“In case you think that all of this” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Sunday, November 25, 2018
8:30am
5 minutes
Come Of Age
Stephen Jenkinson

“This isn’t about you!” Gary shouts. I can hear him through the wall. His office is his favourite place in the world. He loves it in there so much that whenever I forward him a seat sale he writes back, “I’d rather be at home.” Our bedroom is on the other side of the wall, and because I don’t work from home didn’t imagine that I’d need an office. When we bought this house, it was perfect in every way and a space to call only my own wasn’t all that necessary. But now that Gary’s dear old Dad has finally died, and he’s sorting things our with his sister Becky, all I hear in the evenings, while I try to read in bed, is him shouting at her. Shouting that this “isn’t what Dad would’ve wanted!” Shouting “you are so narcissistic, Rebecca, I don’t know how you’ve made it thus far!” Gary isn’t usually a shouter, actually I can maybe count the times he’s yelled at me on one hand.

“Party in the house” by Sasha on the couch at Bowmore

Sunday November 18, 2018
9:43am
5 minutes
Overheard at the Fairmont Pacific Rim

When Pawpaw gets home Gramma makes a big party and we even get to have pop! Sprite and Pepsi. Clyde mixes them together and then laughs and some comes out his nose. I try not to pee when I laugh at him with that brown stuff coming out, but I think I do a little bit, but not enough that anyone would know. Pawpaw hasn’t been home in TWENTY SIX years, since right before Daddy was born. Before Daddy went to prison he would take me to visit Pawpaw and we’d even sometimes get touch, like once or twice that really happened.

“10-year anniversary” by Sasha on her couch

Saturday November 10, 2018
8:34am
5 minutes
Into the Raven’s Nest
Curranne Labercane

I can still hear my heart beating in my ears and the rush of blood to my scalp. He pulled his chair back and came around in front of his desk.

“What do you think your punishment should be for this bad behaviour, Miss Bennett?” He’s so close to me I can smell his musky aftershave.

“Um… I don’t know?” I’m fifteen. I have never been sent out of the classroom, let alone in a principle’s office.

He leans down close to my face. The heart beat in my ears. Rush of blood. It feels like every hair on my body is standing straight up.

I’d heard rumours about him. This kind of thing.

“for young students who can’t sit still” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Thursday November 8, 2018
6:11pm
5 minutes
From the Beginning
Chelsey Burnside

Mickey makes the sign of the cross and rolls his eyes back into his head so that only the whites are showing. Sister Helen waddles to the front of the class and we all try not to laugh. We don’t want to get our knuckles smacked with her big protractor. She whips her head around and Mickey is still going, crossing himself faster and faster, tongue hanging out of his mouth. No one moves. Sister Helen narrows her eyes.

“Mr. Fitzgerald, do you need to visit the nurse?” Her voice could cut ice.

“No, ma’am…” Mickey says, quietly.

“WHAT DID YOU SAY?!”

“No, Sister Helen.”

“The biggest personality among this trio” by Sasha at her counter

Wednesday November 7, 2018
6:52pm
5 minutes
High Living
Jacqueline Ranit

Becca has the biggest personality of the three of us, I would say. Then comes Miranda and then comes me. I’m the quiet one. I’m not a wallflower, I mean I’ve french kissed a few people and puffed on a couple of joints even, I’m not, like, a nerd or anything. We’re semis. Not popular and not not popular. Semi popular. People in the caf don’t totally ignore us and if Miranda gets a new mini-backpack or something then someone might say something, might give her a compliment and then give Becca a compliment on her gold hoops and then maybe give me a compliment on my haircut. I didn’t get a haircut exactly, but I’ve stopped straightening my hair which means that it does look shorter.

“the woman’s anonymous appearance” by Julia at her desk

Sunday November 4, 2018
10:21pm
5 minutes
Beauty Beheld
Sara Harowitz

She shivers from her shoulders down to her thighs
crossed tightly feeling a little tremble forcing its way in
He hasn’t noticed how cold the house had gotten
hot blooded, covered in thick skin built for winter
It was bad enough that her whole body was prone to shaking
but she didn’t know how to fix the heat
Chalk it up to co-dependency
She’d rather that than have you think she is just too afraid
to learn how to do it on her own
He tells her he’ll be home for dinner, remarks something about
chicken thighs
She thinks about walking into the oven chest first
but having it on would at least warm up the kitchen
When he leans in to kiss her, he misses her mouth by an almost inch

“the woman’s anonymous appearance” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Sunday November 4, 2018
8:21am
5 minutes
Beauty Beheld
Sara Harowitz

The woman appears in what she always knew she’d be wearing in this moment, an outfit she’s thought about more than any other thing in her life, though she’s loathed to admit that, she’d never admit that.

Horowitz calls the woman into his office. She’s ready – cheek’s flushed, breath deep, hands shaking only slightly. Horowitz recently died his hair black and the woman isn’t used to it yet. It looks severe, menacing even.

“How are you, Katrina?” Horowitz doesn’t stand up when she enters, even though he should, and he knows it. He takes her in, toes to scalp. The woman bristles. This isn’t going as she’d planned.

“Thanks for meeting with me, Henry. I appreciate your time.” She sits down in one of the red leather chairs opposite his desk. He leans back.

“What’s up?” He pulls a file from the top drawer and files his left thumb nail.

“I have worked here for three and a half years. I have managed every account you’ve given me to the best of my ability, and received only glowing praise from clients. I know it. You know it.” She uncrosses her legs, feels her feet firmly planted on the floor.

“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.

“the hell days” by Julia on the 99

Saturday November 3, 2018
9:52am
5 minutes
Soil, Sun, and Soon
Daenna Van Mulligen

I thought daylight savings was yesterday. I was worried I missed out on that one feeling a year you get when you realize you had an extra hour of sleep. When I woke up I still felt tired. These are the hell days. When 7am looks like 4am and there seems to be no real good reason to leave the bed. Except for all the reasons that catch up before noon. The ones you should have written down the night before. The ones you should have already internalized.
Some of this grey has seeped into my good intentions. It’s like a drop of water landing perfectly in the dry speaker of your phone. Everything sounds blurry. You want to throw the whole thing away and start over. But the hell days don’t let you start over. They make you travel to the bottom of the bottom to show you just how deep this sadness lives. They want you to look it in the face and apologize or something. For what, I’m still not sure. It wants you to see what you’re getting good at avoiding.

“Hard as it may be to believe” by Sasha on her bed

Tuesday October 2, 2018
8:46pm
5 minutes
Beneath Our Feet
Redfern Jon Barrett

Frida sings me a lullaby and I toss and turn and hope that someone – anyone – might save me from myself.

It doesn’t have to be you, although that would be ideal.

You, fresh from the shower and smelling of sand and amber. You, seeming to have grown a few inches overnight – how do you do that? You, sweet mermaid man, good to the bone, knowing the perfect amount of honey for tea and exactly how to light a room a dusk.

“what day she was born,” by Sasha at her desk

Saturday September 29, 2018
6:01pm
5 minutes
The World’s Oldest Person
Elizabeth Onusko

when mama forgets the day that daisy was born everyone knows that’s it. probably any day now. uncle bert hid the vodka, the whiskey and the gin. mama was drinking everything in sight, and that makes her worse, that makes things worse for everyone. chloe sings to her, “rock-a-by-baby” and all the songs mama used to sing to us when we had nightmares. daisy, poor thing it’s her birthday, makes a sponge cake with whipped cream and sliced strawberries. we bring mama a slice in bed and she chokes and coughs but says that it’s delicious. she’s right. it is. “good job, daisy,” chloe says and I play with her hair the way she likes.

“The first time you park your car” by Sasha on her couch

Wednesday September 26, 2018
5:21pm
5 minutes
The Cure for Racism is Cancer
Tony Hoagland

The first time you park your car outside the bungalow where Marv and I are staying, I know you’re there before I hear the engine shut off or the door slam. I close my eyes and take a deep breath. You’re probably doing the same.

Three knocks on the front door and I’m there, face pressed against the foggy glass. You can’t see me, but I’m sure as hell you know I’m there.

“Betsy?” Your voice. I haven’t heard your voice in three years, seven months, three days. “Betsy… I know you’re there.”

“you should have asked me nicely” by Sasha on her couch

Monday September 24, 2018
10:04pm
5 minutes
Overheard on the 4 bus

I stand up and I feel his eyes on me. I walk towards the bathroom and then turn around. I’m not going to take this shit.

“Do you have something that you need to say to me?”

“Uh,” he looks at his buddies like I’m the creep.

“You’ve been staring at me for over an hour. I’m trying to enjoy my book and my beverage, and all I feel is your eyes baring a whole in every vulnerable part of my body. Have some respect. Stop fucking looking at me.”

“Is it that time of the month?” Buddy A winks.

“My menstrual cycle is far too important to enter this conversation.”

“They must have math class” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Wednesday September 19, 2018
7:48am
5 minutes
Wakaranai
Hanako Masutani

“Math class give me the sweats!” Ramona shouts from the top of the stairs.

“This homework isn’t going to do itself!” Pho stands in the kitchen, almost raising her voice. “What will your Mom say when she gets home?” Pho listens. She waits. She hears the door slam upstairs, and then slow, heavy footsteps across the hall. At a snail’s pace, Ramona descends.

“I hate integers…” Ramona plops into a stool at the kitchen island, her knapsack beside her filled with books. Pho loads the dishwasher.

“I know, sweetie, try your best.”

Ramona takes out her textbook and her spiral bound notebook. She sharpens a pencil.

“The longer you procrastinate, the later it’s going to be and then you’ll be more tired and your brain will – ”

“I’m DOING IT!” Ramona huffs her way through the first few practise problems.

“a multitude of mouths” by Sasha at her desk

Friday September 14, 2018
8:58pm
5 minutes
SWITCH/CHASE
Ben Rawluk

“I don’t believe in that,” Kelsey shakes her head and picks a lemon seed out of her water glass. Jem has been talking about orgies and polyamory and how as descendants of apes we are meant to have many mates – “Many, many mates!”

“It’s not a matter of belief,” Jem says, leaning in across the candle-lit table.

“Everything’s a matter of belief, my love,” Kelsey looks Jem right in the eye and they both laugh.

Their food arrives – Kelsey’s pesto pasta and garlic bread, Jem’s burger with caesar salad.

“Do you ever just want to say fuck it and move to the country and keep bees and make preserves and sing in a choir?” Kelsey steals a crouton from Jem’s plate.

“Of course! But will I do such a thing before I’m all wrinkled and grey and surrounded by dogs and cats and parakeets?! NO WAY!”

“and a quiet evening sipping whiskey” by Sasha on her couch

Wednesday September 12, 2018
7:02am
5 minutes
Mr. Bright Eyes
John Barton

He calls and tells me that he misses me. I want to hear it from the one who hasn’t been drinking whiskey, the one who wakes up and washes the dishes, the one who plays basketball with the lanky teenagers in the courts by the community centre. I always said that I’d wait for you. I always said that I’d be able to. Now, though, it feels as though time moves faster and people are dying, and being born, and how are we wasting time on things that aren’t true? He calls and tells me that he misses me and I pull the phone away from my ear so that he can’t hear the catch in my throat, the tiny “me too,” the deep breath, the tear rolling down towards my upper lip.

“and all the sheets drift jazz” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Sunday September 2, 2018
8:10pm
5 minutes
Bad Boy’s Slut Song
Nick Comilla

Raymond plays jazz at the Rex on Sunday afternoons. I’m there because Nicola likes to go, not because I really care about jazz. But Raymond does something to a trumpet that I can’t quite articulate. He shows us how music can be, who we can be, what a wild heart actually looks like. The rest of us are fakers. I used to play, but I got tired of staying out late and having the schmooze and kiss ass and all the rest of it. Raymond doesn’t play those games. He plays his set, drinks a cranberry soda at the bar, chats a bit with the regulars, and then walks home. He doesn’t make a big deal about it. He’s just living his life.

“And we created a hybrid,” by Sasha at her desk

Monday August 27, 2018
7:15am
5 minutes
Poetry Is The Song Of The People
Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha

Finally they are laughing again. It happens without them knowing. Sat around the table, eating homemade caesar salad and garlic bread and baked zucchini. Who knows what was even said, or what was even funny, but they are laughing and they haven’t in a long time, not all of them. When you lose a child, or a sibling, when you lose someone young, you forget how to laugh, or they did. We can’t speak in generalizations, but it’s easy to imagine that this is what happens, that this is what the grip of grief does, that this is what it’s like now. Finally they are laughing again, on this Monday at the end of August, as summer wanes and traffic buzzes and a fruit fly lands on the pineapple on the counter.

“Bible under his arm,” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Saturday August 18, 2018
7:40am
5 minutes
The Unbreakable Thread
David James Duncan

Things got weird when Malcolm started carrying his Bible under his arm. People didn’t take a lot of notice in the first week, thinking it was just some new strange thing he was up to. But a month in, Betty sat her son down.

“Malcolm, why are you carrying around that Lord book all the dang time?!”

Malcolm thought for a moment before answering. Not his usual.

“I’m a Christian now, Mom,” he took the Bible out from under his arm and put it on the kitchen table. “And I suggest that you start reading the Holy Book before your soul is too tarnished to save.”

“What the he – heck, Malcolm! When did this – …?”

Just at that moment Tammy came in the door hollering about lasagna. She was still in her volleyball uniform.

“What’s the matter with you two?” Tammy opened the fridge and drank milk from the carton.

“slow puffs of steam” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Thursday August 16, 2018
6:02pm
5 minutes
What Happened During The Ice Storm
Jim Heynen

She bakes because her favourite thing is the smell of bread rising, butter browning, cookies crisping. She bakes because her mother bakes, and her grandmother baked, and so on and so forth.

She limits her baking to Saturday, and brings the treats to her meditation group on Sunday afternoon.

“These are the best lemon squares I have ever had, Rachel,” says Glenn, who lead today and accidentally hit the gong with his foot when he was readjusting his seated position.

“Aw, thanks,” she says, and she knows he’s telling the truth. Her lemon squares are the best.

“You should open a bakery,” says Carol.

“I’ve thought of it, but I worry that if it’s my job I won’t love it as much anymore.”

“Maybe you’ll come to love it even more,” Glenn smiles. “That’s just as much of an option…”

“the splendid ugliness of this disguise.” By Sasha at her kitchen table

Sunday August 12, 2018
7:36pm
5 minutes
Ode to Invisibility
Ellen Bass

I buy another black pair of jeans, another white T-shirt, a blue blazer, a grey pair of leggings. $364.99. I buy a coffee at Starbucks. $6.21. I buy food from the hot bar at Whole Foods. $14.10. I Car2Go home. $6.45. I sit on my $2,475 couch and I go on Facebook and I see that fucking Cathy is in the Dominican Republic again. Who is that disgusting hottie she’s holding onto is that her new boyfriend SHOOT ME?! HOW DOES SHE DO IT. Onto Expedia. I text Jacquie, “What are you doing next week?” I see that she’s typing back, and then she stops, and then she types, and then she stops. “What the fuck?!” I throw my phone across the room and luckily it lands on the footstool. $220.

“Hear splash blue” by Sasha on her balcony

Saturday August 4, 2018
2:42pm
5 minutes
Here Room Sleeps
Dale Smith

“Do you hear that?” Mimi tilts her head up, and cocks it a little to the right.

“No…” This happens often, but I play along. I got a good sleep last night so I’m feeling game.

“It’s it’s it’s it’s BLUE!” Mimi laughs.

“You’re hearing the blue?”

“M-hmm.”

“Mimi, how are you hearing a colour?”

“It’s easy! You just feel in your tummy and your tongue and some other places like maybe the liver or the kidney! And it’s clear that it’s BLUE.”

I haven’t heard her explain something like this before, about her experience of the world.

“Mama, are you crying?” She touches my face.

“he had this reputation because” by Sasha on her balcony

Sunday July 22, 2018
10:21pm
5 minutes
Under The Skin
Michel Faber

He deserves this reputation like he deserves the calluses on his feet and the chapped lips. He deserves the ridicule and the rundown. He deserves everything that’s happening to him. Forgiveness is a hoax. Compassion is a joke. He deserves to rot in the bottom of a well, like the fairy tales always say. He deserves sunburns, cancer, ulcers, dementia. Don’t look at me like I’m being a bitch. I am not being a bitch. I am being real, I am being powerful, I am being truthful and articulate and I am on fucking fire.

“I need my medicine” by Sasha on her balcony

Saturday July 14, 2018
7:55pm
5 minutes
overheard at Genavie’s house 

I need my medicine, Charlie! I need it right now! If you don’t bring me my medicine, I’m gonna divorce you, Charlie! CHARLIE! Oh. There you are. Thank you. Thank you so much. You know that I can’t make it down the stairs on bad days and today is a bad bad day! Charlie? Are you upset? Why do you look irritated? Are you – … Are you angry? Doctor said that you’d need to pay extra close attention during healing and that means medicine every three hours. You know that. How could you possibly be irritated?! Shit. It’s almost three thirty. Bella and Jeffrey need to be picked up because Hennie is at chemo! You have to go. The drugs haven’t kicked in yet!

“Where every member is a minister” by Sasha at her desk

Monday July 9, 2018
10:03am
5 minutes
from a business card

She dreams of parliament. She dreams of platforms. She dreams of knowing how to articulate all the change that she wants to make and that everyone listens. She dreams she’s speaking to a cabinet of women. Some are stretching. Some are breastfeeding. Some are rolling their eyes. Some are interrupting. She dreams that they find their way. She dreams of a world where she might prioritize childcare, elder care, health care. CARE. She dreams of being allowed to fail and that failure won’t haunt her. She dreams of risk. She dreams of loss. She dreams of calling another leader and deciding she will unleash the tidal wave of wrong-doings.

“gros bisous!” by Sasha on her balcony

Monday June 25, 2018
9:36pm
5 minutes
​from an e-mail​

Mike makes eyes at me across the bar and my stomach drops. Am I going to shit my pants?! FUCK. I go to the bathroom. Pull down my shorts. All good. All safe.

“Why are you so weird around him?” Bec asks and I just hit her on the arm a bit harder than usual.

“Hey Alison, how’s it goin’?” Why does he come here? Why does he do this? Why is he here? Take. Me. Away. I vacate my body and I fly above us and I see how I’m sweating in every crevice and he’s salivating and we’re both remembering.

“When do you go back to London?”

“Not until August… We still got time…”

“You never had my time – “

“I beg to differ – “

“Fuck you.”

“Woah…”

Bec comes over and all she heard was the “fuck” part she didn’t hear the rest she didn’t hear the thunder.

“I have two more weeks to pack” by Sasha on her balcony

Saturday June 23, 2018
9:10pm
5 minutes
From a text

I have two more weeks to pack. I have TWO WEEKS! STOP LOOKING AT ME LIKE THAT! fucking hate packing, truth be told, and anyone who says that they enjoy it is a liar. Really! I mean what is there to like? You’re faced with all of your shit that is haunted with all the bad choices that you’ve made, and you always find a photo you wish you didn’t still have or a card or something… Every time I move, I get rid of tons of stuff but then by the time I move again I’ve accumulated an equally hideous amount of shit. I hate it! UGH! Wanna help me do it?! I’ll get boxes from the wine store and I’ll order pizza and I’ll love you forever?!

“Jesus do I have to even get out of bed” by Sasha at her desk

Monday June 4, 2018
11:32pm
5 minutes
From an interview by Devin Friedman

Ben calls to me from upstairs, “Jesus, do I have to even get out of bed?!” It’s the third morning in a row that he hasn’t wanted to crawl out from under the covers. It’s the third morning that I’ve wooed him with bacon, extra coffee, pancakes, sex in the kitchen. These tactics don’t always work, but they sometimes do, so I try.

“It’s almost ten, babe!” I call back. I hope he smells the brewing french press. I hope he hears the love in my voice, and not just the impatience.

“literally naked, mopping, and crying ‪at midnight‬” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Sunday June 3, 2018
10:55pm
5 minutes
Quoted by Sienna Miller

Mopping the floors at the end of the night is my favourite part of running a bar. I used to like the conversations that I’d have with customers – giving advice about unruly preteens, counselling on break-ups, weighing in on the best marinara recipe. That used to be my favourite part. But things change, we change. Now, after two, once everyone has left, I turn the music up loud. Maybe Sade or Tina Turner. Whitney if I’m feeling extra. I fill the bucket with water and a few drops of soap. It gets really sudsy. I’ve already put all the stools and chairs on top of tables. I dance with the mop and sing and take my time. I take my time.

“I’m not sure” by Sasha at her desk

Monday May 28, 2018
10:56pm
5 minutes
From an email

I’m not sure what you mean when you say that you’re going to “quit life”. I know you don’t mean off yourself, that wouldn’t be your style. I know that I stopped going to see you after a few weeks – I hate hospitals! I’m sorry! I made it so many times in those first weeks and… I’m sorry. I really am. You need to get it together and recognize the progress that you’ve made, Eileen. One day at a time, you know?! You can’t expect yourself to recover overnight. You need to be patient. Look. I’ll come and see you a few times a week, I’ll bring a DVD, or some takeout, and we’ll hang out, okay? Maybe you’re lonely. That’s probably it.

“Why though” by Sasha on the walk to Granville Island

Saturday May 26, 2018
11:43am
5 minutes
From a text

Marina asks a million questions and it isn’t even seven. I don’t want to sound ungrateful, I mean we wanted her so bad, right, like we tried for three years and I was beside myself, I was so sad… We wanted her so bad. But the questions, man, I can’t fucking take it! I don’t know why the sky is blue?! I don’t know why grass grows up?! I don’t know how tree root systems work! Good grief, I barely know how to solve a fraction! She’s only three! What am I going to do when she’s seven… or nine… or fifteen!? Like, I’m freakin’ out! Why why why why why why – like, I’m losing my mind, I tell ya!

“The job wasn’t that bad.” By Sasha at her desk

Tuesday May 8, 2018
8:15pm
5 minutes
Dirty Work
Nancy Matson

The job wasn’t that bad. It was the people. It wasn’t even the people. It was the person. She’d never met anyone like Mel, so angry, so vile, so bitter, so angry, so two-faced, so angry. She’d never met anyone like her.

“You’re a real asset here, Beth,” Mel said back in October.

“Aw, that’s kind of you to say. Thank you.”

“Any chance you’ve got the time to proof my pitch for the Silverstein’s?”

“Uh, I mean, I have an appointment at five thirty, but – …”

“Reschedule?”

“I… I can’t.”

“But I need your help.”

“When is the meeting?”

“Tomorrow morning!” Her voice started to get louder.

“Why are you just asking me – “

“Never mind. I’ll stay up all night. Whatever.”

“I, I’ll… I’ll help you. I just have to leave by five…”

“Whatever.”

“It works excellent!” By Sasha at her kitchen table

Thursday May 3, 2018
11:11pm
5 minutes
From BUNZ trading zone

I want a really nice blender. One of those high-powered bad boys that will make nut butter, salad dressing, and grind fresh flour. So sue me! I want a really nice six hundred dollar blender. Please don’t lecture me about my privilege. I know all about it. My privilege chokes me half the time so that I’m voiceless and like, I might be white but my Mom was a single mother and she raised my two brothers and I in a trailer park on three hundred dollars a month in child support payments so please don’t lecture me on privilege. I just want a goddamn blender that really works.

“I can’t get rid of useful things” by Sasha on her couch

Tuesday May 1, 2018
9:19pm
Carpet Bomb
Kenyatta Rogers

“Never get rid of useful things,” Homer says, leafing through a Chinese food take-out menu from 1993. The restaurant’s closed. He’s comparing prices of spring rolls and proving his point about inflation. I wouldn’t call Homer a pack rat, or a hoarder, but I would call him a bonafeid collector. They say that our greatest gift, is also our greatest challenge, and that definitely applies to Homer.

“Come prepared with questions” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Friday April 27, 2018
7:33pm
5 minutes
From the Verses Festival of Words 2018 program

He got there first. I’m early. He’s got a beard. He didn’t have a beard when I googled him, none of the photos did. His beard has grey in it. His hair is dark, almost-black but not quite. He has dark eyes, too. Very white, very straight teeth.

“You must be Lucy?” He reaches out a hand, he stands up, he reaches out a hand and it’s warm.

“Hi, it’s so nice to meet you. Thank you for agreeing to do this…” I’m shaking. We sit. I order a sparkling water. He says something about needing to eat. I can’t imagine eating, so I say I already did, even though I didn’t. “I have some questions prepared,” I pull my notebook out of my backpack.

“Response rate: 100%” by Sasha on the 17

Thursday April 26, 2018
9:52pm
5 minutes
poparide.com

Our third Thanksgiving all together, Babs teaches Simon and me how to make a mirepoix – two parts onion, to one part celery, and one part carrot. Babs peels her carrots, but when Simon and I make it later, and she isn’t around, we don’t, almost like we’re honouring Mom.

Mom was a lover of peasant food, or at least that’s what she’d call it. Nothing fancy. As few pots as possible. She made a great Dahl. She used to pack it in our lunches and the other kids would wrinkle their noses when we opened our thermoses, steaming lentils and curry. We weren’t embarrassed. Maybe it’s because we always had eachother, Simon and I. Being a twin is weird. But you do always have someone, and that’s nice.

Babs never asks us to call her anything but “Babs”, not like Dad’s second wife who insisted we call her “Maman”.

“I found an opossum” by Sasha at Jamjar

Monday April 23, 2018
2:39pm at Jamjar
5 minutes
Dirty Work
Nancy Matson

I found an opossum in the garden and I don’t know if you’ve ever seen one but they are strange looking little things. Marsupials, I think.

Fran used to have a book on all the wild critters that might be on the land and sometimes, and I remember once, when she was reading this book in her orange chair, she called to me in my study,

“George! The female opossum’s reproductive system includes a bifurcated vagina, and a divided uterus! Can you believe it!?!”

I laughed then, and I do again now, thinking of her wonder and curiosity about all of God’s strange creatures.

“When I came down from the attic” by Julia at her desk

Monday April 16, 2018
1:17am
5 minutes
The Portrait
Stanley Kunitz

we never had things in our attic
mom was more of basement type
as in hit the bottom of the rung
type sit on the unfinished concrete
floor in the dark type
the attic was much too high up
too close to God
filled with insulation and spider
webs but not memories of us in
picture form or moth eaten sweater
reminders of our carelessness
of hers
she didn’t like to hide our things
away in a place that might collapse
wanted to be closer to the earth
just in case the apocolypse hit
she made herself a home down there
and on Sundays we were allowed to
visit if we brough her the yogurt
in the tubes and the frozen thyme
in the ice trays

“You could get lost there.” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Tuesday April 17, 2017
12:02am
Up
Margaret Atwood

“Claire?” A gentle, but assured knock. “Are you alright?”

How long have I been here? How long have I been hosting a Moon Circle for one?

“Um, yes, yes, I am. Be right out.” I pull up my underwear (threadbare and elastic a bit stretched out), my jeans, and then realize I forgot to wipe. GET IT TOGETHER, CLAIRE. Back down, wipe, up, wash hands, holy eff, here we go.

“Come on in,” Noreen opens the door to her office and I go first. She is the perfect gentlewoman.

A lavender couch underneath a window. Spider plants, succulents and African Violets line the sill. Not one dry leaf. Of course she has a green thumb. She sits in a caramel leather chair, perhaps Moroccan. Paintings on the walls, all in blues, greens, purples.

“When I came down from the attic” by Sasha on her couch

Monday, April 16, 2018
10:03pm
5 minutes
The Portrait
Stanley Kunitz

When I came down from the attic Elizabeth was crying. Mama was in her room with the door locked. Jimmy wasn’t home from his job at the gas station.

“Elizabeth,” I said, “Let’s go have a slice of pie.” Snotty-nosed, and tear stained, I picked her up and we went downstairs.

Because the kitchen is right below Mama’s room, we could hear her clamouring around, slamming drawers, and slurring words.

“Why’s Mama shouting?” Elizabeth asked, lower lip quivering.

“She’s just tired, sweetheart,” I said, trying to forget the photographs I’d seen, trying to forget the feeling of the silk of the wedding dress against my skin.

“Why were you up there for so long?” Elizabeth was eating the pie now, right out of the pie plate, and so was a bit calmer.

“Jon came home” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Friday, April 13, 2018
5:22pm
5 minutes
Modern Grief
Nancy Westaway

Jon comes home and he’s angry and shivering.

“What’s for dinner?” He says, like I know, or I’m keeping it a secret.

“I just got home too, Jon,” I say, and he doesn’t like that. He opens and closes the fridge a few times. Same with the pantry cupboards.

“Can ya make something hot? It was all icy on the rig today.” Jon fills the kettle, which I can’t say I’ve ever seen him do.

“How about spaghetti?” I lean back in my chair.

“Spaghetti?” A small smile curls over his lips, like fog.

“No?” I watch him turn on the wrong burner, and then realize and move the kettle.

“Spaghetti sounds good.”

“Wild Birds Unlimited” by Sasha on the plane

Tuesday April 3, 2018
5:24pm
5 minutes
From a storefront on West Broadway

When Kimbra takes the podium, we listen. We stop chewing bubblegum, and picking knee scabs, and looking at cutie-pie Hammy MacDonald with the freckles and the swimmer’s shoulders. Today’s debate is about Saddam Hussein and I don’t even know which side Kimbra’s on but she’s winning, she’s always winning.

“Look at her eyebrows,” Jimmy says and I am, and I do again, fresh slate, eyes blink, there they are the most perfect caterpillars.

“Do you think she waxes or plucks?” I say, not looking away.

“Neither,” whispers Jimmy, and goshdarnit, I think he’s right.

“And made of no special wood.” By Julia at her desk

Sunday April 1, 2018
10:40pm
5 minutes
Afterward
Mark Rudman

And maybe I should have turned around then, when he was pressing himself into me. Bending me over at the crease of my dress, his hands roaming in and out and around. Maybe I should have kissed him then, when he was busy wanting me. I didn’t do anything. I moaned a little. I liked how hard he got at the curve of me. In that moment, his desire was enough. I should have closed my eyes sooner, out of respect for him and for me. He couldn’t see my eyes, but they were scanning the backyard and the pigeon shit on the barbeque. He didn’t know that I was moaning a little on cue at the same time as deciding to change the tarp. Things take longer when the mind is wandering on the deck outside the window of romance. He told me he liked my dress and I told him I liked pretending to be his secretary. He let it slip that Joan’s hugged her hips a little tighter.

“And made of no special wood.” By Sasha at the Airbnb in Saskatoon

Sunday April 1, 2018
8:13am
5 minutes
Afterward
Mark Rudman

I have something that I need to tell you and I’ve been putting it off because I’m a scared scared person, but it’s all getting too much and so I need to – … Because you are more well-read and educated on all of this, and have spent so much more time in the world of climate change education, I notice that I often feel like I am being educated and explained to when we’re discussing the upcoming re-writing of Bill 1305. On the one hand, I love getting the education and so appreciate all of your knowledge and expertise! On the other hand, it can be disempowering and I leave these sessions feeling like I don’t know anything and don’t have a doctorate and can’t articulate half of what I want to say… Does that make sense? Am I even making any sense?

“into an unmarked grave” by Sasha at the BMO Theatre Centre

Monday March 26, 2018
7:36pm
5 minutes
Alternate History
Bill Glose

It’s okay if all you want to do is eat corndogs and pick your scabby nails. It’s totally fine if you want to bite your toenails and only drink orange Gatorade. I’m not gonna judge you! I’m not ever gonna judge you. That’s not what roommate life is about. Seriously, Kyle.

Who am I to judge?! We all do weird shit, man. It’s part of being human. I’m just gonna put it out there that when I first moved out on my own, I stayed up until like five in the morning every damn day because I could. I get it. Eat the ice cream for breakfast! Do it! You’re a fucking grown man with his own bedroom in his own apartment that he pays for with his own money! GR-YAH!

“Bill and Madge” by Sasha at her desk

Sunday, March 25, 2018
8:42pm
5 minutes
The Wreck Up Ahead
Poe Ballentine

Bill and Madge meet in their fifties. Bill is younger by five years. Madge had been married once, fresh out of nursing school, but Lionel was a drinker and so she left after a year and a half. Bill had never been married. He’d lived with a woman once, Genevieve, in Montreal, in the 80’s. Bill was an illustrator, working mostly in children’s books and magazines. He’d been mostly successful, which is really something given that career path. Madge was a gardener, and then a midwife, and then a bread maker, and then a gardener again, and then an early childhood educator. She swears that she used to read her students books that Bill had drawn pictures for.

“I thought my love would never recover.” By Sasha at her kitchen table

Wednesday March 21, 2018
11:00pm
5 minutes
A quote by Madeleine L’Engle

The sun rises hot and thick on the horizon in the desert. You shave your legs into the sink. You haven’t seen anyone in thirteen weeks and you fucking hate it. You nick your calf, halfway between your knee and your ankle. A raindrop. Blood. Your mother didn’t shave her legs. A raindrop. You smile at yourself in the medicine cabinet mirror and then make a face like a monster. You splash cold water on your blood raindrop and wipe your legs with yesterday’s T-shirt.

“Sometimes I can hear Harry’s voice” by Sasha at her desk

Tuesday, March 20, 2018
11:09am
5 minutes
#WeAreHarryChang
Thomas Lee

Sometimes I can hear Harry’s voice. Especially when I’m driving. Especially on the highway. Especially at night. Harry’s voice is just like it was – booming, deep, a bit of lilt to it, like at any moment he might break into some kind of dirge. He’s usually telling me to slow down, but the words he chooses are never, “Slow down.” He says something like,

“Beni, driving is best enjoyed with the window open and slow like molasses.”

Or,

“Slow and steady wins the race, my boy.”

When my Mom married Harry, I hated him. He was so big, and had baseball gloves for hands, or, that’s what I thought when I met him. I’d never seen someone so tall.

“boys can be dangerous.” by Sasha at Physio Room

Monday, March 19, 2018
6:53pm
5 minutes
Undue Familiarity
Ellen Collett

“Eeny, meeny, miny, moe,
Catch a tiger by the toe.
If he hollers, let him go,
Eeny, meeny, miny, moe.”

Sofie is the fastest girl in her class and all the nine-year-olds love nothing more than watching Gurmeet (the fastest boy) chase her.

“RUNNNNNNN!”

“Fasterrrrrr!”

“She’s so fast, ohmygosh, look at her go!!!!”

“Gurmeet Gurmeet Gurmeeeeeet! You can’t catch her! She’s fast as the wind!”

He can’t. It’s true.

“The next time he comes over” by Sasha at Harrison Hot Springs

Saturday, March 17, 2018
5:42pm
5 minutes
The Possible Universe
Claire Halliday

The next time he comes over I’m gonna tell him. Promise. I know that he has the right to know. I know it’s wrong that I’ve kept it secret. When he’s away, I don’t know, I just… I get in my groove. Not like I could forget. I’ve never felt so sick in my life. Mama says that she didn’t even know she was pregnant with me until four months in! I can’t even imagine. It was like three days after he knocked me up, I was vomiting up my cereal before strapping on my uniform and going in to work. He’s supposed to come over on Wednesday. I said I’d make Chicken a la King. Ever had that?

“seemed to love us anyway” by Sasha on her couch

Friday, March 16, 2018
7:23am
5 minutes
Beauty: 1976
Ruth L. Shwartz

I have lots of keys to lots of very important places and for once in my life I feel like I’m worth something, Rudy! Can you understand that?! I spent forty-six years doing everything for everybody and then you just, I mean, I just woke up one morning and thought, “That’s IT. I’m DONE.” I’ve got keys to the storage locker, and Mom’s place, and Wendy’s cottage and the Dawson’s whose dogs I walk when they go out of town to visit their kids in Sherbrook! I’ve probably got even more keys than that! It’s a lot of keys! I’ve earned them! I’ve earned the trust to have them! RUDY!

“Jobs for college students” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Sunday March 11, 2018
3:01pm
5 minutes
Seediness

Mina never had to work. When we all got babysitting jobs, she’d go and get her nails done. Sometimes it seemed like she was jealous that we had to work, that we needed to change diapers and wash caked on macaroni off of plastic plates in order to be able to go and see the newest Fast and the Furious. In college, Mina got her first job serving beer and nachos at the student union pub and quit after her third shift. “It’s so gross,” she cried, “all the bits of food in the bottom of the sink.”

“Oh my god it HURTS!” By Sasha at Anytime Fitness

Wednesday March 7, 2018
8:31pm
The Stand
Stephen King

Hands on hips and butt naked Martha gives me a look like I’m never escaping. “But you lied to me!” She shouts at the top of her lungs.

“It’s a white lie…” I look at Billie, her mother, and Billie tries not to smile.

“I don’t even know what the is!” Martha wails.

“Why don’t you put on your pyjamas, sweetie,” says Billie and Martha slowly goes to her purple dresser and chooses a striped nightgown. It’s flannel. Billie made it.

“You’ve both really disappointed me,” Martha says, and we can’t help but laugh now. We laugh and laugh and then she laughs a bit too.

“Will you still give me a loonie? Even if the tooth fairy won’t? Can we pretend that she’s real? Just til I’m eight?”

Billie and I pinky swear.

“If you have any questions” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Tuesday March 6, 2018
7:32am
5 minutes
Vancouver Yellow Cab

Allow me to jump ahead for a second. We don’t fall in love, and we don’t get married, and we don’t have three red-haired and freckled children. That doesn’t happen. What does is that I cheat on you thirteen times (eleven with men, twice with women). You forgive me ten times. The last three break you. Especially the women. I ask forgiveness every day with actions and words and neither matter and both make things hurt more. You pack a bag and take your grandmother’s lamp and walk out one morning and I lie on the floor and despite knowing I deserve it all I wail and slobber for forty eight hours.

“plush and pregnant into my palm” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Saturday, March 3, 2018
11:46pm
5 minutes
Ode to a Desiccated Olive
James Cagney

You used to make jokes about people like me. And now I’ve become one of those calorie counting, jegging wearing, decaf guzzling zombies. It wasn’t the kids. I can’t blame them. Change doesn’t happen overnight, it happens slowly, right? You used to mock the mother’s, smiling through a scream in the grocery store line-up, buying their kids Timbits in the drive thru just to shut them up for one fucking second?! Hahahaha! Ha. Joke’s on us I guess. You never wanted to be a father, or that’s what you said before Jonah started to look exactly like you and then it was all, “He’s the best little guy…” and “Jojo, say “Li-on”!”

“wedding bells at the airport” by Sasha at the Diamond Centre

Wednesday, February 28, 2018
8:47am
5 minutes
recovery
jessie read

Dev asked me to marry him in the bathroom at the airport. We were in one of those family bathrooms, where you’re only supposed to go if you have a baby or something. We don’t have one of those yet, but we needed to change into warmer clothes as we were still in our shorts and t-shirts. He said we didn’t have much time, that our connecting flight was leaving in under an hour and he wanted to eat something before getting back in the sky. He’s a man of few words, my Dev, so you should know that before I keep going. We were both in that bathroom, and all of a sudden he’s down on his knees and he’s crying. I’m like, “Dev, what the heck is wrong with you?” And, “Get up right now, this place is nasty!”

And then he looks up at me with those brown eyes all filled with tears and he says, “Gillian Larissa Warrington, will you marry me?”

I don’t know why he had to do it there, I never asked him and I never will because I don’t want him to think I thought it any less special. Who needs a fancy restaurant!

“for what little he had left” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Tuesday, February 27, 2018
10:02pm
5 minutes
Ordinary
Curtis LeBlanc

This place is good for my pen obsession. Roller tip, flowing ink, black, fine, blue, turquoise. Anytime I’m here, in the copy room, I have to be careful that I don’t get sticky fingers. That’s what Da used to call it, when me or one of the twins would pinch something at the corner store. “How’d ya get those sticky fingers, hey?” He’d say, shaking his big head. “Wasn’t from me, that’s fer sure,” he’d scold us and make us bring the thing back and then Mrs. Dowers would crouch down and look us in the eyes and say,

“Stealing is the devil’s work.” She’d be smiling a little, got some sort of sick pleasure out of tormenting the little ones. Fear of God in us, it’s be months before we pinched something again… at least Tyler, it’d be months before Tyler did. Me and Jim were good, it only took one of those talks.

“A queen travels” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Saturday, February 24, 2018
10:08pm
5 minutes
Winter Watch
Jennifer Elise Foerster

Mom sits us all down in the living room. Penny’s sucking her thumb and no one calls her out. Liam is playing on his Gameboy and Mom says, “Put your sh – STUFF away, please,” and that means that she really means business. She almost swore.

Dad won’t be home for another twelve minutes and so we just kind of sit there, waiting. “What’s going on?” Liam says.

“Put your socks back on,” Mom says, “your feet smell like Cheetos.”

I hear Dad’s key in the lock and jump up. “He’s home!” Finally. Phew. Penny might suck her thumb right off.

“We’re in the living room, Roberto,” says Mom and I’ve never heard her call him that. It sounds like another language, one that doesn’t belong in 326 Hemingway Avenue.

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

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

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

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

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

“Tell me about your Dad.”

“What do you want to know?”

“How long has he been sick?”

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

“Your mother?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Ninety pounds.” By Sasha at her kitchen table

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

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

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

“Hi Burl.”

“Hi Kenny.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“like a man swallowing clay.” By Sasha in the bath

Thursday January 25, 2018
10:43pm
5 minutes
Fish-Eye Marble
Sophia Lecker

Yogi swallows clay to clean out her toxins. Yogi does a headstand. Yogi drinks ginger – pure ginger – liquified. Yogi swallows soft white fabric and shits it out and pulls and now she’s clean.

Beth fries chicken in a cast iron skillet. Beth wipes her hands on a cloth that she found in the laundry room. It has small blue ducklings. She thinks it might belong to a baby. Beth stole from a baby.

Kenneth makes his fiftieth egg sandwich of the morning. He wonders if Jess is up yet. He hates working brunch.

“Well, God is perfectly fair.” By Sasha at the BMO Theatre Centre

Tuesday January 23, 2018
6:52pm
5 minutes
Institutional
Tamas Dobozy

I bring a book when I go to chemo with Tom. He never asked me to go with him but I do because it’s nice to spend time with him and everyone else is freaked out. Sometimes he doesn’t want to talk, in which case I read the Sports section or listen to a podcast. Lily’s got me into podcasts. I love them. Listen to them on my long drives. Tom didn’t tell us until he was really sick. He kept it from everyone except Sas. When he told me and Lily we both cried. It was the first time we’d done that together.

“It never rains but it pours;” by Sasha at Lewis St.

Sunday January 14, 2018
11:35pm
5 minutes
Bluegrass
Rhona McAdam

It’s hot as balls back here and Dylan keeps throwing prawn bits at me. Fuck off, I say, but he doesn’t.

When I first started here I was at the cold station, but now I’m at the fryer.

Chef said we’ve got some VIPs coming in tonight, but none of us ever want to know who.

We did three hundred and nine covers last night which might not sound like a lot but if you saw the size of our dining room, you’d get it.

Turns out the VIPs are a hockey player and his family, some old guy who doesn’t play anymore but is on the Sports Network now. I couldn’t give a fuck about hockey but I know more than to open my mouth in this kitchen. Dylan played AAA before having one too many concussions. He stares at the guy all night, grinding his teeth, flipping steaks on the grill.

“Does it not sound like shouting to them?” By Sasha at the Intercontinental Yorkville

Saturday January 13, 2018
5:46pm
5 minutes
The Sisters Brothers
Patrick DeWitt

Ginny goes to dance class. She takes the streetcar across town, and walks twelve minutes to the studio. She’s glad that she doesn’t have to wear a leotard, but that she does have to wear ballet slippers. She used to dance when she was young, but then her teacher, Natasha, said that she doesn’t contain an “iota of grace” and so she stopped. But it haunted her. Natasha’s British accent and her delivery, not exactly cruel in tone, but direct, icy. Ginny changes into shorts and a baggy tank top. She smiles at Leanne, a sixty-nine year old former pastry chef, who is wiggling into tights.

“if she was obligated to say” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Tuesday January 9, 2018
11:02pm
5 minutes
Pamplemousse
Dominique Bernier-Cormier

Monique makes the bed with hospital corners just the way Nana taught her. She tiptoes down the stairs. Ever since Graham became a teenager he’s been sleeping until the afternoon and he gets very very angry if anyone wakes him up. Dad says that it’s fair game after ten on the weekends, but it’s before seven so she’s got to stay quiet as a mouse. Dad must be out in the barn. She wonders how he slept last night. Sometimes she hears him pacing in his room hours and hours after she’s gone to bed.

“I analyzed four rape jokes” by Sasha at Anytime Fitness

Thursday January 4, 2017
6:09pm
Shrill
Lindy West

It smells like old bacon fat and pinecones here. I hate your apartment, but you don’t like going outside so you never come to mine. The TV plays the news news news news news. Turns to music if you let it. Turns to grime if you let it. It’s all a frame of mind. You reach over and touch my nipple with your beer can. OUCH. I go to the kitchen and open the fridge even though I’m not hungry. I’m not hungry. I think resolutions are bullshit but you like them so I humour you and we talk about them forever. And ever.

Yours:
More exercise (what else is new)
Less TV
Call your mother

Mine:
Less beer
More vegetables
Clean your front hall closet (just threw that one in so that you would think I really cared)