“a long, slow, squirmy moment for both of us.” By Sasha on her couch

Friday March 15, 2019
11:09am
5 minutes
Orange is The New Black
Piper Kerman

In the middle of the night
I’m listening to your rise and fall,
A breath I know by heart, tracing
the outline of your dreaming,
a sound in which magic thrives, a place
where the edges are soft, and there’s
good listening.

I walk to the bathroom, holding
my heavy belly in both my hands, tracking
the street lamp light with half-open eyes.

We found each other again in the tangle
of bed sheets and tongues, discovering
how to do this in all the Pisces
fullness. It’s taken patience.
It always does.

Back in bed I try to fall back to sleep,
turning from one side to the other, a pillow
between my leg, a pillow
where you were.

I write poems to our daughter
in the air with my pointer finger,
my counting sheep.

“with some bullshit approach” by Sasha on her couch

Wednesday March 13, 2019
5:47pm
5 minutes
Created By
Richard Christian Matheson

What scares us fascinates us
Oh such delicate creatures
The news is a fear machine

We glue our eyeballs to our
tiny screens and scroll
The extinctions
The exhaustions
The exhuming
The extreme

Risk and learn
Power off the empathy
because the heart can’t

bear all the hurting

Everything we do
impacts who we are
who our children are
who our parents are

We do everything in connection
Multiplicity
There isn’t organization in the chaos

Turn off the light when
you leave the room
Turn off the tap while brushing teeth
Say

Thank you

“This song.” By Sasha at her kitchen table

Monday March 11, 2019
10:08am
5 minutes
Freedomland
Richard Price

We go for nachos before the breastfeeding class. I’m proud of myself for remembering that I should put the seatbelt under my belly, not across. I don’t spend very much time in cars anymore. We order the ones with smoked tofu, corn, pickled onions. We add guacamole, obviously. A good order of nachos feels like you’ve barely made a dent when you’re already starting to get full, and that happens, and I like it. We pack up the leftovers, pay the bill, and I go to the washroom. When I come out, our song is playing. I watch you as you put on your coat and hat, this being who I know so well, who is still such a profound mystery. I am transported back to our wedding day, swaying and twirling in your arms in the middle of a circle of so many that we love.

“no matter how uncomfortable staying has become.” By Sasha in her bed

Sunday March 10, 2019
4:07pm
5 minutes
Devil With a Briefcase
Jan Janzen

You finally know what it is that you need to do
Now it’s just a matter of cracking open the outer shell
Scrambling yourself
Daring to be reborn

You sit with what it is that you need to do
for many long weeks
Sunday to Monday feeling like Winter to Fall
Time is a strange charade

A Sunday in March you dream about flying
your wings are the colour of the future
You can’t put your finger on the truth on your lips
but it’s there and it’s ready

You thought that staying with yourself
in all your stunning wretched you-ness
was just the practise of being alive
But it’s not and you’re not and now you’re

Pushing your fingers through the first bit of light

“You must unlearn the habit of being someone else” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Saturday March 9, 2019
8:14pm
5 minutes
A quote from Herman Hesse

We are all just doing the best we can right? Or, maybe not all of us, but most of us are. When I meet you, you are charcoal fingertips and over-steeped green tea. That was a long time ago. I know that I want to be someone like you, but not quite you, a little less smoky, a little less bitter. You are looking for salvation, or at least a good kisser. I am looking for someone who can teach me about caring less what people think. That was a long time ago. My breath catches when I realize that we’re drifting, that we’re changing, that we’re leaning away. I’ll keep this my secret until you find it, in the front pocket of your red suitcase, or underneath the stairs.

“**NEW CLIENT TO DAZZLE!**” by Sasha on her couch

Friday March 8, 2019
5:02pm
5 minutes
From Nannies On Call

Hi Rebecca. Good morning. How are you? Nice cardigan. That’s your colour. You must be a True Winter… Are you? Those colour wheels? Do you want Miranda to get you a matcha or something? Okay… okay, so… Okay Rebecca, there’s a new client coming in today and it’s your moment. Stan brought them in, but he’s swamped and we talked and we think that it’s your moment. I know you’ve been here six months and we haven’t really given you the responsibility that you were hoping for. I heard a bit from Janice that you were worried? We like to take our time and really hand select the first big pitch someone does, right? And… the time has come, Rebecca. Are you ready to dazzle?

“Roads here are nuts.” By Sasha at her desk

Thursday March 7, 2019
5:40pm
5 minutes
From a text message

The cedars are telling me how
Step slow
Listen
Trust the roots

Moss on the undergrowth
Step slow
Eyelashes wet from dawn
Quiet like the beginning
and the end

In through the nose
and out through the mouth
Faith in the one foot
in front of the other

Surrender in the new
in the trusting
in the perfect
curve of the reach
of the fern

Rumi writes of the field
and it’s where I’m
going

I’ll meet you there

“There are certain cautions” by Sasha on her couch

Wednesday March 6, 2019
7:11am
5 minutes
Prescription for Nutritional Healing
Phyllis A. Baluch, CNC

Look before crossing the road. Wear a bike helmet. Go to the doctor if something is up. Don’t read texts while walking. Buckle your seatbelt. Try your best to have some savings. Have a good handful of friends you can really count on. Write down the birthdays of people that matter. Eat green vegetables. Learn the times tables and learn them well the first time. Organize receipts. Listen to the signs. Renew your passport.

“scratched plastic Fisher Price drum set” by Sasha at her desk

Saturday March 2, 2019
9:14am
5 minutes
(Lady)bug
Ilyssa Goldsmith

Toys piled high in the corner
Stuffed rabbits and beanie bottomed bears
Cabbage patch kid with freckles and red hair
Plastic kitchen utensils and bowls
cutlery and plates
have been in many small mouths
many small hands
Scratched Fisher Price drum set

Moira doesn’t care to move things
out now that the kids don’t play
with this stuff anymore
She holds on
As we all do
She imagines the sound of the play
of them when they were smaller
when they weren’t rushing in and out

“Why don’t you get rid of this stuff, Mom?”
Angela says with furrowed brow
Too much lip gloss
“I will one day,” Moira
kisses the top of her daughter’s head
remembers when it smelled like Cheerios

“breaks the silence” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Friday March 1, 2019
11:02pm
5 minutes
The First Treatise
Yara Farran

Sat by his bedside
day after day
The Don River moving
outside the floor
to ceiling windows
winter holds on
like holds on
How can we let go?

You astound me with
the openness of your heart
how it can break and bear
the greatest weight at the
same time
How you are capable
with your head in the
jaws of the beast

You both really like
the doctor this month
He’s honest
He reads poetry
When Death Comes

“I almost loved you,” by Sasha in her bed

Thursday February 28, 2019
9:22am
5 minutes
In Dublin
Maura Hanrahan

I almost loved you but you didn’t make the cut. My love is a gold medal and sometimes you got silver, but not gold. Nope, not gold. There was a wedge between the possible and the real and I fantasized about the possible but the real left bite marks and crumbs on the counter. The real left a trail of mouse shit. Crumbs. Mouse shit. I did almost love you though, and that’s an accomplishment. I hope you hold that close. When you’re gazing into the bottom of the latest bottle, when you’re gazing across the body of the latest woman, I hope you hold that fact close.

“which are past their upright peak” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Wednesday February 27, 2019
7:14am
5 minutes
Tulips for Barbara
Ann E. Michael

It’s okay if you want me to leave you be.
I know that it might feel like there’s nothing left to say.
I’m sorry I’m so sorry please forgive me please please I’m sorry.

These are the lines that I practice
piano scales a thousand moments a thousand days
You are held in my mind’s eye
the Wizard of my Oz

I turn forgiveness over in my mouth
a bitter lozenge
it sinks to the bottom of the well
it settles

I send you another letter
this time I say none of the lines
I’ve been practicing
I try something new

Yellow tulips on the table
past their upright peak
a few petals fallen
scattered ashes

“faster than all your sadness” by Sasha at her desk

Tuesday February 26, 2019
9:13am
5 minutes
What To Look For In A Horse
Brett Elizabeth Jenkins

Underneath the layers
a stray fingernail clipping
a rose petal
a thank you card from a million years ago

Your sadness sits
next to the time your mother
forgot your birthday
on top of your first heartbreak
(you never knew it possible
to break without breaking
so fully)

Your sadness sings to you
in the hours when you lie awake
A song you know the tune of
but the words change

“Addiction” by Sasha at work

Monday February 25, 2019
3:40pm
5 minutes
We Need to Talk
An interview with Anne Hallward

Dishes aren’t piled in the sink. In fact, Maxine’s three bowls (one broke), four plates, and half dozen mason jars are neatly arranged on her shelves. The sink drips, and a mark of rust has settled in the basin. Nursing is hard work, and Maxine isn’t home a lot. She works sixty hours a week, sometimes more. Sundays are her special day. She spends Sundays reading The New Yorker and drinking creamy coffee, lazing in bed with sweatpants and wool socks. She does one line of blow at six thirty, before Bill comes over. They’ve been sleeping together for just over three months, and Sunday is their night. Maxine doesn’t want a relationship. She deals with enough shit at work, the last thing she needs is more chatter at home. A good high fuck a week is perfect for her.

“it has become a cliche” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Sunday February 24, 2019
6:28pm
5 minutes
A quote by Tim Flannery

We had something different than all those storybook romances, Clarissa and I. We sure did. When people saw us together they didn’t always know that we were an item. In fact, one time, a bartender asked if we were brother and sister! “No, sir…” Clarissa said, and I just smiled. It feels cliche to talk about a love story that spans five decades, to talk about how you come to know a face better than your own, know the smell of someone’s skin when they are angry or tired. But cliches are born out of something true, and my love for Clarissa, still to this day… it’s true blue.

“hitchhike into the wilderness” by Sasha at her desk

Saturday February 23, 2019
5:56pm
5 minutes
Trail’s End
Sy Safransky

Dragonfly and I hitchhike
to the tidepools and the lagoons
her in a floppy straw hat
and me in a floral sundress

We’re living in an intentional
community on the Big Island of
Hawaii and we’re chopping sugar
cane with machetes and making
papaya salad in exchange for
yoga and meditation classes
and learning how to co-habitat
with a dozen other seekers

In the tidepools we spot
starfish the size of a child’s
head we float on our backs for
hours in the lagoon
We eat three different kinds of avocados
with spoons

“the biographies of our heroes” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Friday February 22, 2019
9:37pm
5 minutes
Political Paralysis
Danusha Veronica Goska

You are my kind of animal
as tender on the outside as
you are on the inside
but a different texture of
tenderness in
side out
side

in the way that
you know how to rest your
head in the jaw of your
brightest demons

in the way that
you write and write
and write by hand

in the way that
you look into my eyes
knowing my textures
almost as you know
your own but it’s
different your
patience it’s
different

in the way that
you can’t pretend

“the snow falling like confetti.” By Sasha in the bath

Wednesday February 20, 2019
8:01pm
5 minutes
The First Morning
Edward Abbey

snow falling like confetti and all the beautiful people are out walking walking moving through the upside down globe sparkle like the rare diamond that you are wink at the beautiful person so sure so clear so blue skied so freckle and bloom

have i seen you before do i know you where are you from where are you going hey could we please may we please hey wait slow down slow down slow here we go here i am i feel this good when i’m around you

i feel beautiful in this city especially when i’m open-faced clear-faced no more hiding

snow falling like confetti

and we fall again and again

friendships and bluebell babies and penmanship and tacos on the corner

“to calm a stranger” by Sasha on her couch

Tuesday February 19, 2019
10:02pm
5 minutes
Walking at Night
Elizabeth Poliner

A man is screaming in the alley behind the house. I usually avoid that place, where we used to find syringes and condoms. It’s not like that anymore, not usually, but I’m still wary. The man swears and yells, and I wonder what in me overrides the basic human call to comfort someone in need. What if this were a woman? Would it be different? What if I were a man? Would it be different? I peek out the window and see him, bike leaned against a garage, pants wet from the snow. He doesn’t see me.

“I didn’t like my job” by Sasha on her couch

Monday February 18, 2019
8:06am
5 minutes
The Wild Dogs of Hong Kong
Sarah Vallance

I went to Vienna because my heart had been broken, I didn’t like my job, and my mother told me I needed to let her live her own life. I’d always wanted to visit Austria. The reason is slightly embarrassing, so I’ll leave that out. I knew there were old castles, and cobblestone streets, and famous cake. I spoke very little German, but could get by on the trolly or buying groceries. I arrived never having been outside of Canada, with two suitcases and two hundred euros.

“not only the present” by Sasha at her desk

Saturday February 16, 2019
9:33pm
5 minutes
From the Constitution of the Iroquois Nation

straddling the teetor totter
of the now and the then
now and again
when is the next
cheeks wet with anticipation
with faith
with fear
okay i tell you
little one
okay i say in the night
when you twist and roll
i hear your becoming
i feel your growing
i am at your mercy
on my knees
on the tiles of the
kitchen floor
your daddy meditating
ten steps away
let’s stay quiet so
he can have this moment
this now so he can
have this

“nature acts.” By Sasha at her kitchen table

Friday February 15, 2019
6:49pm
5 minutes
A quote by Voltaire

The big joke is that
nature will survive
relentless and brave
It’s us who won’t

vulnerable and ignorant
Twins in the hole of
the big cedar
hide-and-go-seeking
hiding
not sure

It’s not the kind
of joke that we laugh at
it’s the kind that stops
us in our tracks
and makes us a little bit
sick when we’re trying to
fall asleep or make love

I find myself
wringing my hands
biting hangnails
scrubbing at the grout
around the tub

“It’s comfy and cozy.” By Sasha on her couch

Wednesday February 13, 2019
11:02pm
5 minutes
From a text

Those wouldn’t be words that I’d use to describe Max… More like gruff… and, and kind. He isn’t the touchy-feely type, right, like, he is a good guy but he keeps people at arm’s length. Might be because he was orphaned when he was young, betcha didn’t know that. Yup, his folks’ died in a train accident and he went to live with his uncle who didn’t have any idea how to raise a child. Poor guy. He’s a dreamer, like, he’s the kind of man that can wander around a city and not care where he’s going. Maybe he’ll end up in a bookstore or a sandwich shop or sitting on a park bench. Max likes days like that. If you ask him how’s he’s doing he’ll always answer the same, have you noticed that? He’ll say, “I’m still here…”

“live life well” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Tuesday February 12, 2019
10:10pm
5 minutes
From a mural

All she wants is to “live life well.” Those are her words. She chooses them carefully, her words, like her handbags, like her cantaloupes. She doesn’t think that she’s done this up until now, not the “well” part at least. She’s done the living and the life. Turning fifty was a big deal for her. She re-assessed in a way that she never had before – not when she went to graduate school, not when she had her son, not when she divorced her first love, not when she lost her second. What does it mean, to “live life well”? For her, it means a few days a week of waking up without an alarm; a walk in the forest with a close friend; eating the five dollar chocolate.

“We look forward to moving you!” By Sasha on her couch

Sunday February 10, 2019
1:11pm
5 minutes
a Morrison’s Moving poster

I added some psychedelic mushrooms to my morning omelette. My sister went to chef school in Paris and learned how to make a real omelette. She taught me. There’s no going back. It’s omelettes almost every morning. Shrooms are only added on Sundays, though. Let’s not get too crazy over here. I also added chevre and fresh chives. I thought about texting Jess to see if she wanted to come over and get high together, but then I remembered the last time we did that she ended up fully clothed in the shower for two hours and the waste of water alone was enough to shut that idea down. Tripping by oneself is not for the faint of heart, though.

“Are you Joaquin or River?” By Sasha at her kitchen table

Saturday February 9, 2019
2:16pm
5 minutes
From a voicemail message

It’s a call to arms
the sound of three thousand
trumpets at dawn
waking the birds even
waking the sky

a war cry and

I’m nothing
in the face of this strength

I’m quaking in my combat boots
shaking in my conviction
or maybe that’s fear

Sand in my eyes
wonder in my belly
This is not what
my father said it
would be

Came home flag draped
and empty my mother
spoke his name only
in whispers until
she draped herself too

saying she can’t lose
another

“Speaking of hosting!” By Sasha in her bed

Friday February 8, 2019
8:46pm
5 minutes
from a Wordplay call out

I seem to be made more
of water than of bones
sinew muscle guts
I seem to be made of
salt water the amount
I am overflowing

My eyes are changing
colour with this
bursting with this
breaking with this
heavy heavy
Will you help me
to carry this weight?

You say that you
can’t bear the water
the sound as you fall asleep
that it’s been too many
nights in a row of this
filling filling flowing filling

I am helpless in the hands
of the drops falling down
filling falling flowing
it’s the law of this week
this week only I say
this week it’s like this

“How about just one email a week or month?” By Sasha at her kitchen table

Thursday February 7, 2019
7:42am
5 minutes
from swimoutlet.com

I don’t want to cramp your style, that’s for sure. But… You know me. I’m going to worry! I’m sorry it’s true, but it is. What about a text everyday, we don’t even have to decide on the time or anything, just when you see fit, sometime between when you wake up and when you go to bed? No? Too much? What about an email, then… You’ll obviously be checking your email… Right? What about one email every other day? Come on! Work with me here! I’m your mother! What do you – … You’re seventeen, Chloe. You’re seventeen. What was I thinking letting you – … An email a week. An email a week… An email a week? No. What will I do those whole six other days?! How will I sleep?!

“such a confusing tableau.” By Sasha at her kitchen table

Tuesday February 5, 2019
8:11am
5 minutes
How To Change Your Mind
Michael Pollan
readying myself for this has become
unclenching my jaw
resting
loving deeply and truthfully
being clear about when it’s
yes
and when it’s
no
my days are a journal entry
a devotion
my mind is losing her sharpness
her edge
my heart is wider than ever
i wonder how you’ll love me
now that i’m new
how the sisters i drunk and
danced with will bear the change
i read in my nest
in the bed where she landed
page after page
gorging on preparation
i drink more water
eat more dates
look for soft things
find soft places in myself
that i wasn’t sure would arrive
they have
i welcome them
oh sweetness
stillness
opening

“her sarcastic curl of a smile” By Sasha at her desk

Monday February 4, 2019
2:28pm
5 minutes
Finders Keepers
Stephen King

Sorry it’s taken me so long to write back, D. It’s not that I haven’t been thinking of you, it’s that whenever I sat down at the computer to respond I couldn’t bring myself to actually hit send. I’ve deleted and re-written so many versions of this that I’ve lost count. Really all that I can say at this time is I’m not ready to talk. Grief is a strange beast, sometimes sarcastic, sometimes snarling, sometimes tender, and I’m doing my best to roll with it all honestly, and honesty for me right now looks like – I still need space. I trust that you’ll be able to understand, and that you’ll stop reaching out. When your name appears in my Inbox it’s like you’re knocking at my door, and I can’t have you knocking at my door right now, D.

“I just want a little privacy is all.” By Sasha at her kitchen table

Sunday February 3, 2019
8:11am
5 minutes
The Lovely Bones
Alice Sebold

You look at my face like you’re learning
every freckle every pore every hair by heart
and today I bury in the nape of your neck
unsure about the scrutiny
about the fullness of the love

I mash sweet potatoes and you hold
my belly through T-shirt and apron
growing bigger everyday
You wash dishes and we sing to
our daughter with us and also not
here and also there

It’s cold today and flurries chase
each other’s tails by the chickadees
on the balcony
It’s warm in here with the oven on
with the one-bedroom closeness of
this new season

“unapologetic about her love of narcotics.” By Sasha at her desk

Friday February 1, 2019
9:32pm
5 minutes
Orange Is The New Black
Piper Kerman

Kiki loves narcotics like Hillary loves vodka like Jess loves psychedelics. I’m not sure about any of it. That makes me the weird one? Jess says that she needs to do psychedelics at least monthly to feel like herself. I wonder what she’d feel like if she didn’t. I wonder who she’d be then. Hillary carries around her booze in an Evian bottle in her purse. Sips it on breaks at work, in a taxi, at the gym. No one knows. No one cares. Breath mint after and she’s good to go. At least that’s what she says. Kiki. I’m not worried about Kiki but I kind of am.

“never showed me where the wreck lay.” By Sasha at her desk

Thursday January 31, 2019
1:36pm
5 minutes
Foe
J.M. Coetzee

Hunting for treasure like yeah yeah yeah I’m bored okay I’m bored. Jimmy made mistakes all the time and no one yelled at him must of been because he had those baby blues. I get a stiff leg every now and again and I’m not so quick to get up I need a minute nothing wrong with slowing down a little. I’m bored by Thursday and by Saturday I can’t believe that there’s still another day left in the week. Didn’t used to be that way I was a way cooler guy when I was younger enjoying the moment and all of that jazz. You see enough people lose everything get laid off get screwed over and you start to go what’s the point right what’s really the point.

“The coach was bullshit.” By Sasha at her kitchen table

Wednesday January 30, 2019
11:56pm
5 minutes
Created By
Richard Christian Matheson

It wasn’t my fault. Coach was bullshit. I tried telling Stevie and Jay from the get-go that Coach was a turd, didn’t know what she was talking about, didn’t know her ass from the ball… Nobody listened to me! We had a good reputation, man, I mean, we weren’t seven time champions but we gave Crescent Hill a run for their money every year! When Coach Peterson retired I knew we were effed. I’d seen Coach Jenkins sniffing around the court, trying to butter up the team, trying to use her jokes to make everyone like her. I’m not gonna fall for that shit!

“I’ve got questions.” By Sasha in her bed

Tuesday January 29, 2019
10:36pm
5 minutes
From a text

I’ve got questions and most of them
have to do with how many times this
will break my heart

Don’t mean to lean heavy on a tired
metaphor we are all tired aren’t we
isn’t that what everyone says when
asked how they are
Tired?

Keep circling back to this again
and again the monotony but also the
surprise every time
and the break is still a break
is still a break

How many times can the same thing
hurt in new ways but not different ways
one of those albums where all the songs
sound like a variation on the single
on the title track

My title track is this tonight
and the other nights that have ended
as this one will

“As the cab works its way” by Sasha at her desk

Monday January 27, 2019
4:01pm
5 minutes
Hello, Goodbye
Brady Emerson

As the cab works it’s way around the corner, I press my face up to the glass. Mama will make me clean it with vinegar and newspaper. She always knows when it’s me and when it’s Bailey. The dog doesn’t have to clean up after himself, but he gets put in the laundry room until he whines enough that Mama feels bad. Daddy packed a larger suitcase than usual so I asked him how long he’d be gone for this time. “Not sure, honeybunch,” he said, sad like the day Grampa Jones died. How he could not be sure, I don’t understand but I shouldn’t have to given that I’m only just starting Grade Four. Mama knows that Daddy might be gone until the snow comes, so she hugs Bailey in bed for a long time and I have peanut butter and jelly for dinner.

“The road ends at a washout” by Sasha in the bathtub

Sunday January 27, 2019
9:18pm
5 minutes
Nomads
Poe Ballentine

Dear P.,

I move to Alaska because I want to live at the end of it all, where the road meets the horizon, where the sun feels like a star and it doesn’t rain as much as it does here. I’m twenty seven and I don’t know my ass from my mouth, but at least I’m not afraid like everyone else is, afraid to leave home. “Home” is a word that feels strange in my mouth, foreign, like “Barcelona” or “beloved”.

I’m sorry that I didn’t get to say a proper goodbye. I know that was a long time ago, but I never stopped thinking about you. Riding bikes around the track at St. Mike’s, shooting the shit, pretending we were big shots. Alaska takes a part of your heart when you’re there for long enough. A part of my heart that’s shaped like you. P. I’m better now than I was then, in almost every way.

“I was acting like a” by Sasha at her desk

Saturday January 26, 2019
7:23am
5 minutes
The Only One She Told
J.E. McCafferty

I was raised on goodness and beeswax crayons
Imagination prized and emotional maturity celebrated
and Self Knowing the greatest gift the greatest way
I was raised on expression and trust
hope and faith and that we can hold it all
we can know it all we can be it all we can do it all

I was a lucky pigeon
I have a privilege I sometimes I feel I
need to apologize for
Blue eyes means yes
Smile wide means yes
Not really but maybe sometimes

At least if you do your best
you’ll know
you’ll know that you did your best
and usually that’s good enough

HA

lucky pigeon

“law of human psychology” by Sasha at her coffee table

Thursday January 24, 2019
10:01pm
5 minutes
A quote by William Pickens

“Shit, it’s uh, it’s um… It’s – …”

Mika forgets her new phone number. She’d started to rattle off her old one and then stopped part way through. “I had to change my number because… You don’t need to know that, um – …”

After twelve years of the same ten digits it takes a while to update. Mika thinks about the brain and plasticity and how memory works.

She sees a flash of Kyle sledding. She blinks. She sees Izzy there, too, eating snow off to the side.

“Miss?”

Mika digs out her notebook. She knows she wrote her new number down in there.

“my Swahili instructor” by Sasha at her desk

Wednesday January 23, 2019
1:41pm
5 minutes
Archipelagoes
Rochelle Smith

All the other women in this class are at least fifteen years older than I am. All of them are recently divorced. All of them. There are twelve of us. I won’t make assumptions about divorce rates rising, but wow oh wow, it is a bit… alarming. There must be something about taking up a new language in a popular book or something. I’m going to Tanzania so I really need to get this, it isn’t a whim or a therapy tactic or something. I like Rebecca best. Out of all the Divorcees. She’s down to earth and talks about stuff other than child support and Brene Brown.

“What Jesus was doing” by Sasha on her couch

Tuesday January 22, 2019
6:52am
5 minutes
Love Thy Neighbour
Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove

Sit still. Don’t fidget. Don’t pick your nose. Sit still. Sit stiller. Pay attention. Sister Judith is falling asleep. Don’t laugh. Don’t giggle. Don’t kick the pew in front. Jesus is watching. Mother is watching. Don’t elbow Russell. Don’t look at Russell. Russell is picking his nose. Ew, Russell! Sit still. Sit still. Hands to yourself. The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit. Stand up. Sing. Don’t sing too loud. Mother is watching.

“I imagine him alive.” By Sasha at her desk

Monday January 21, 2019
1:55pm
5 minutes
Stories We Keep To Ourselves
Bill Glose

He’s running along the beach
He doesn’t leave footprints in the sand
He floats above like the sand flies
Leaving no trace
Making no impression

I’m watching him from a nearby
piece of driftwood
Back and forth he goes
One end becoming the other
Horizon becoming sky

He doesn’t see me there
Lost in the movement of his muscles
Found in the meditation of waves
Lost in the between-world wonder
Found in the bits of seaweed and shell

I call out to him
He doesn’t hear me
The ocean thundering before us
Dusk wraps around our shoulders
Takes us back to the center
Takes us back in time

“making dinner for my family” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Sunday January 20, 2019
9:43pm
5 minutes
The Other, Invented Man
Matthew Vollmer

I used to think that I’d be
keeping long hours in dank rehearsal halls
Poorly heated
Poorly lit
Weaving stories out of breath
blood bones
breaking beauty like bread

I used to think that success
was measured in letters
in selling out a run
in someone saying
“I saw myself on that stage
in that stranger”
“I know myself better now”

Now the sacred carrot
celery and onion
meets lentils and then broth
I spend Sundays in the kitchen
listening to Emmylou Harris and
This American Life
I lie down when I’m tired
and sing to my belly until
I drift off to sleep

Now I think that success
is having a fridge full of goodness
ready for the week
and that the stories we weave
at the table over steaming oats
the story of right now
is the greatest win of all

“he fell like the rain,” by Sasha in the bath

Friday January 18, 2019
9:04pm
5 minutes
In The Beautiful Rain
Tony Hoagland

She lifted her hand to her face
her hand the mirror that she trusted more
her face the face that she’d always known
She traced her nostrils and opened her mouth

He fell like the rain in the morning
and at night he gathered the fire to
close his eyes and trust the dark
Her sleep breath lifting him away

The laundry is on the couch and
needs to be folded
socks and T-shirts mixing cake
mixing bodies and story and dust

Someone will do it tomorrow
One of them whoever has time
and is feeling generous to the other
or to themselves

The recycling needs to be sorted
and taken out to the bins in the alleyway
where men with grocery carts pick through
all the after-thoughts all the forgetting

Hoping for a treasure

“We cross dirt roads” by Sasha on her couch

Monday January 14, 2019
11:06pm
5 minutes
A Poem for Barack Obama’s Presidential Inauguration
Elizabeth Alexander

A crow flies overhead
calling to her love
calling to her self
She is her own love

Wings spread wide she
soars towards the sun
an ascension
a wild flight
This flight of love

It’s dusk now
She’s reached where
she’s going
She lands
She settles
Sweet she calls
Sweet one she calls

On a dirt road below
A girl walks
Maybe five or six
She’s alone
She spots the crow
She smiles
She knows that crows
are as smart as her
but in different ways

Sweet one she calls

“endure burning” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Sunday January 13, 2019
5:42pm
5 minutes
A quote by Viktor Frankl

I wonder what you’ve told them about me
about how I walk on my tip toes in the morning
not to wake you
about how I braid the tassels on my red scarf
I wonder what you’ve told them about my burning
my breaking my owning my betrayal
I wonder if they know what my face looks like
when I’m sleeping
The wild wild west they say
The Wild West
A story that we all know the ending to
My devotion will break me
I’m still alive
I’m still here
I’m still

I wonder what you’ve told them about me
and the sound of my whistle my voice when I’m singing
Torn up inside the will to survive the will to
Will I ever be able to forge through winter
Will I ever be able to stop laughing

“how are you feeling?” By Sasha at her kitchen table

Saturday January 12, 2019
10:42pm
5 minutes
From a text

A: How are you feeling?
B: Today. Shitty.
A: How shitty? What kind of shitty?
B: I saw someone who is too afraid to face me, who can’t meet me how I need to be met, and I was tired and sad and I saw someone, and it was –
A: Take a deep breath?
B: I’m fine. I’m breathing fine.
A: Okay…

B: How are you?
A: I’m good. I’m great!
B: That’s nice.
A: When you’re shitty, I can still be great. It’s not a competition.
B: I know. I’m glad you’re great.
A: Why can’t you just be happy for me?
B: I am!

A: Dad said that Ming is off dairy so we can’t do rice pudding on Sunday.
B: Good for Ming.
A: Ha!
B: She always feels sick. It’s good she’s doing some investigating. I’ll bring something else. I’m sick of rice pudding anyway.
A: But we always have rice pudding for dessert –
B: Yeah, and sometimes things have to change. Sometimes change is healthy.

“You are my real mother, aren’t you?” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Thursday January 10, 2019
7:04am
5 minutes
Life After Life
Kate Atkinson

I knew it was coming. It was like when my grandmother used to know that it was going to rain. Her bones would ache. I woke feeling agitated, restless, cold. Nelly had been out late with Rebecca, and she slept later than she usually does. Even for Sunday. I made waffles and turkey bacon. I made a second pot of tea. She came downstairs rubbing her eyes, bun askew on top of her head.

“Morning,” she yawned, but there was a coolness.

“Honey… – ” I looked at her and she held my gaze.

“Rebecca said that Barb said that you have something to tell me?”

Fuck Barb. I can’t believe I used to trust that woman. Fuck.

I knew it was coming but then when it does it still feels like a sledgehammer, like a slicing, like open-heart surgery.

“A master-beggar art thou.” By Sasha at her kitchen table

Tuesday January 8, 2019
10:04pm
5 minutes
Kim
Rudyard Kipling

I make you cinnamon buns. I let the dough double rise and listen to Robert Plant and Alison Krauss. I make the filling (butter, cinnamon, sugar, salt). I make the cream cheese frosting. I whisper that you’re my little darling, and these buns are my little darlings, and in the quiet of this Saturday night, the world is my little darling. I’ll bring you the buns tomorrow morning, after I bake them, while they are still warm. You’ll be surprised to see me, but I’ll be holding a tray of the best damn thing you’ve ever smelled so you won’t be able to send me away, to refuse me, to ask me to go. You’ll invite me in. Coffee will already be brewing on the counter, in your red french press.

“There is no rule that is true under the circumstances” by Julia at her desk

Sunday January 6, 2019
8:40pm
5 minutes
Synchronicity
C.G. Jung

We have to shift every time
it is not something we’ve done once
and always know now
We are reminding each other often
Today there were tears and maybe
that’s the only thing we can
expect after all these days

Walking along the beach today
you say that no matter what
you think it’s going to be in
your head, the only certainty
you can rely on, is that it won’t

I believe people can change and
retract their previous opinions
That’s what learning is all about
Knowing a thing you didn’t know
before and seeing through a different
perspective

We have to shift every time
We know nothing will be as
we think it will even if we want
it to be it with all of our heart’s
deep and steady longing

I suppose we have to get good at
believing in the great presence
of love unconditional
When it is there it is always there
and there is no need to question it

Walking along the beach today I do
not even think to question it
I have it in my skin
and I know it

“He was young and handsome” by Julia at the table

Saturday January 5, 2019
5:36pm
5 minutes
The Elephant Vanishes
Haruki Murakami

This year we didn’t look at old photos of you
and Mom wearing your brilliant sweaters at Niagara Falls.
I think there was too much going on, but I missed it anyway.
Tracing the outline of your fro,
curls I know intimately since they landed on my head too.
Thank you for those, by the way.
When I was little and everyone said I looked more like you
it used to break my heart.
I don’t know why I thought it was anything but a compliment.
You were young and handsome.
You are still young and handsome.
I am in awe of how big your heart has grown in these sixty-two years of living.
Sixty-two years today.
You have gotten so soft and there is all this room for me now.
Thank you for that too, by the way.
I am looking at the photo of you holding me for the first time
a month and a couple weeks after your thirty-second birthday,
and the look in your eyes as you look down at me
is turning me into something sweet.
Thank you for that.
That is how I see you too.

“The horse flung his head up” by Sasha at her desk

Friday January 4, 2019
8:12am
5 minutes
The Pearl
John Steinbeck

The whippoorwill flies at night, sings in the morning, nests in the afternoon. Like you did, when days were shorter and nights were longer. Like you did when 10 pm was early. The whippoorwill’s song is a memory of August days in the hammock on the porch, reading books, sending shivers into the corner of your imagination, chasing worlds that might be possible one day. The whippoorwill was believed to be a bird of witchcraft. Yes please, you say, yes please.

“This is the beginning of the beginning” by Sasha at her desk

Thursday January 3, 2019
4:38pm
5 minutes
When Things Fall Apart
Pema Chödrön

More compassion, soft ears, green vegetables, dancing, reading, surrender to the mystery of it all, quiet, nature, calling far-away loved ones, patience, filing, writing, movement, sleep, boundaries.

Less judgement, sweet stuff, jaw clenching, catastrophic thinking, Instagram, tension, impatience, screen time, expectations.

“heaven is great, earth is great, people are great” by Sasha on the 99

Wednesday January 2, 2019
2:13pm
5 minutes
Living the Wisdom of the Tao
Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

It’s okay, I mean, I’m okay. Things are okay, Brad, I don’t know what you want me to say… Everyone is happy sometimes and sad sometimes, right?! It’s not even about the balance of being happy and sad I don’t think… It’s about the quality of the feelings. Like, when you’re happy, are you really free? Is there still a little balloon in your chest slowly deflating? Don’t lie to yourself about it. No point in lying about that little balloon, she probably just needs acknowledgement! When you’re sad are you really letting yourself, like, go there? Are you crying and stuff? I don’t know how to take how you’re looking at me… We haven’t seen each other in, like, three years, and now you’re acting all concerned? Sometimes I’m really happy. Sometimes I’m really sad. That’s it.

“I can be courageous enough to feel” by Sasha on the 9

Tuesday January 1, 2019
1:23pm
5 minutes
Comfortable With Uncertainty
Pema Chödrön

She didn’t want to go. It was freezing old outside and the thought of putting on all those layers only to take them off when she got there was almost too much to handle. She thinks about her therapist saying that sometimes self care looks like staying in, having a bath, reading a book, and sometimes self care looks like getting out, being with people, having a slice of cake. Liam had said that it would mean a lot to him if she came, this being his first gig back with the band after surgery. She didn’t want to go. Sometimes being a good friend means showing up. She knows this. She knows.

“So the Search was begun” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Monday December 31, 2018
11:11am
5 minutes
The Tao Of Pooh
Benjamin Hoff

Faith and Doubt are sisters, unruly hair intertwined, sleeping side-by-side, dreamscapes overlapping. I find Faith in the predictability of a trusted recipe. I find Doubt in the despair of misunderstandings small and large. Faith laughs at Doubt’s sureness, kindly, pointedly. Doubt rolls her eyes at Faith’s optimism, wisdom, sureness. Faith cries when Doubt pushes her so hard on the swing she falls off, skinning her knees.

“The only time this does not happen” by Sasha at the kitchen table

Thursday December 27, 2018
10:12am
5 minutes
The Undiscovered Self
C.G. Jung

I saw that the sky was flames and wept
as I do as we do as we can
The hill across from the window
slips into a dream slips into tomorrow
You go to the fourth floor at seven in the morning
While we sleep
Your children
Your love
Dreaming in the Year of the Pig
when all the babes arrive
Dreaming in black and blue and pink and grey
Tears make way for clementines
make way for baths and stories
All paths lead back to Lou
I saw birds on the wire at Coxwell and Gerrard
There must’ve been seventy of them
Lou said that he wants to live to seventy-two
I saw your eyes cloud
Your doubt surface
Your faith swoop down and lift your chin

“Day after day we worked” by Sasha in Mississauga

Monday December 24, 2018
12:12pm
5 minutes
The Swiss Family Robinson
J.D. Wyss

Jeremy puts on his father’s coat and his mother’s fake fur hat and goes to smoke a joint in the garage. It’s the first Christmas without Sara and everyone is on their best/worst behaviour. Since moving away from Kingston, Jeremy has learned how what we think is our best is sometimes our worst because it’s not necessarily honest. Jeremy tries to be honest.

“Are you high?” His mother asked last night, as she washed and he dried. Joan Baez’s Christmas album on the stereo.

“Yup,” he said, carefully wiping the platter that used to be his grandmother’s, the one with little raised cranberries on it.

“Jeremy… Is it necessary that you – “

“You do you, Mom. Drink a little too much Pinot Grigio, eat a little too much baked brie. I’m gonna do me, and smoke a bit of weed.”

She raised her eyebrows, unsure about this man in front of her who resembled the little boy gripping her hand til her knuckles turned white on the first day of school.

“Till the only word your mouth remembers” by Sasha in Mississauga

Sunday December 23, 2018
11:51am
5 minutes
Milk and Honey
Rupi Kaur

Kiss me until the only word your mouth knows is
mine beloved make true. Love me until we are divine
light swirling towards eternity
time no longer a barrier time now
a surrender a hope. Remember when we used to know
each other less fully. That’s funny to think about.

Morning fades to afternoon and I
clench my jaw sprawled on the floor
of your childhood bedroom the kid wallpaper
still there the art you made
before I knew you from anyone.

My nostalgia makes me drunk
in a way vodka never did in a way
chocolate never does in a way that only
these darkest days turning lighter do
here and here hand and heart
and belly swelling snow.

“Whose language would he speak?” By Sasha at Ideal Coffee

Friday December 21, 2018
1:35pm
5 minutes
Siddhartha
Herman Hesse

You’re learning Spanish
You fell in love with the
language on our honeymoon
and now you’re teaching

yourself by an app
usually at the end of the day
in our bed you repeat

Lo siento
Pequeño
Gato

You’re good with languages
in a way I’m not and I think
about how you’ll help our
daughter with her French homework

I’ll look over and remember
counting to twenty
conjugations
shame
quizzes

I was good at a lot of things
but this wasn’t one of them

“She shook her head helplessly.” By Sasha in the Kiva

Thursday December 20, 2018
12:31pm
5 minutes
Solaris
Stanislaw Lem

She shook her head helplessly becuase she couldn’t figure out how to get her words in order, how to get a word in, what to do with words. Her mother knew words better than anyone, or so she thought, better than her own face. Her mother knew how to shape words into cinnamon buns, into machetes, into room sized pillows. Sat around the table with the family, her family, that’s a word she knows. Bev sticks her tongue out at Larry and he gets up and grabs her cheeks.

“none of which are taken very seriously.” By Sasha on the plane

Tuesday December 18, 2018
8:14pm
5 minutes
From an email

In the dark of the season
Longest day approaching
Train in the distance
Barrelling with purpose
Barrelling with direction
There is no place else to go
But inwards

You say that you want to take long baths
Play the piano
Listen to CBC radio
Eat clementines

Of course you do
Of course

Let go of the past
The winter says
Biting my earlobes
And reaching below the ice
Let go of what is no longer
All we have is now

“all past, present or future actions” By Sasha in the Kiva

Wednesday December 19, 2018
11:33pm
5 minutes
From an application form

It’s hard to speak when the overcoming comes
When it’s all heart beat and throat tight and
Here we go again
Past and present and future whirlpooling
Whipperwhiling scumbagging scumbugging

You tell me that you see how I’m growing
How I’m showing the centre that you know
That you watch when I’m dreaming
Projections of horses stampedeing across
The prairie of my forehead

It’s good to let go and move the old
Ice from the freezer chest
It’s good to release the pigeons from
The rusty roof

“We may not be able to accommodate” by Sasha at her desk

Monday December 17, 2018
11:48am
5 minutes
overheard at YVR

When you embrace your beloved
You breathe in their scent
lily of the valley
cinnamon
Douglas fir
You feel a tingle in your guts
Just the same as the day you
Met them
Catching fireflies
Waiting for the streetcar
Stroking the pennies in their pocket
Unafraid

Time is a strange beast
The kind that lives in dreams
And now that you are struck by
the possible ending you are
Overcome
with the knowing that there is
nothing more precious than this

“Better than a landfill.” By Sasha at her desk

Thursday December 13, 2018
12:35pm
5 minutes
Dust
Brianne Battye

“You’re a mess, Robbie,” Val shivers and zips her coat up past her chin.

“Jesus, it must be minus twenty-five – ” Rob looks up at the sky.

“Don’t ignore me!”

“I’m not, I’m just sayin’…” They stand there for a full minute, Val stamping her feet to get feeling back in her toes.

“I am a mess, but it’s okay… Like, I don’t usually let my life get messy, right? When have you ever seen me like this?” He makes a good point.

Val’s cheeks are turning bright red. “I just think that you should talk to someone, a counselor or something. You might even be able to find something subsidized?”

“Thanks. Yeah. I’ll look into it.” Rob pushes his hands further into his coat pockets. He feels something round.

“somehow you are sacred,” by Sasha on her couch

Wednesday December 12, 2018
4:30pm
5 minutes
The Third Treatise
Yara Farran

Mia has started praying to the saints that she get better at baking, some of which are real and some of which are made up. Saint Chelsea looks after newly attempted recipes gone wrong. Cakes the overflow and fold molten rocks on the bottom of the oven, breads that don’t rise, cookies with bases burned to a crisp. Saint Tyrese is the saint of dishes. Caked on crumbs be gone! Solidified caramel – banish! Mia prays and beats egg whites into pearly peaks and wonders if buying this whole in the wall bakery was really a good idea.

“fingers slimy from fries” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Tuesday December 11, 2018
8:03am
5 minutes
Nicer
Amanda Proctor

We fall in love over fish and chips, fingers slimy from fries, mayo and ketchup and coleslaw understanding the language of our kisses better than we do. We make love in the kitchen, the oven door a handle of acrobatic inspiration, opening and closing, opening and closing. We walk the long way to the store for avocados, eggs, kimchi, orange juice. We sing in the shower together, soaping each others’ bodies with a tenderness that transcends time. We dream together, for one another, about each other, bodies cocooned in flannel sheets and pillows tossed on the floor.

“buttered side up” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Monday December 10, 2018
8:35am
5 minutes
For Murphy
Jade Riordan

Toast always falls butter side down
the good stuff with the flaky salt
that you really shouldn’t have bought
but did because you only live once
and it’s been a hard few months

Now you’re licking butter off the linoleum
and feeling sorry for yourself

You’re very good at feeling sorry for yourself
So good in fact that you wonder about listing it
as a special skill on your resume
alongside

Spanish speaker
Ballroom dancing
Susceptible to cold feet

You deserved that butter just as you deserve
to be squatting in the kitchen
robe coming undone
a smile spreading across your face

“The girl looking like Catherine Deneuve” by Sasha at the office

Tuesday December 4, 2018
12:35pm
5 minutes
Fall Is the Last Season of the Year
Nasim Marashi

It’s all about how you position yourself
How you make yourself be
I mean okay some of it is how you’re born
Your genes or God or whatever decides
Some of it is that

But you do have some choice in the matter
Like if you’re going to take care of yourself
and wear clothes that flatter you
and get a good haircut for your face shape
and everything

I used to think that I was one of the ugly ones
and then I turned into one of the pretty ones
and now I’m somewhere in the middle
now that I’m not flirting with everything in sight

I remember Mama saying that at a certain age
you become invisible and how strange that is
after being so visible for so long after being
ogled and eyed and cat-called
to suddenly disappear

“a conversation unfolds” by Sasha at her desk

Sunday, December 2, 2018
7:32am
5 minutes
Conversation Across Languages
Derick Mattern

When I call
the conversation between us
unfolds open
reaches break
lily-of-the-valley
Rose-of-Sharon

Oh the grief is heavy
on my tongue
stretching down
to my throat
to my belly
to my feet

Oh this grief meets
the very core and
I hold you over long distance
airways over the Prairies
I hold you like you did me
when most of what I was
was daughter

“It’s her first time here” by Sasha at work

Wednesday, November 28, 2018
2:17pm
5 minutes
I Can’t Get You Out Of My Mind
Marianne Apostolides

He calls from where the snow is
from where the gulls call or at least
that’s how I imagine it

Whenever I write like this I think
about the lectures on line breaks and rhythm
and how I wonder if I’m taking my own notes

I step into a cold classroom and coo sympathy
because that’s what he deserves and coo
support because that’s what he needs

Friendship is one of the greatest gifts
in my life and when one of these
dear hearts needs boundless love

I reach down and out and up and through
and it is such a pleasure to give

“Our mission is” by Sasha at her desk

Saturday, November 24, 2018
10:14pm
5 minutes
Braving the Wilderness
Brene Brown

The stanza of your body is an edit
these weeks and I make food and listen
to music and hope for the best even
though you are the verse I want
to sing along to

I tell you that I have had to learn
about soothing myself and saving myself
and being myself in the quiet of evening
in the quiet of morning I tell you
that this is the silver lining

Swelling with pride over who
we have become to ourselves to one another
the stanza of your body is here
in the absence because you are here
in my body in my heart in my spirit
twirling smoke into future

“In front of a full crowd” by Julia on the 9

Friday November 9, 2018
11:10pm
5 minutes
No Place Like Home
Monika Markovinovic

If I am being honest with myself I don’t need to see anyone for a long time. I wonder why that is, if maybe I’ve been seeing enough of something else that makes the solitude taste so good.
I wonder too if maybe it’s because I don’t have anything to say since the lie of saying a thing sometimes makes doing a thing feel unnecessary. I probably need to read more. I don’t know enough big words. Can’t leave the house and see somebody and use too small of a word.
That might break the system of expectation. That might really teach me something.
I don’t need a full room or anything, maybe because these days that kind of room scares me. Might send me up to the front of it with not just the wrong words but the wrong feelings.
It could have something to do with not knowing if thirst is that tickle in the throat or the one just below it. It could be about listening.

“In front of a full crowd” by Sasha at her desk

Friday November 9, 2018
6:31am
5 minutes
No Place Like Home
Monika Markovinovic

I keep having that dream. You know the one. I’m standing in front of an audience, on a stage, like the kind in a school auditorium. Maybe it’s a gym. Yes… when I look across, there’s a basketball net, and banners. It’s a gym. There’s some sort of concert taking place, and everyone has an instrument but me. Trombones, penny whistles, violins, cellos… and I’m just standing there, arms swinging at my side. I’m just – … waiting. It’s as though everyone’s waiting for me, though, like I’m supposed to do something. Am I supposed to – …?

“the hell days” by Sasha at Olive & Ruby

Saturday November 3, 2018
12:02pm at Olive & Ruby
5 minutes
Soil, Sun, and Soon
Daenna Van Mulligen

“Mom?” Mimi is braiding Felicity’s long red hair, the doll that Oma made for her when she was just a baby.

“Mmmm?” Mom is looking at her phone.

“Mom?” Mimi holds up Felicity so that Mom can see how good she is at braiding now, how much she’s been practising.

“What Mimi? I’m busy, can’t you see that?” Mom rolls her eyes, but unfortunately they don’t make it down to Felicity’s level.

“Never mind.” Mimi goes into the living room where Dad is reading the newspaper.

“Dad?”

“Mmhmm?”

“Look at Felicity’s beaaaautiful hair!” She punches the doll through the newspaper, and her father gasps.

“Monika?! Could you please come and deal with your daughter?!” Dad shouts very loud.