can just… knock?!” Veronica smiles at the end, to offset the tone.

“Turn the magnifying glass back on yourself, Vee,” Minnie stands with the fridge door open. “Where’s your orange juice?”

“Finished it this morning,” Veronica raps her knuckles on the table. Knocking on a door is way simpler than yelling. Maybe I do have control issues, she thinks.

“What other beverages do you even have?”

“Um… soda water? Actual water? Tea?” Veronica reminds herself why Minnie is here. To go through Penny’s things, to organize the paperwork for tax season, to help get things together.

“Hargrove was a stop on the greyhound route” by Sasha at the kitchen table

Wednesday April 29, 2020
5:12pm
5 minutes
Andy Catlett
Wendell Berry

It wasn’t going to be long before we were snaking through the mountain roads. It wasn’t going to be long before the Gravol would kick in and I’d be asleep while you sit beside me trying to resist squeezing my leg to see some amazing cliff drop or a baby bear or trees clear cut. I fucking hate the bus but it’s the only thing we can afford and your grandmother is sick and we’ve gotta get up to Qualimbrook. Your grandmother raised you so she’s really more like a mama to you and now that Nancy is back at work she doesn’t have anyone looking after her on the daily, or that’s how you put it. Hargrove is a stop along the way and you’ll wake me up to pee and get an ice cream sandwich. I fucking hate these small town stops where I can feel everyone staring, everyone judging, everything thinking that they are better.

“The summer wore on,” By Sasha at the kitchen table

Tuesday, April 28, 2020
9:37pm
5 minutes
The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate
Jacqueline Kelly

The summer stretched ahead of Bernadette like a desert. It made her mouth dry just thinking about it. She was supposed to work at the garden centre again, where she’d direct seniors towards dahlias and hanging pots and overpriced chicken poop and flirt with Charlie. She planted to earn twenty cents above minimum wage. She planned to have a good T-shirt tan by the end of August. Now, with the garden centre closed and no real job prospects aside from helping Pete with his filing (yawn), Bernadette felt like summer was an expanse of nothing in a way that she hadn’t since she was a kid and summer meant burning day camps and trying to amuse herself with popsicle sticks. She felt her stomach turn to porridge, and sink low. Did she need to go to the bathroom?

“Higher!” By Sasha at the kitchen table

Monday April 27, 2020
9:22pm
5 minutes
Higher Higher
Leslie Patticelli

When the sound of the rain is louder than the sound of your breath
In your own ear leaving you closer to where you thought the pepper might be
Sneeze up and sneeze down and dream of the world that might bloom from this strange chrysalis of change and quiet

Maybe the busiest of the busy with the lists that run out like toilet paper from the bottom of the fancyfancy shoes
Maybe these people will learn to breathe in one nostril and out the other
Sprout cucumbers and raspberries in small pots

Maybe the scared ones the ones who keep their doors double locked and would rather see their strange Auntie on Skype than at the tea shop
Will feel like they finally belong on the planet that never really told them that they were wanted and that they were precision and that they were free

“After I hung up on him” by Sasha in the bedroom

Sunday April 26, 2020
10:03pm
5 minutes
Facts About Dead Trees
Lisa Baird

I hung up the phone
Didn’t hang up on
But did hang up
Pressed the red button
Was something strange
in the static
in the quiet
in the pandemic
“what even is this anymore”?

I kicked a piece of gravel
called “Why?!”
to a turkey vulture
who glides where
perspective is silky
where I am the rightful size

The sun stoops
to touch my chest

Right in the rise
where love’s hand goes
Feeling breath
Feeling life
Feeling “yes”
and “no”

Hours turn to days
and the cedar forest turns
bark to promise

A promise of black flies
zucchini hot from the sun
The river rising and rushing

Guiding me back

“The internet traded my personality” by Sasha at the kitchen island

Saturday April 25, 2020
4:12pm
5 minutes
Vancouver for Beginners
Alex Leslie

What is the photograph on the chest of drawers in the bedroom? Is it your mother? Your mother’s mother? Your mother’s mother’s mother? These women all carried the seeds of you in them and that’s really all that matters. Cut-out dolls in different shaped dresses, similar shaped bodies, strange toes, ground molars. You’ll scan this photo one day, but for now it only exists in hard copy and there’s something about the impermanence of that that is bold. You’ve never known anyone who has had a fire, but the threat is there, especially now. I remember when you showed me around the house and I looked at the recipes on the fridge, opened the cupboards, tilted my head to read the titles of the book shelves.

“A man parted his beard” by Sasha in her bedroom

Friday April 24, 2020
11:11pm
5 minutes
Animal
Kim Goldberg

These days are liquid, aren’t they? Flowing downwards towards something but no one is really sure what. Are you craving more salt? Replenish those stores. Tired feet trudge and grudge towards something that is new, warm, unsure. What day is it? What time is it? I’m writing by the light of a small flashlight I found in a drawer that most certainly does not belong to me. I am a thief.

What have you stolen? What have you let go of? What have you vowed you’ll never tell anyone? What have you lost that you’re still trying to find, when you ball socks or fold T-shirts? When you organize books and batteries and ball-point pens?

“I had a voracious appetite” by Sasha at the kitchen table

Thursday April 23, 2020
9:43pm
5 minutes
You Never Stop Saving The World
Don English

She is a hungry one
opening the door
searching for something
she could sink her teeth into
let the juice dribble down
her chin land on her breasts
stain her shirt
lift the shirt to her lips
and suck

She wants every last drop

The insatiable
doubt
longing
lust
desire
ambition
ambivalence

She doesn’t overthink
not this one
she opens
the lower right crisper
removes a perfect pear

Bites

Then it’s a spoonful
the memory of her grandmother’s tiramisu
sneaking finger-fulls
from the covered bowl
hoping no one notices

Dipping a ladle into the pot
bubbling tomato sauce
pouring it into an espresso cup
drinking it down
tiny cup after tiny cup
grating fresh parmigiana
cracking black pepper

She is a hungry one
The best ones are
Know how to feast and feel
Relish and release

Know how to fill a freezer
blackberries when they are ripe
small jars of pesto
pizza and cookie dough

“Women who sit, unwashed” by Sasha at Knowlton Lake

Wednesday April 22, 2020
9:39pm
5 minutes
Do You Know Any Lazy Women?
Cynara Geissler

Dina sits, unwashed, at her kitchen table in her red terry cloth robe. It’s three in the afternoon. She spent the morning in the garden with her hands tickling worms and dandelion roots. She’s never had a garden before. She’s also never spent five weeks alone, untouched, unmarked by the whiskers of connection with her Mom and Dad, her best friend Dan, her neighbours Ellie and Mark. She decided she wanted to grow peas and lettuce, carrots and tomatoes. Start there. She sprouted things in little pots on her window sill before transferring them to the raised beds she built out of old wine boxes. She is not a handy person, or doesn’t consider herself to be one. Maybe she is. She built those beds and used drill and even got under her sink on her back, screwed and fiddled and fixed a leak. She took a shower after coming inside, watched the dirt circle down the drain.

“find the right question” by Sasha at Knowlton Lake

Tuesday April 21, 2020
7:36am
5 minutes
quoting Ann Hamilton

If there was any doubt
Things aren’t going back to normal
What was normal anyway?
Bits of hair in the hairbrush
A half rolled cigarette on the table
Wine in the cupboard above the sink
Wind in the veins

I am not going where I thought I was
Neither is he
Neither are you
The robin’s are here though
With their red bellies and worms in their beaks

I hear the same song in the stillness
The one where the start is small and the rise is like the rapids

Normal for me was the tea steeping in the morning and the little sticky fingers
Walking to the fruit market to get scallions cilantro and lime

Normal for me was the quiet ending to the day
Hands open lying face up
Counting blessings
Like stars

“As good as it will get” by Sasha at Knowlton Lake

Monday April 20, 2020
11:12am
5 minutes
Rainbow’s End
John Paul Lederach

You make a weird symbol with your hands and it’s not the first time and I have no idea what you’re doing or why. I wonder if this is proof. I wonder if this is the real sediment at the bottom of the jar, when left undisturbed it settles, but when moved at all it makes everything cloudy. The symbol is kind of like an L but also like a W and I think about all the words that start with L and end with W. LOW. I wish I didn’t care for you the way I do. Your strange freckles over the bridge of your nose. Your noisy belly gurgling when you’re hungry. The way you yawn.

“the great spiritual geniuses” by Sasha at Knowlton Lake

Tuesday April 14, 2020
5 minutes
8:03am
Quoting Maria Popova

This day
Your thirty first birthday
arrives in a strange time signature with notes you’ve never heard
let alone played.
This day
Your first birthday as a father Your first birthday holding a moon in your open outstretched palms Lifting her up
so she can see the world from
up above
perspective
play
passion
the cascade of giggles you incite in her is angel music
reading her the same books
over and over
bathing her strong body
singing her silly songs
knowing that she is
Unequivocally
the best art you’ll ever make
This day
Marking your precious wild heart Celebrating the you that you’ve been
the you that you are the you that you will be
These three men standing shoulder to shoulder These you’s that I have known
and do know
and will know

I would now say it’s obvious” by Sasha at Knowlton Lake

Saturday April 18, 2020
9:52pm
5 minutes
Quoting Ellen Davis

Hilary makes a list of her most burning questions. It’s long. Twelve pages. Double spaced on lined Hilroy paper. She hands it to her mother, whose full name she just learned is Wendy Julianne Renate Goldstein. She addresses it to her mother by this full name, unsure of how to spell “Renate”, spelling it “Renata” and then “Ranata” and then “Renate”. Hilary misses playing soccer with Archie and Luis, doing times tables with the whole class and seeing how Juan looks at Liza’s mouth to copy the numbers she’s saying. She misses the smell of Ms. Polly sharpening pencils. She misses the sound at recess, stopping in the centre of the school yard and letting all the rush happen around her, the frenetic joy of one hundred and twenty kids burning off their tuna sandwiches, their fruit roll ups, their leftover souvlaki, their orange wedges. The list is so long that I couldn’t possibly do it justice, but the questions that stand out to Wendy, the questions that Wendy will never forget and will tell to anyone who will listen sixty years from now are: “What is the weather?” “Why do we love?” “What do you hear when you die?”

“Perfection will do you in.” By Sasha at Knowlton Lake

Friday April 17, 2020
8:12am
5 minutes
Perfection, Perfection Father
Kilian McDonnell

I tell my father that I feel the bitterness of failure wrecking ball swinging on the end of a long line
I pace the gravel roads and tears fall onto my coat track marks bird songs the distant whine of an ATV
“I’m doing my best
I don’t know what else to do”
He reaches through the phone line to right where I am
Did you know that this is possible?
The way that I reach back in time
to when my parents’ marriage was ending here in these same ponds
letting go skidding across ice
heartbreak held in the tender privacy of trillium leaves of curling buds
I don’t remember hearing what they said
but I do remember watching them through a slender window
yelling on the small hill where the garden is
“I’m doing my best
I don’t know what else to do”
“One moment at a time”
My father says and he’s right and it’s true “Write down your dreams”
And I do and it’s the gospel of my wholeness “Turn to literature”
Mary Oliver and Rumi
bell hooks and Lorna Crozier

“in the dirt in the corner,” by Sasha at Knowlton Lake

Thursday April 16, 2020
10:01pm
5 minutes
Ara Poetica #100
Elizabeth Alexander

The lake glistens like she knows the secret of how to be flow and roll waves and sunlight and sleet and snow
Thaw and freeze and do it again
The lake kisses each morning like the sweetheart that it is cradles dawn and dusk in the belly of her flowing
Wax and wane and do it again
The lake remembers the scratch of the motor boat the fishing line
the garbage collecting in the corners
Grieve and release and do it again

“Voice and wisdom” by Sasha at Knowlton Lake

Monday April 13, 2020
2:45pm
5 minutes
Quoting Brene Brown

Who decides that it’s going to rain? All night and all day filling potholes with mud puddles and leaves with April’s tea. That night, a reprieve, finally at longest last, moths
flock to the light of the lamp in the window. Bodies like buds, wings like paper, flying in circles to be close to the bright. I don’t know the things I thought I knew
but I know how to care for my wonder, stroke
my breaking like the perfect head of my daughter,
know that this too is the point, this too
is as miraculous as the hummingbird against the azure sky.
Wisdom brings me good jokes and simple songs, thank goodness, I laugh out loud at the whirlpool of past and present here, in my hands, catching story, alchemizing cells to rain
to whatever coming next.

“Pink Pearl” by Sasha at Knowlton Lake

Sunday April 12, 2020
7:56pm
5 minutes
from the Dixon eraser

We go down to the Pink Pearl and Jerry tells me I can order whatever the fuck I want off the menu. It’s fancy, like napkin swans and all that, waiters in little asshole vests and ties. I didn’t ever go to a place like this before, right? I’m glad I’m wearing my nice shoes, like, my black work shoes and that I showered a few days ago. Nobody, and I mean nobody knows how Jerry got rich, but the guy has a lot of money, like, more than anyone I’ve ever rolled with before.

“Whatever the fuck I want, eh?” I say.

“The world is your fucking oyster, Kyle…” Jerry sucks on his teeth, like he does and my stomach, like, turns a bit, like, what does he want from me that he’s wining and dining me? But I’m gonna go to fucking town. It’s not every day a guy like me ends up in a place like that.

“you find solace here” by Sasha at Knowlton Lake

Saturday April 11, 2020
9:31pm
5 minutes
From Julia’s 2017 notebook

Oh the tiny mittens in the round rooster bowl on the table. The wind curling through branches with long fingers. I wonder what you sound like when you sleep? What you taste like in the morning, dreams still wet in the corners of your eyes, lips pursed and searching. I wonder if you know what’s happening over here, in this forest tranquility, in this strange madhouse of sunrise and sunset, of oatmeal and salt water, of baths and nightmares. The world cracks open, spills her yolk, makes our hearts sticky. The phoebes will nest soon. I wonder if you look up at the stars and feel the shell, feel the longing, feel the possible? I lay on my back on the deck, felt the circular cascade of constellations, felt my breath in my back, in my tired electric body, in my small house. It’s funny, the moments when my mind turns a page and it’s you there.

“Let’s find out” by Sasha at Knowlton Lake

Friday April 10, 2020
9:40am
5 minutes
From an email

Do you like to know what’s coming?
I do. I like to know what the shape of the horizon will be on the dewy morning’s crest.
I like to know what time you will be home
and what you might like to have for lunch.
I like to know that the weight in my cheeks, chestnuts of growing, will keep me fed
through the thunderstorm and scything.
The water here tastes silky and wise.
Walk down to the lake and house secret
in the veins of my boot bottoms.
Death tolls rising. The virus has reached
an Indigenous tribe in Brazil, did you hear? Raise stakes around hope like tomato plants. Edges for the vines to hold on to.
For your safety, make your anthem
“The only constant is change,” sung
full voice into the beaver ponds, full voice etching the bark of the ash.

“I have to give people credit” By Sasha at Knowlton Lake

Wednesday April 8, 2020
11:09am
5 minutes
from a Facebook Post

I give Jimmy more credit than he deserves, that’s the real truth. How many time does a person have to fuck things up before I get it – THEY are a FUCK UP! I’m just being honest. Don’t look at me like that. The guy is kind, yes, I mean he does his best to be a nice guy. But with an upbringing like that – … Sheesh… I mean, he wasn’t treated nicely by his family at all. He was born from an affair, did you know that? Like, his Dad isn’t actually his Dad? Maybe that’s not politically correct? Like, his Dad is his adopted Dad… Yeah, I think that’s better. He was pretty outcast, but then when he turned seventeen he got strangely hot and everyone turned nice. That fucks a person up. To be treated one way their whole life and then BAM! You change, physically, only physically, and everyone treats you differently? Shows you how fucking shallow the world is, right?

“at least don’t hate them” by Sasha at Knowlton Lake

Tuesday April 7, 2020
9:04am
5 minutes
quoted by Dunya Mikhail

I wonder why I always want more
than I can get. I revisit the charts again
and again, screenshotted on my stupid phone.
I find the words amongst the videos of rain, of Lola walking, of bird calls.

I zoom in on Pluto this and what she needs from a mate is support
I’ve committed certain lines to memory now, a tattoo on the back of my eyelids.
Close them and dream close them and become
close them and feel what is true.

The wind outside is gusting
the house yawns in response. I curl my toes
underneath my body and feel inside my teeth.

There’s a neediness.
Oh yes welcome that need and find the way
to spin it to gold fleece
Wear it as a glittering sweater
Feel how it keeps me warm

“Until we accept the fact” by Sasha at Knowlton Lake

Saturday April 4, 2020
11:09pm
5 minutes
Quoted by Henry Miller

The spring peepers are out, all talking on top of each other. When I gave the lake my salty water this morning she barely noticed. Hands and knees muddy, I saw a dead frog trapped under a rock, belly up. I can’t stop writing about what is here, now. I pick up board books from the floor, sweep up a stray pea and some dust bunnies, a piece of park. The owl was calling last night, big round voice, reaching way back to someplace ancient and warm. My jaw is tight. I’ve been clenching again. I open my mouth wide, relief, I yawn. I tap the tune of something with my socked toe. I watch the sky turn from grey to grey to a streak of light at the horizon, interrupting the trees. My eyes go to the light. I run my finger through the crooked candle. The cavern of the unknown gaping wide. One step. Another step. Another and then another. “Isolation might be until the end of the year they’re saying,” my throat catches. “Until they find a vaccine…” I count the months on my fingers – April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December. Nine months. Gestation. Oh my God.

“Who win” by Sasha at Knowlton Lake

Thursday April 2, 2020
5 minutes
9:59pm
To fight aloud, is very brave
Emily Dickinson

Contradiction contraptions, that’s what we are really. Yeah, okay, sinew and bone, guts and thoughts, science and stories, paradox, paranoia, precipitation, pragmatism. Contradiction though, through lungs, longing, losing, loving, laziness, lamentations, leaping, lachrymose and luminous. How can I be this big and this puny all at once? How is it that I can feel chest splitting expansiveness at the exact same moment as my clavicles cave,, shoulders slump, and the lump in my throat baloons seven sizes?

The double-tonguing tonic of a fast talking lover juxtaposed by the doldrum pace of booted feet walking in mud. A global pandemic now, right now, this very second, while a shooting star falls in through the window and lands on my lips?

“I peel carrots and potatoes” by Sasha at Knowlton Lake

Wednesday April 1, 2020
11:11am
5 minutes
Ordinary Life
Barbara Crooker

I don’t peel carrots or potatoes. My mother taught me to leave the skin on.
Adds nutrients, or something like that. I scrub them, usually,
especially now. I use my fingers to pick off the nubby bits, to pop off
the spindly bottoms of the carrots, mouse tails, curly innocents.

I spend twenty minutes gazing up at a big red-headed
woodpecker working the side of a tree. Lola is asleep
in the carrier, a gentle wheeze from her snotty nose, her eyelashes
diving boards. I didn’t dress warm enough. I should’ve worn a sweater
over my plaid flannel, should’ve worn my winter jacket instead of this old raincoat from when I was a teenager canoeing the Spanish River.

I know something is very much wrong when I don’t know what to make
for dinner. “What do you feel like?” I ask Nadeem, as Lola tries to put
beams of sun in her mouth, tilting her head back like she does when
I pour water from a bowl in the bath and she tries to catch it, little bird
with a fountain worm. “Whatever you feel like making,” he says,
and I roll my eyes. The lake is completely thawed now.

“He can fix anything” by Sasha at Knowlton Lake

Tuesday March 31, 2020
9:37pm
5 minutes
Easter Morning
Jim Harrison

You strike me as the kind of person who can fix anything
Who knows how to wire a telephone jack and level a table
Someone who could look at a hanging shelf in the box
On the floor
And know how to
Get it up on the wall
Without too much sweat or stress or swear words

If the toilet were to become leaky
I imagine that you would jingle thingle this
And wiggle spaggle that and
The leak would be gone
The flush would be full throttle
All would be well again
In the world of whisking away waste
What we do not want to see
What we’d rather be gone

I’d call Lou when I couldn’t get my
Backup hard drive to listen to my computer
He walked me through that whole
Ring-a-round-the-Rosie
Several times
Always patient
Always steady
I’d feel a bit badly to be troubling him
But also a bit good to have a reason
To need him
To need his expertise
To need his help

When he was in Palliative Care
He called me once
Very late at night
Late for me
And that was with the three hour time difference
Ahead in Vancouver
He told me about a piece of music
He’d been listening to
I wish I remembered what it was
I’d listen to it now
How he was waiting on tracks to be mixed
For his album
He told me that he was tired
And laughed when I told him
“I love you”

“Catfish Lane” by Sasha at Knowlton Lake

Monday March 30, 2020
11:10am
5 minutes
The Cure
Ginger Andrews

The house at the end of Catfish Lane is painted blue and has shingles that need replacing. It was built in 1937 by a man named Gerald, who cried into the floorboards, putting his broken heart into every nail and beam. By the time the house was done, Gerald’s heart was almost completely mended. Almost, because broken hearts don’t ever completely heal. A little crack remains, where good, warm things might grow if we let them. Many of the other houses on the street have been replaced, renovated, remodelled, but this one, number 9, is exactly as Gerald built it. Only the kitchen cabinets have been replaced. The owner before last replaced the one’s that Gerald built. The knobs are round and the tracks smooth. The drawers open and close with ease. Mandy and Simone bought the house this past week, and as excited first home owners, go into the library and research the history of the place. The photographs in the library show Gerald, standing beside the newly built house. He isn’t smiling, but he isn’t not smiling.

“That’s what I like about disappointment:” by Sasha at Knowlton Lake

Sunday March 29, 2020
7:21pm
5 minutes
Disappointment
Tony Hoagland

I thumb the disappointments
One after another
Colourful beads on a piece of long fishing line
Sturdy but transluscent
Ends held together by a knot

Thumb catches on the recent additions
A red glass sphere
I should’ve added more salt to the bread
A small blue bead for yesterday’s neglectful lateness
A small wooden bead for today’s dismissive shrug
Puny injustice sails between cell towers
I lift my hand high up and wave
Trying to find a signal

A big oblong dark bead is heavy
The anchor
All the times I’ve betrayed myself by
accommodating
By not speaking what is true
By making myself small
Contained within the small purple flowers
Hand painted by someone a long time ago

Who also has a circle of disappointments

You do
And you do
And you do too

How you carry yours might differ
Or when you put it down
Put it in a nightstand drawer
For a better sleep
Or rushed sex

Put it under an oak tree
To rest in the sun

“You wish you were in the woods” by Sasha at Knowlton Lake

Saturday March 28, 2020
9:02am
5 minutes
To A Frustrated Poet
R.J. Ellmann

The scrabble board spells
M-O-P-E
W-A-D-E
R-I-F-T-S
I scan through the years of scoresheets
Kept in the bottom of the scrabble box

And find the ones of yours and Mom’s
The intimacy of your handwriting
Penmanship says so much about who we are
Your nicknames
How you won

In four days it will have been a year
Of missing you
Of thinking that you’ll be there when
We visit Bowmore
In your cardigan and your socks
Patting down the stairs to say
Hello

In four days it will have been a whole year
Of you being gone

Death is a strange seed planted
Growing
Waiting sometimes
But growing
Inevitability reaching towards unknown

I miss the sound of your voice
The sharpness of your edge
The wisdom that would crawl between the cracks
A surprise that I learned to appreciate
Inwardly

I knew when I was saying goodbye
That I wouldn’t see you alive again
But you held on to the hope
That
I imagine
Buoyed you in those last weeks
Hope like a balloon
Hope carrying you by an orange string
Across the Don Valley

“The golden brooch” by Sasha at Knowlton Lake

Friday March 27, 2020
10:31am
5 minutes
The courage that my mother had
Edna St. Vincent Millay

Felicia doesn’t want anything that belongs to her Abuela becuase she refuses to believe that she’s actually going anywhere. She rolls her eyes at Mama and Tita Hulia making charts on graph paper about who gets what and bickering over what things are worth and what is “fair”. Nothing is fucking fair, Felicia thinks, lying face down on Abuela’s bright, woven living room rug. Abuela is the woman who gets her hair done every week, who has her long fingernails painted coral or light pink, depending on the season. She has always been perfectly curvaceous, with dark eyebrows like awnings protecting her grey and glistening eyes. Felicia yawns and feels the anchor of grief in her belly, pulling her down, pulling her into the rug, then the floorboards, then the basement, the foundation, the cool earth. “Fefe!” Mama calls from the next room. “What?” Felicia doesn’t want to consult about sweaters or wall hangings or rosaries. “Do you want this?” Mama is right there, standing over her, holding Abuela’s gold brooch, the one that she got from her Abuela on her eighteenth birthday.

“August is coming” by Sasha at Knowlton Lake

Thursday March 26, 2020
5:09pm
5 minutes
Any prince to any princess
Adrian Henri

Thank you for telling me that summer will come again, the nasturtium will bloom vibrant and sassy, and the buds on the trees just ripening now, will flower into the green newness of hope. Thank you for sending me links to what you’re making, alone in dug out earth foundation, where you cook and dance, film and cry. Thank you for remembering that there is nothing more sacred than friendship and “I love you”. Thank you for the million hours of trudgery, practise, remembering, fucking up. Thank you for seeing the truth of me all those years ago, and knowing a kinded heart and following it towards the midnight and the dawn.

“We want the suns and moons” by Sasha at Knowlton Lake

Wednesday March 25, 2020
6:48pm
5 minutes
A Physics
Heather McHugh

The woods are still. No grouse raising leaves. No wind through the branches. The quiet of magic hour sends a quake of loneliness through my core. The house is warm and there’s no reason to have chattering teeth. There is not distraction here in the way that there is with a wifi signal and a bus revving past and people a straightforward phone call away. I breathe. I uncross my legs to feel my feet on the wood floor. I’m sorry if this is boring. I’m sorry if you came here for escape and what you’ve found is more of the same. What you’ve found is yourself. I’m sorry if you were hoping for something more interesting, less mundane, more exhilarating, less quiet and sad. The fridge hums. The sunset paints an orange stripe at the horizon, growing more and more vibrant by the second.

“They’ll be able to describe it” by Sasha at Knowlton Lake

Tuesday March 24, 2020
10:49pm
5 minutes
Teaching a Child the Art of Confession
David Shumate

We will be able to describe these strange limbo weeks
one day
In the future
When things are (aren’t) back to normal

My father says that the data shows that after a big event
People want things to return to how they were
They don’t want change
They want their coffee back
Their subway to the office back
Their Tuesday game night back

On the radio today
The broadcaster says that the funeral homes in Italy
Can’t keep up with the bodies
They are sending them to an ice rink
I gasp
No one can gather to mourn
so priests are holding rites online
But many seniors don’t have the Internet

From the corner of the back deck where I get reception
I speak to my sister
A world away
Three hours away
In the city

She says that they’ve run out of some fruit
some greens
And won’t be able to get stuff delivered until Friday

I make a mental note to update our inventory spreadsheet
Today we ate four eggs
Kale stalks
Green onions
Cilantro
Three pieces of bread
Avocado
Millet
Corn
One can of black beans
Dried mango
I must be forgetting something

The call keeps cutting out so I find myself
shouting into the melting birch forest
“I can’t stop thinking about that the babies and kids are safe!”
Something barks or howls in the distance
I turn around to look

“The deal is struck” by Sasha at Knowlton Lake

Monday March 23, 2020
5:09pm
5 minutes
Seven Deadly Sins
Virginia Hamilton Adair

We strike a deal on Monday morning but then the world explodes with pandemic bullshit and everything halts. I hadn’t signed the papers. Pete hadn’t even received his contract. Kim is waiting for the lawyers to call, but they don’t becuase one of the mailroom guys is quarantined after visiting their family in Iran and has symptoms so now everyone has to go home, the whole office has to shut down. I can’t fucking believe that last week we were having wings and beer, and now Penelope won’t even come over for a quickie becuase of “social distancing”. How the fuck am I going to survive this madness? I haven’t spent twenty four hours alone in I can’t remember how long. The gym is closed. The gym! People need to buck up and stop being so afraid. Pete said that if we got it, the virus, that we would probably be totally fine. It’s the old folks who are the most fucked right now… Shit, I mean, what about Mom and Bruce? Shit! I should call Mom back. Shit… she has asthma, and Bruce has to go to the hospital for chemo… Fuck! I gotta…

“A marriage is risky business these days” by Sasha at Knowlton Lake

Sunday March 22, 2020
10:03am
5 minutes
Wedding Poem for Schele and Phil
Bill Holm

Language is alive and that’s one of the many reasons language is one of the loves of my life. The definition of a great many words has changed, personally and politically, over the course of the last year, the last month, the last few days. Language becomes the beaded rosary tossed from one house to the next with a, “Hello!” Or Matt Galloway on the radio. I am smitten with the way words look and taste and feel. I especially love the word “yes”, the word “birch”, the word “you”. If you (mmm), dear reader, come here often, you know the most beloved words because you see how I overuse them, how I lean on them, walking stick beauties, how I should think wider to catch different words in my net, but I’m not in a place to use bigger and different, I’m in a place to use familiar and cozy and known.

“No tit to pull” by Sasha at Knowlton Lake

Saturday March 21, 2020
8:38am
5 minutes
Carnation Milk
Anonymous

My tits are tired and grouchy

A blister beginning on the right nipple

I take a sharp inhale when Lola latches

And think about how pain is relative

Pain is universal

Pain is the slice on my pinky by the black knife 

I didn’t realize was so sharp

Pain is the ache of longing felt in my marrow

Dull and then swollen

Dull again and then deafening

 

My hands are dry and gaunt 

Nails longer than I like

CBC radio tells us about almost eight hundred deaths

In Italy where they can’t keep up

A new lexicon has begun

Contamination

Exposure

Did you wash your hands when you…?

Did you sanitize the bottom of the little shoes?

Did you wipe the outside of the bag of oats?

 

Social distancing makes the need for social media real

All the single people in basement apartments

All the seniors with their doors closed and blinds drawn

Wishing a bird might sit on the tree outside and sing Frank Sinatra 

All the families driving one another crazy

But at least they’ve got company in these days that are both so long

And so short blurring and cross fading one to the next

Cook eat play nap cook eat play nap cook eat play goodnight song

 

When this is all over

Let’s have a parade for the postal workers

The researchers

The grocery store stockers and cashiers

And hospital janitors

The nurses coming out of retirement

The neighbours buying extra cartons of eggs for the old man in number seventy

Whose wife died six weeks ago and whose family is in Portugal 

“The spring is compressed” by Sasha at Knowlton Lake

Friday March 20, 2020
10:08pm
5 minutes
A Brief Lecture on Door Closers
Clemens Starck

The spring is coming
This is optimism in the shape of buds on the pinky’s of trees
temptation of the thaw in my chest as I flirt with a step on yawning ice

The pussywillows sway as the phoebes sing
Sun speaking a brave prayer as she opens her mouth wide
This is the light that encircles us all

I unpack weeks worth of groceries into the droning fridge
Spinach and oranges
Apples and cheddar cheese
Bread and half a mango
Tofu and a jar of red lentil soup from the freezer back home

Nadeem starts a fire in the wood stove
The roar catching in my heart as it lets down
As it feels the quiet in ventricles and chasms

Mom sent an email about ticks
And how we shouldn’t go walking in the woods or let
Lola crawl in the tall grass 

Especially as it gets warmer
Trading vigilances
Swapping one worry for another

This is the light that encircles us all

“FEEL YOUR FACE” By Sasha on her living room floor

Thursday, March 19, 2020
7:02am
5 minutes
Burma-Shave
Traditional poem

FEEL YOUR FACE

(AFTER WASHING YOUR HANDS)
THE FACE THAT YOU’VE ALWAYS HAD
AND WILL ALWAYS HAVE
LOVE THIS FACE THAT TELLS THE WORLD
WHO YOU ARE
USE YOUR FINGERTIPS TO FALL IN LOVE
WITH YOURSELF
THE WAY THAT YOU CARESS

A LOVER
OR A CHILD

THE TENDERNESS

THE PASSION
THE ADORATION
THE UNCONDITIONAL
I LOVE YOU NO MATTER WHAT
SAY THIS OUT LOUD
I LOVE YOU NO MATTER
STRAY HAIR
WRINKLE LINE
FRECKLE
PIMPLE
I LOVE YOU FOR WHO YOU ARE
NOT WHAT YOU ARE
CAPITALISM TELLS US NOT TO LOVE OURSELVES
JOKE IS ON THE MARKET
CRASHING LIKE A WAVE
JOKE IS ON US ALL
WHEN LEFT ALONE WITH OURSELVES
DO WE LOVE
DO WE LOATHE
DO WE LASH OUT
DO WE LAUGH
DO WE REMEMBER THAT THE ONLY
THING WE CAN REALLY COUNT ON
IS THIS MOMENT
AND THEN
THIS ONE
TOUCH YOUR FACE
(AFTER WASHING YOUR HANDS)
AND THANK YOUR FACE FOR HOW SHE’S
KNOWN WHAT YOU NEED AND TOLD OTHER’S
SOMETIMES WHEN THE WORDS WEREN’T THERE
THANK YOUR FACE FOR HER CROOKED NOSE
HER BRAVENESS
HER FULLNESS
HER HERNESS

“I would have missed so many smells” By Sasha at her kitchen table

Wednesday, March 18, 2020
6:10pm
5 minutes
Ode to My 1977 Toyota
Barbara Hamby

I imagine that more poetry is being read aloud
and more people are saying “I love you”
More baths are being run
and shared
More parents are playing with their kids
actually playing
getting down on the floor and being alligators and fairies and brave

They say that the canals in Venice are crystal clear
and deer are walking the streets of Tokyo

In the breaking down of everything we know
something new
a shoot of green from frozen ground
a smile with a neighbour who I’ve walked past many times
my baby sleeping tucked in my coat
her baby sleeping tucked in hers

I listen to the sound of my heartbeat
the sound of my husband talking on the phone

the sound of my father’s footsteps walking up the stairs
the sound of my neighbour on her porch smoking a cigarette
the sound of the bus accelerating up the street
heartbeat these sounds
their own rhythm of here
now

I imagine that more bread is being baked
more songs are being sung along to
more phone calls are being made to grandparents
and long lost siblings and friends who felt a bit forgotten

“Permit me to add my first” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Tuesday March 17, 2020
11:32pm
5 minutes
Old French Fairy Tales
Sophie, Comtesse de Ségur

Today while walking, and trying to keep a six foot distance between myself and all others, what a strange game to play at nine thirty in the morning, speeding up and slowing down to match the jogger in red sweatpants, the stroller mom, the UPS guy… today while walking, I was thinking about what this all means to animals, like, are any wolves getting sick? Are seals barking warnings across waterways? Are the robins who suddenly seem to have descended upon the front yards of the neighbourhood here to whisper to the worms, “Watch out!” And the pangolins, oh the pangolins… are they riddled with guilt, whispering bedtime stories to their tiny children while wiping tears? Maybe these creatures couldn’t care less and are sighing relief that we finally have something to slow us down and make us quiet.

“Souvenir, n. Memento.” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Monday March 16, 2020
10:40pm
5 minutes
A New Primary Dictionary if The English Language
Joseph E. Worcester

I hope I’m sketched in your mind with my head thrown back in laughter
Mouth wide and slightly crooked bottom teeth peeking out as they do
As we do
My fingers circle the ring circle the circle
My commitment to myself to
Always be true
Always be kind
Always be free

A different marriage
Always
What a big word for someone who hasn’t been here that long

That’s what I say to strangers when they comment on
my little girl’s staring
”She’s new here! She’s just figuring stuff out!”
Try to keep it light
but when they ask her to smile
I snarl
smile

I say
”She’s feeling how she’s feeling and I guess she doesn’t
feel like smiling”

Why
are we telling baby girls to smile
Smile
Who cares what you’re actually feeling
Just
Smile
It feels better for me if you’re smiling

“You will be very welcome” by Sasha on the comfy chair

Sunday March 15, 2020
1:43pm
5 minutes
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
L. Frank Baum

You will take yourself to the quiet of the centre of the forest.
You will tell yourself that you’re sorry for all the times you betrayed the quiet knowing in the space below your heart, the space around your heart, the pearl in the cavern of your heart.
You will drink from the well where your mother drank when she was ripping stickers from the life she thought she’d sewed. We never know. We really never know.

You will wait for dusk and greet him with a kiss.
You will paint your face with the colours of the sunset, relish in the dusty pink and cool grey.
Wink the happy birthday song, even though it isn’t your birthday, but it will be, and why not.

“but what disturbed that idea” by Sasha on her couch

Saturday March 14, 2020
3:02pm
5 minutes
The War of the Worlds
H. G. Wells

It’s my first time ringing the bell and Marla makes a silly face and Goddamnit I hope I don’t laugh. Don’t laugh! Don’t laugh! DON’T LAUGH! But you say this enough, and you say it with an Irish accent, and then of course… you laugh. Shit. I want to ring the bell all serious and true and committed and professional, like I really am the grown up that has a job that pays seventeen dollars an hour (WHEEEE!) and where there are incentives and bells get rung and goals get achieved. Don’t laugh! Shit. Marla will be the death of me. I wonder what the spot behind her right ear smells like. I wonder what she wears to bed. I wonder what she eats when no one is looking and how she does it, like, does she use her finger, or a sharp knife?

“Sap moves in the veins” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Friday March 13, 2020
1:40pm
5 minutes
The Day Dream
Nora Acheson

Sap moves in the veins of the maple tree
weaving liquid to gold
Sit it on the stove for long hours
Sing songs in the sugar shack to make the brew thick
I want to know her in ways that she only knows a sister
I want to taste the sweet of the secrets she keeps between her lips
I’m sorry that I never told you so very many things
Dragging cheeks across the stream
Making a party in the forest because
Who knows how long any of us

Has left

“I knew I should meet you here” by Sasha in her bathroom

Thursday March 12, 2020
11:09pm
5 minutes
War and Peace
Leo Tolstoy

I knew that something was wrong when there was silence
like after an explosion or in the very middle of the night

I had bought dark chocolate and organic wine
rolled a beeswax candle and brushed my hair

The lightness of excitement eclipsing the pandemic
A tall order really but it did and that’s just fucking true

We sit in your car and cradle faces
crescent moons

We walk through earth that was muddy yesterday
but is cold today

We speak in lurches and tethered torment
teeth tipping and topping

towards a way through
crash laughter I can’t help it

I often can’t find words in your physical presence
where do they run to?!

Eloquence is something I think I have in my palm at all times
but all I had then was the piece of jade

I’d tucked in my pocket
Tiny protector

Bringer of soothing and harmony
I hope it’s in your pocket now

“Supposing the force of gravity in any similar medium” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Wednesday March 11, 2020
10:35am
5 minutes
Newton’s Principia: The Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy
Sir Isaac Newton

The force of two hands pushing against each other
the friction of opposing desires colliding in the space between voices
shouting
The quiet of lust
The staccato of fear as it snakes and shimmies through the waterways
of the city
the country
the continent
the world

A daffodil sits on my kitchen table having opened overnight
How did she do it?
The light through the stained glass window
Lola eating a circle of banana
and then scrunching her nose as she smiles
Salve on my scared heart

What does your scared heart
tell you as you wash your hands?
Those twenty seconds of suds and warmth
a chasm between the possible panic
or possible breath
or possible love sent out to
the lonely
the vulnerable
the sick
the grieving
the ones who plug their ears and
pop their bottles

My scared heart tells me that
this is a time for slowing down
For phone calls and hot baths
and warm water in blue mugs

My scared heart tells me
it was only a matter of time
It is only a matter of time

 

“On the dank and dirty ground.” By Sasha at her kitchen table

Tuesday March 10, 2020
3:51pm
5 minutes
A Midsummer Night’s Dream

William Shakespeare

On the dank and dirty ground, you see a shiny penny. You pick it up. You turn it over and over in your hand. You’ve heard stories about these copper discs, how they were once used to buy things like candy and newspapers. Your father was once standing on a crowded subway platform and he looked up, smiling, thinking of a funny video he’d seen earlier that day, shared with him by you, of all people, and someone else on that crowded subway platform had decided to throw a penny in the air, and it hit your father right on his left front tooth and that tooth chipped, the small bony piece flying up and then down, never to be seen again. You love your father’s strange tooth, now mended, but the shadow of the crack visible in bright light.

“The king’s daughter” by Sasha on her couch

Monday March 9, 2020
10:05pm
5 minutes
The Frog Prince
Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm

She is not proud of her hot temper. How quickly the temperature rises in her cheeks, her forehead, her scalp, her hair tips, til she is blazing and burning and the heat is worst for her, scalding tongue. She is not sure if she’s cut out for this kind of constant tilling and teasing and translucency. What about the cold plunge pool to bring her back to equilibrium? Ha-ha-ha-ha-Ha. She avoids ice like the bullshit it is. Ha-ha-ha. Please keep your opinions to yourself unless they are invited to breakfast (which they won’t be), unless they receive an invite with a clear RSVP deadline. When she’s raging she is the big hippopotamus. When she’s standing she feels the lava at the very belly of the earth. No amount of gratitude or breath or orgasm can possibly change the hot hot heat burn temper of this woman.

“And when I thirsted” By Sasha in the comfy chair

Sunday March 8, 2020
10:07pm
5 minutes
Lines
Maria A. Brooks

You have changed my relationship to time
Before you the weeks whizzed by like wild horses
manes a mess of brown and white

Here and then the next thing I know
I’m looking over my shoulder
wondering how the earthquake happened

Some days there is a slow sullen trudging
one foot and then the other towards another day
that is both closer and further away

Thirsting for a bite or a drink or a look
Heart beat a great many hooves running
towards the sunrise sky a pink explosion

Doubt sneaks in only when I let her
When I’m not paying attention
Losing myself in the imaginings of the next time

Faith carries a basket of citrus and daffodils
offers me a juicy section of orange
A yellow bloom

“It is never too late” by Sasha on her living room floor

Saturday March 7, 2020
7:40am
5 minutes
Quote by George Elliot

It is never too late to change your mind
I write this in the bottom margin of my journal page
over and over again
a call to myself from a pay phone on the side of a
strange highway
driving fast
the trees turn into a thick brush painting

day after day I write

It is never too late to change your mind

and sometimes I think that I’m not writing
it for myself or
I’m not only writing it for myself

I’m writing it for you

like drawing a hot bath
dripping in six drops of eucalyptus
three drops of lavender
a quarter cup epsom salts
the perfect gift

My horoscope said to write it all down
if I want it to happen

That’s what I do here

Write and share and
wonder what dear heart
might be reading
these tired words
these lazy wonderings
these pen carvings
fingertip songs

It is never too late to change your mind