Wednesday March 16, 2016
I have been out stealing rosemary again. Middle of the night. I am not sorry. But I do recognize the pattern. It’s not about much more than needing to have it in my home so I can touch it when I want to and it can calm me down. Some people do the very same thing with animals. I mean maybe they don’t go around at midnight and sneak into people’s front yards, but–I mean they feel comforted by the presence of a pet. So what? I don’t have one of those. I make do. I’m fine. Please don’t ever think my problems will be solved by a cat. They most certainly will not. I don’t need something like that. Thank you for the offer of your offer. I miss my fucking mother. I want to call her and cry and let her love me back to life. I want to tell her that after all that rosemary thieving I didn’t even put any in the roast potatoes. Because I wanted to keep it longer in a vase next to my bed. Because I wanted to hold onto her soft voice telling me for the last time that I was her laugh.
Tuesday February 9, 2016
From a Curl Ambassadors business card
Mae got lipstick in this goodie bag and now all she wants to do is wear it. I feel like a dick for taking it away from her, you know, but, like, nothing wigs me out more than little girls all made up. I told her, “Save that for when you’re older,” but she doesn’t even get that concept, right? I hid it from her and she friggin’ found it! She friggin’ knows all my hiding spots… She’s six! What’s it gonna be like when she’s sixteen?
Tuesday, January 12, 2016
I love my horse more than I’ll ever love anyone. Okay? My kids know it. They don’t resent me for it. They just know that’s how I am. Caroline once needed me to really break it down for her. Once. She was sad, maybe, but she got over it, she accepted it, she realized that I’ve always connected with animals in a way I couldn’t with people. Billy resented it, though. I first realized it when we were taking a weekend in Napa. We hadn’t been on a vacation just the two of us since before the kids were born. A really long time. He couldn’t relax, fidgeting all the time, drinking more wine than he ever would normally, I mean he rarely even drank… I finally asked him, “What’s up?” and he broke down, like, crying and the whole thing. I’d never seen him like that.
Thursday, December 31, 2015
Overheard in the Living Room
Honouring our mother we stare deep into our blood with a little wink and a hug saying “we can only go forward now.” Your heart rests just above mine like it was designed to. You came first, you reached up to the sky where you saw endless possibilities and I reached up to you because I believed you were as high as I needed to go. Now we lead each other, honouring our mother, giving her the gift we refused to when we were young.
“Please don’t fight.” “Why can’t you two be kind to each other?” “Tell me, do you treat your friends this way?”
We didn’t know it at the time that we weren’t treating each other like anything but ourselves and we both had a lot of figuring out to do. We threw self-blame and self-hate and self-wondering because we were each other’s mirror and we saw ourselves reflected back through shades of green in a way we couldn’t understand.
I let your heart shift around on mine to find its spot. I keep you there like a stamp of time and a promise of forever.
Monday December 7, 2015
Joyce is in her makeshift bed on the couch, talking to Rachel on the phone. The room is mostly dark, as the blinds are drawn. She whispers her fear that it’s clear that Esther doesn’t want her to meet Robert and that time is running out as she flies home tomorrow afternoon. Esther interrupts the phone call by opening the blinds. Bright light pours in, blinding Joyce. Esther grabs the phone from Joyce and asks Rachel to put her grandson on – she has questions about software for downloading music. Joyce listens to Esther speak to one of the boys. She pulls on shorts and a tank top and mouths to Esther, “I’m going for a run”. Esther keeps talking on the phone and joking as Esther leaves the apartment. Once out in the hot Florida sun, Joyce sprints the three long blocks to the beach. At the water’s edge, she folds over, a sob emerging that’s been growing ever since she arrived.
Tuesday December 1, 2015
from a To Do list in October
Meredith is getting breast implants and she is sure so don’t ask her if she is. She’s answered that question 70 billion times and she knows what she wants. Each time someone inquires if she’s ready she becomes a thousand more percent positive that this is what she wants, answering each time with a resounding YES! Christ! YES I FUCKING AM. The only person who hasn’t asked Meredith if she’s thought about her decision is her mother who gave her the idea in the first place. Meredith’s mother said to do whatever her heart called her to do, and she would support her no matter what. Meredith’s mother was good about keeping promises. But everyone else seems to think they know better and can’t believe that this is the choice she’s come to. Meredith knew she wanted implants since her first year of medical school. She did not decide it while getting chosen to be the captain of the cheer-leading squad in high school. She did not decide it when her first boyfriend broke up with her over Thanksgiving weekend.
Thursday, October 22, 2015
The Vancouver Writer’s Festival Program Guide
my mother mimes cutting her hair on the edge of the world
her fingers the scissors
maple tree leaves
dripping pancakes and tenderness
the smile eclipses something below the kidney
never sure of geography
a new sweater
the colour of her longing
down to my ankles
done with wishing i was taller
a bus to the recycling depot
where we go for snow cones
Friday October 2, 2015 at Prado Cafe on Commercial
Richard C. Frances
My mother makes the bed with tucked in corners. That generation’s dying, right? No one does that anymore. No one teaches their children how to do that… Maybe nurses, or hotel workers, or… I don’t know. When she comes to visit she brings cake from scratch and flowers from Costco. She calls the week before to ask Lindy what kind of cake she wants. Lindy takes her time deciding – chocolate, or lemon, or pound cake, or strawberry shortbread. I let Lindy decide, without interrupting, or adding in my preference. The doctor says that it’s good for her to make choices without interference. I get on the phone after and ask my mother what time she’ll arrive. “I’ll leave Ottawa first thing so I should be at yours by afternoon?” “Yours”. Who says that anymore? “Sounds good, Mum.” I say. “Sounds good, Mum.” Lindy parrots.
Monday September 14, 2015
from a tube of hand cream
When Willa’s mother calls, she considers not answering. It would only be the second time. Bill says, “If you need to get it, don’t worry. It’s okay…” She steps out onto the porch and slides her finger across the screen.
“Yes – ”
“They’ve come to take me and I refuse to go!”
“Mom, where are you?”
“In my chair!”
“Who is there?”
“Those men in the hockey equipment!”
“Mom, what are you – ”
“I’m scared, Willa. Please come pick me up?”
“I can’t right now. I’m busy.”
“What would you have done that time you had the chicken pox and you were visiting the Petting Zoo? What would you have done if I didn’t come to pick you up?”
“I was five.”
“Did you call Roberta?”
“Who is that?”
“No. I don’t know anyone by that name.”
“She’s been coming every day for the past six years, Mom.”
Thursday September 10, 2015
from Sasha’s transcriptions
three hundred and
rays of light
where my mother’s hand
she’s sat on a stool
that we found by the side of
wood worn for sitting bones
pumping the pedal
a handful of crickets
my fall dress
Tuesday, July 7, 2015
A Complicated Kindness
My mother hates to see me cry. She doesn’t hate to offer me money, or sneak a 50 in my coat pocket when she thinks I’m not looking, even though she knows those exact things will make me cry, but when I start with the tears, it breaks her abundant heart. She doesn’t want to make me feel bad. She just wants to love me. But I feel bad because I’m self-hating and dramatic, and I cause trouble where there doesn’t need to be. She wishes I could see me how she sees me and that only means so much since I’m her baby and she’d look at me and see Mother Theresa even if I burned an entire nursery school with the children still in it to the ground. I know this because when I told her I had deep, steadfast, secret thoughts about poisoning Auntie Ellis because she scolded me in public one time, she put her arms around me and she squeezed me with so much love that I started to cry. Then she wiped my face with her kisses and said, “I would want to do the same thing if I were you.”
Thursday June 4, 2015
She wakes up early in the morning, before the sun does, before the man does. He sleeps like a bear anyway. He wouldn’t notice if the house was on fire. He wouldn’t notice if his testicles were dipped in hydrochloric acid. For the record she has considered both options. She decides on sneaking her babies out without causing any physical pain. She doesn’t want to add to her little ones’ suffering. God knows they’be been through enough. She dresses her sleeping children as best she can. Georgia’s eyes flap open and she knows if she’s to wake anyone, Georgia’s the best one. She loves secrets. She’ll be good at helping her get the other two ready. She doesn’t even worry about the snoring bear. Georgia is quiet but she is curious. She puts her fingers to her lips and smiles with her eyes.
Thursday April 30, 2015
from a magazine article
Nikki won Miss Bellingtown when she was eight years old and it was all downhill from there. “Shit,” she says, whenever she thinks about that. Wearing her crown, her ribbon and a blue terry cloth robe, she puts wet food down for Hushie. She recently turned twenty seven. She’s never drank a real gin and tonic, she’s never gone on a camping trip and the most intimate conversations she has are with Hushie. She calls her mother on the rotary phone, as she does every Sunday. “Mom, it’s Nik. Call me – ” And Tasha picks up the phone, out of breath, the answering machine clicking on, recording their conversation. “Nikki! The chive flowers are blooming! You’ve gotta come down here and see ’em. They’re your favourite colour of purple!” Tasha’s boyfriend, Camerson, recently moved in with her. Ever since, when they speak, Tasha half shouts. “Why are you yelling, Mom?” Nikki asks, knowing the answer. Her mother finally found love, after seventeen and a half years of looking. “Camerson says HI!” Tasha wishes her daughter would get dressed. “Why don’t you go out for a coffee with a galpal?!” “What are you talking about…” “Put some clothes on, goddamnit, and take off that stupid crown!” “I’m not wearing a crown!” “Don’t lie to me Nicole.”