“The phone doesn’t ring” by Julia at her desk

Friday October 18, 2019
9:12am
5 minutes
Low Noon
Jim Ralston

When we took the phone of the hook we realized we liked it better just us three.
Bobbi cried less. I think it’s because she didn’t feel like we were going to
leave her to answer somebody else’s call. It should have always been this way
but when the phone rings, it’s another agonizing reminder that there isn’t
enough time in the day to keep up with everything being thrown at us. And
answering is sometimes the only thing we can control in a sea of chaos that
goes around buzzing whether we want it to or not.

And then it was quiet. Alistair finished his will and Bobbi napped in his
arms. We were afraid of this infinite reminder that one day we
would no longer hear his sound. How terrifying it is to think of your family
losing one member of its voice. Again, to things we can’t control no matter
how hard we tried.

The phone doesn’t ring now. We can connect it later if we want, but for today
while both Bobbi and Alistair are breathing, we don’t even think about what
we might have missed.

“We did all these things and more,” By Sasha at her kitchen table

Friday, Oct 11, 2019
7:28am
5 minutes
We Did
Brian Doyle
There were the seasons of planting the seeds
of good fortune and picking out the rocks from the
supple generous earth
sticky resilience
honey under fingernails
dirt on cheeks
There were phases of freezing toes
and shouting under a starless sky
Crescent moon asking for more more
more more more when she finally came
when she finally helped
New like the baby’s first glance
like the promise of spring
deep freeze full of bones and secrets
thought there was nothing left to say
but there always is
wisdom a crystal buried in the basement
growing every day
There were years of abundance
years of bushels of apples
sweet potato pies
rye bread in the oven
trading this for that
no need to pass bills between
trusted treasures
There were summers of black flies
zucchini’s the size of toddlers
lake swims and fires
snaking smoke to the
Seven Sisters
birch bark friendship bracelets
girls laughing

“The pulsating life force energy in such children” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Wednesday September 25, 2019
9:10pm
5 minutes
The Relationship Garden
Jock McKeen & Bennet Wong

Oh you
finding the timbre of your voice
the waterfall from
high to low
cascade down and
oh we are in raspberries
fields and fields of
pursed lips
emphatic cough
bumblebee giggle

the strength of your miracle

body
I am in awe of
how you kick legs
curl toes
grab with the power
of a herd of buffalo
propel forward
and back
forward

right to the edge

Oh you
five months old today
thigh rolls and curiosity
squeals of blessing
holding the gaze of
your grandparents
and strangers
holding the fingers
of love

clutching and growing
learning about the many
faces

of beauty

“So close to the end of my childbearing life” by Julia at her desk

Tuesday September 3, 2019
8:46pm
5 minutes
The Girl
Marie Howe

So close to the dream of what I used to believe in
and here we are smiling our hearts out at the little
ones down at the water, running or screaming, or
staring back at us with tiny fists.

I have never needed to prove my allegiance before
and I still don’t, but now I want to. I want to
give you a girl with a mix of our eyes or a boy
with your lips.

But when, when, it’s getting later and later and do
we stay here in this comfortable life for a little
while longer or do we fly fly like we talked about?

The cobble stone is calling us, the seaside, the
dream, the reason why you’re learning a new language
on Duolingo every morning and why we speak together
every night at dinner in a tongue that tickles.

How much longer do we put off this wishing, this
future of us joining hands with two more? How much
older can I be before we are ready to land…

Or do they co-exist, the new country and the new
baby, the new life and the new beating heart.
Do we all get what we need when we need it?

“So close to the end of my childbearing life” by Sasha on her couch

Tuesday September 3, 2019
7:32am
5 minutes
The Girl
Marie Howe

It was never a matter of if
it was only a matter of when
and the knock at the door started

months before we merged
magic and satisfaction
love and hope

the knock of your heart
on my heart

”let’s dance”
”it’s time”

Christmas time
three years ago
he told me he wanted
to have a baby together

He gave me a pacifier
and I behaved strangely

given that I’ve always known

It was the pacifier

Pacify
Placate
I don’t know
I was younger then
I didn’t know what I know now

I cried in the basement
of my parent’s house
the tree aglow two floors above

“Mandala-Image Dip” by Julia at her desk


Saturday August 31, 2019
9:36pm
5 minutes
Mandala
Margaret Collis

Okay is this our future? Me you and this baby
that we talked about having and then keep having
conversations about but only when the universe
decides to throw darts at us and prick us with
tiny messages from outside ourselves? Reminding
us that we are very much of the earth and on the
earth and of the people on the earth, not different
not unique, really, since aren’t those thoughts
my thoughts, and those words, yours? Didn’t I say
something like that yesterday or last month and
now, tonight, the woman in the play says the
same exact sentiment? Didn’t I write that play
one afternoon, one argument ago, one plea to
get married, one yes or no about the future?
Me and you and this baby that we’ve talked
about are all in the room now, not talking
about what might be true for them and us now
and in the future. This idea, this earth, we
are living on and in and for and it’s only
an idea, isn’t it? Only a fraction of what we
could be thinking about or acting upon, and the
actors tonight said the words. They said what
you’ve asked, and what I’ve denied, and everyone
in the room was crying so, is everyone having
this very same conversation? About the earth
and about the future and about babies and about
if we’re good people, or if we’re all lost…

“the shedding of lint” by Sasha at her desk

Saturday August 10, 2019
9:38pm
5 minutes
Laundromat
Carmen Pintea

Picking the lint out between your tiny bean toes is sweet satisfaction. Saying your name, a mantra, a call to dig deeper, go further, hold on, give it up, a wish. Burrowing my face in your neck – this love is eternal. This love is wilder than any love I’ve ever known. Words are strange weights, strange reaching, strange how things all line up and then don’t and then do. You see the truth of every moment, every interaction, know who to trust. God I hope you never lose that. You and me, I’d say quietly, those ten months, when things were the hardest. You and me. I can’t wait to see you in my sisters arms, my sister, my lifeline. I can’t wait for you to meet your cousins. I can’t wait to dance you around the first floor of the house in the woods, where I danced as a babe, where we all danced.

“your ability to project charismatic body language” by Sasha at her desk

Saturday July 27, 2019
5:38pm
5 minutes
The Charisma Myth
Olivia Fox Cabane

You do not know self consciousness
Your face the pure expression of feeling
You see the floral blanket and the joy
ripples from top to bottom explodes
out your tiny fingertips

It was hot last night and our naked bodies
touched through each dream and breath
Crescent moon eyelashes the very thing
I didn’t know I’d always dreamed of
Sweetness here now curled against my belly
the same one I felt a year ago in those
first appleseed days

Three months of knowing you
separate from my body
although that’s hardly true
Three months of you being here with us
giving back so much more than I thought possible
Why did I think it was going to be so hard?

Walking home from tying up frayed loose ends
it was easier than I thought
barely an effort really
effortless in it’s grace
I said to myself
“Why was I so afraid?”
and the sun on the sweetgrass growing
flooded me with the truth of
letting go

“They backed off right away” by Sasha in her bed

Tuesday June 25, 2019
9:26pm
5 minutes
From a text

He was different. He didn’t try to fuck me the first time he slept over. Ironic, now… He was intelligent, progressive, creative, articulate, sexy, conscious, tuned in. He wanted me. He wanted to be with only me. He asked me to be his girlfriend, and I told everyone else I was seeing that I’d met someone.

This is why I love him.

We loved each other with passion and fire and fear and truth. We love each other the same now, but different too. We love each other with fatigue and disappointment and folding laundry and a joint bank account and long hours and tired nipples. We love each other feet touching under the covers, our baby between us, we love each other through her.

“O Dio, vorrei morir” by Julia at her desk

Saturday May 25, 2019
7:02pm
5 minutes
Gianni Schicchi
Giacomo Puccini

I have asked you before but you ignored it.
So I’m not asking anymore, I’m telling you.
I would like to die.
If I cannot see my son, because my son is
never coming back, then what is there left
to live? I mean, there is nothing for me if
he is not here. I am not asking anymore.

I see him sometimes as the butterfly
that has been visiting me every day since
he was taken from me. Does a butterfly
who is not carrying the spirit of a loved one
land on your shoulder, or the kiss of your knuckle?
No, I am not asking, I already know. It’s him.

I am telling you, God, I have nothing to
offer, contribute. I am no longer holding
all the pieces together, it’s too painful.
The grief pushes out all the cracks and
makes me want to sink into the floor.
I am not asking.

This gash is open for war and I welcome
the blade. Twist it. Twist it all the way.

“The emotional sensory radar of the infant” by Julia on Amanda’s couch

Saturday May 18, 2019
10:01am
5 minutes
Scattered Minds
Gabor Maté M. D

smiling at him I am smiling
at him and he is smiling
at me and we are seeing now

I am sad on the inside I
put him down for a minute
I don’t want him to see my sad from the inside out
I want him to feel alive love, the process of reacting and being present

I respond to his tiny face and his tiny laugh and his
squeals

I try to heal my insides before I pick him up again It is lifelong

I want to love him but I am
diatracted by stress
I want to see him but I am looking somewhere else.
He knows
He knows me by my smell
by the impetous behind authentic smile
He knows when I am simply using the same mouth muscles to mimic a feeling and he is sad if I am sad and he is sad if I am there but not fully
This small heart
he is smarter than me
He is not yet scrambled
naive, easily fooled into a love that isn’t.

“as the cells of his scalp” by Julia on Kits beach

Thursday March 21, 2019
5:06pm
5 minutes
Candlelight
Tony Hoagland

It was disgusting because it wasn’t my filth. I guess you could make the same argument that it could be less repulsive due to my separation from it, but let me set the record straight: I threw up in my mouth the moment this woman left her apartment. Well, in her defence it was a short term rental and she was probably getting a cleaner with the deal or whatever her husband’s work was willing to pay. But in the meantime, to live with so much food on the floor it could feed a small family for days…I shouldn’t continue. You’ll get so grossed out. Okay but let me say one thing, her sweet 9 month old had extreme eczema and when he’d wake up from his nap or if he got upset he’d start ripping at his little head. There was bits of his scalp all over the apartment—on the back of his high chair, on the changing mat, on the carpet. I considered if his home were clean that he might be less upset at the things he couldn’t control and less hell-bent on destroying his own skin. I also know that these things aren’t likely connected. But I wondered.

“the biographies of our heroes” by Julia at this the studio

Friday February 22, 2019
8:00pm
5 minutes
Political Paralysis
Danusha Veronica Goska

You know how they say we stand on the shoulders of giants? You know how they say that, Sash? I feel sometimes like I’ve got a couple sitting on mine. Maybe I read that in a book somewhere, like I can’t make anything great because I can’t live up to the fact that someone else has already done it better than me. Makes me want to email Miriam again and tell her she really makes it hard for me because she is so good. I would just be repeating myself though since I think I already told her that.
Do you ever think that someday your daughter might be a writer? You know cause you are, and your mom is, and it makes sense. She’d have a couple of giants of her own, you know? But I think she’ll write about you. The way you write about your mom. The way it’s meant to be. I know you’ve already written about her, growing there below your heart.

“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

“It’s comfy and cozy.” By Julia in her bed

10:43pm
Wednesday February 13, 2019
from a text

Salesman sells the bed
well says that’s where it’s
comfy cozy and did you see?
It’s big enough for three..

We say we ain’t looking for a bed that fits more
than two,
just us we and our four feet
that’s what we like to do

salesman sells the bed by sayin’ you’ll regret it if you don’t try
So we go home right away
and try to conceive
that night

We were happy with our elbows
meetin’ in the middle space
our noses in each other’s mouths was our funny
little place

But salesman’ got us thinkin’ when he was sellin’ us that bed
That we could have a spot for two or one for three instead

“I imagine him alive.” By Julia in her bed

Monday January 21, 2019
9:28pm
5 minutes
Stories We Keep To Ourselves
Bill Glose

I imagine him alive with dark hair covering his tiny little head
He has a perfect face
Maybe a few years from now he’ll need glasses just like you
His dark hair transforms into light hair later like mine does in the sun
You are holding him and cooing in his face and everything is sweet now
I keep him alive by not leaving him
That is my only job
I picture him loving me before he leaves home
Some of them only realize how much has been done for them after they build their bed behind walls that no one can wonder against
He is kind to insects and birds
He is funny because of you and only you
From me he learns how to hum
From me he learns how to weep
From me he learns how to stare into the nothingness past the room and bright noise
You smile extra hard these days

“you should have asked me nicely” by Julia on the 4

Monday September 24, 2018
7:22pm
5 minutes
overheard on the 4 bus

A fallen chestnut narrowly misses the baby’s head I am in charge of protecgjng.
It comes directly after thinking how if a chestnut fell it would gash a chunk out of her head. Good thing that won’t happen. As if mother’s aren’t pushing their babies down chestnut tree lined streets. When it falls and bounces off the rim of the stroller instead of her it feels the way stopping an inch short of getting shat on buy a pigeon toremnting in the rafters feels.
All luck and karma and universal flow rolled up into a warning.

“If not dead, dying.” by Julia on the 99

Friday September 21, 2018
4:55pm
5 minutes
Nothing Like It Was
Mark Wagstaff

today you are the farthest from dying that you will ever be. you have more life in the wiggle of your brow than you even know. so far the room is changed by you. the building. the women. the men.
you are the farthest from unloved. the farthest from unwanted. you are the closest thing to god and even god knows it.
today you are born on the cusp of beauty. you’re already causing poetry and melting heart ache.
though we are on opposite ends of the country, you are the farthest from being far away from me. you are right here in this pocket of joy pushing through my chest. you are right where you belong.

“The joy of bursting and bearing fruit” by Julia at her desk

Wednesday July 11, 2018
6:58am
5 minutes
Earth Prayers
John Soos

One day conceivable from here, from now, from everything that I know,
I will hold a tiny, living thing in my arms and I will feel this great love…
The one everyone talks about
the changing kind, the one that gently nudges, inspires, forces you into bearing witness

Each moment between now and then is a teacher
A dream
I will want this when I have gotten good at turning the love inward
At being a witness to myself
And there is much to see. This life has been long already, the one before this one longer still, I imagine, and it is going going
I would very much like to give a tiny, living thing, my heart beat in excess
I want to give everything away when I know I don’t need to hold onto anything I’ve gotten but a tiny, living thing
Everything of use to me is being shown to me from the inside out and the whole world knows it
At least it does if I give permission to the whole world to be within me

Last night I felt a connection with a tiny, living thing
that did not burst forth from my own joy,
but was able to recognize it
We rocked there, our heads touching
and that was enough for me to know

“I can’t get rid of useful things” by Julia at her desk

Tuesday May 1, 2018
10:10am
Carpet Bomb
Kenyatta Rogers

Mama is a packrat and I’m her packrat baby
she likes to keep all the old papers and
documents just in case just in case
calls me on the phone and asks if I can let
it go to voicemail cause mama wants to leave
me a message that’s gonna make my day
When I listen back I hear her reading me the
old birthday card I made for my baby brother
and she can’t get through it without lauging
so I save the voicemail cause one day I’m
gonna play it on hers so she can listen
Mama liked to keep all kinds of containers
and now I keep all kinds of containers even
if the lids are missing or the bottoms are
warped and melted from accidentally being
put in the dishwasher or on the element
she has taught me so well and our houses
hold memories and everyting else inside

“Jon came home” by Julia on the 99

Friday, April 13, 2018
2:20pm
5 minutes
Modern Grief
Nancy Westaway

I saw him first bundled up from the cold in my godmother’s arms. I didn’t like him from the start-he was too young to play with. All he did was roll from side to side and collect dribble in the pocket of his 35 neck rolls. My mother served Cynthia tea in the new dining room that she had just painted “lilac.” Cynthia was commenting on the drapes and the new walls and blah blah blah. She didn’t even bring me a necklace or a new ring this time and I had been waiting very patiently for them too. So I sat at the top of the stairs planning how I was going to kill this new baby who was responsible for zapping everybody’s brain into caring more about the freaking “lilac” walls.

“We are writing to confirm” by Julia on the 99

Tuesday November 21, 2017
8:59pm
5 minutes
from an email

YOU HAVE BEEN CORDIALLY INVITED TO SHARE IN THE NAMING CEREMONY OF OUR BABY!

(Please turn over)

Your attendance and your baby names are requested to attend the aforementioned event on Tuesday November 21, 2017 at 8:59pm, located at the fountain (you’ll know it by the baby lights, can’t miss em).

We ask that in lieu of monetary gifts, you and your guest please bring three names you would like to see our baby be called. Points for creativity and uniqueness will be awarded! Cemeteries are great places to get baby name inspiration-they’re not using them anymore so why not! Also, words in various languages that mean positive things will be most welcomed.

RSVP ASAP!

“We rent a condominium together” by Julia at her desk

Monday October 30, 2017
9:11pm
5 minutes
Telling Time
Philip Kelly

We take a drive down a quiet road and when we stop to see the horses he takes a small box out of his pocket. It’s not an engagement ring. He knows I am not marrying anybody thank you very much. It’s a key. A little one. I mean, a normal sized one. Just not like a big key. And I take it in my hand and I tell him it’s the dumbest and smartest thing we’ll ever decide to do. And he laughs, because I am fucking funny and then suddenly we have place together. I have my things beside his things in a drawer we share in the home we live in. Together.

We are in a the car driving down a quiet road when I tell him I have a living gingerbread baby growing inside me. And he laughs because who ruins pregnancy news like this but gets away with it? Me. Prince Chamring. I do. And he puts his hand on my belly and he thanks me. He thanks all of our lucky fucking stars.

She is giant and bossy and funny as hell.” By Julia on her couch

Saturday October 14, 2017

11:22pm

5 minutes

a text

Kitty tells me to say that that I’m the baby and she’s the mum. I say, I’m the baby and you’re the mum. Then she tells me to say I’m addicted to raisins! I say, do I know what addicted means already? And she tells me to just say it already. I say I’m the baby and you’re the and mum and I’m addicted to raisins. She tells me, okay now say you’re trapped in a lemon peel. And I say oh no I’m the baby and you’re the mum and I’m addicted to raisins and I’m trapped in a lemon peel. Then kitty bursts out laughing. She is laughing so hard she gives herself hiccups. She tries to give direction between giant gulps of air. I tell her to take a second and catch her breath and she tells me to hurry up and be funny. I tell her she’s being a bit bossy and she shrieks at the top of the lungs, THAT’S BECAUSE I’M THE MUM.

“COLD PRESS BRIGHT” by Julia at the studio

Sunday October 1, 2017
6:22pm
5 minutes
from the EPSON box

Cold press bright
button baby button
we are living in pink
hues and baby blues
baby baby will you
want to watch me grow
another human inside
me and then love someone
you’ve never met
but always known
button baby button

Conversation paused
on the problem
Nobody has written down
the plan for us
the three of us
nobody knew there
would be three
unless you knew
without telling me

Bright press cold
button baby baby
witness this magic
of me carrying a
peice of us both
in my body tell
the ocean we are
ready to cross it
all three of us
rock and wave it
all the way to
the shore to save it
baby button baby

Letters written in
father to be cursive
and mamma to be
subversive
you tell the
jokes and I’ll
tell the truth
you tell the
jokes and I’ll
tell the truth
We have not
always wanted you
but you were baby
worth the change
my mind made

“also fun” by Julia at her desk


Tuesday June 6, 2017
10:04pm
5 minutes
from a tweet

She comes over to sit with me as I attempt to airplane a chicken noodle into her baby’s scowl. She brings cheerios and cottage cheese and sets them next to the breaded chicken, the cup of green peas, the watermelon, and the cheese quesadilla. We alternate forced forkfuls from the grand buffet he cannot appreciate. She looks thankful to be talking to an adult that isn’t her husband, sick from back pain. She tells me they haven’t gone on a date since he was born eighteen months and two weeks ago. She says sometimes they just have a glass of wine in bed after he stops crying.

“and they’ll break your heart” by Julia at her desk


Sunday May 21, 2017
6:14pm
5 minutes
trueactivist.com

My sister gave birth to a beautiful baby a week ago. It is the happiest my entire family has ever been, and I’m including the time my mom caved and let us get KFC the day we moved into our new house. My sister called her Cleo and all of us can swear we’ve never known love until her. Harper’s doing great. She has a glow. She looks as calm as if she’d been a mother her whole life. It doesn’t look as hard as I thought it would be, of course Harper has always been good at figuring things out. Cleo latched right away and seeing my baby sister stroke her daughter’s cheek as they bond there in the rocking chair–it’s all I need to see to send me into a fit of emotion. I am overcome by how beautiful it all is. Even Danya is in awe, and we never thought she’d step foot in our parents’ house since she tried to burn it down in 1994.

“they fought amongst themselves” by Sasha at her desk


Wednesday May 10, 2017
9:49pm
5 minutes
True Confessions Of Adrian Albert Mole
Sue Townsend


When I saw you for the first time I wasn’t sure about you. I couldn’t believe that you came from my body, my place where I’d lived for thirty nine years. “You’ll never get pregnant,” they’d told me – furrowed brows and lips like a line drawn with a Sharpie – “it’s just not possible”. I swore at the midwife. She was a real cunt, telling me to breathe, trying to feed me frozen mango juice in the shape of little hearts.

“I grasped his.” By Julia at a cabin in Tofino


Wednesday February 22, 2017
10:41pm
5 minutes
Learning to Love You More
Harrell Fletcher and Miranda July


It was sudden in the way that sometimes my own pulse strikes me. I saw his tiny face and I loved it instinctively. I loved everything about him without meaning to; I had not prepared my heart for such surrender. He was something like a perfect feeling. A land without time. The best hug. I threw myself at his helpless feet. I grasped his burden like a swatter catching a fly. I have never thought once about anything.

“what curious sense does it make?” By Julia at Sasha’s kitchen table


Tuesday January 10, 2016
2:45pm
5 minutes
Upstream
Mary Oliver


She looked around the room
wild eyed and buzzing
her tiny eyes still too glassy
to make sense of any faces
or shapes
little hands and noses mushed
into her field of vision
blurring in and out
in and out
Her head was fully held up
by the neck on which it stood
Advanced, some of the other new mothers
were marveling
She was anxious to be independent
ready, rather, since she popped out
her new mother said nonchalantly as she gnawed
on a meaty rib bone with her free hand

She gulped at the air
her mouth the same shape as her tiny fists
eager to be in the glory of it all
curious and young
to be so new and so old
all at the same time
a thousand tiny lifetimes lived
in every breath
every glance
every nod
of her perfect little head

“What little it was” by Sasha on her couch


Friday September 9, 2016
12:17am
5 minutes
No Country For Old Men
Cormac McCarthy


Her shoulders are tight and her nipples are cracked and the baby rolled off the changing table and split his lip. Playground Moms will whisper and glare and she’ll put him in a swing that’s too big and push him too high and he’ll cry like he’s being tortured. Jeff gets home from the late shift and she wants him to fuck her but he grabs her belly fat and shakes his head. She watches The Shopping Channel until she passes out on the couch and wakes up because her tits are leaking Niagara Falls all over the place. The baby starts to cry and she wonders what kind of miracle it is that her tits know when he’s awake. They love him more than she does.

“then gave it to his daughter” by Julia at Starbucks


Friday June 24, 2016 at Starbucks
7:10am
5 minutes
The Govenlock Hotel
Sharon Butala

He was out in the yard gardening, tending to his beloved cherry tree
Those damn birds…
He propped the ladder up and began to climb, explaining himself each step
Then we pick the ones that are good…
And pops a dark survivor cherry right his mouth
And we keep doing that until they’re all gone…
Or until our arms get tired…
And we wait until the warmer months for the sour ones…
Those ones drive your mother crazy…
He scoops her up little into his chest big, holds her with one strong arm, searching for one perfect cherry with the other.
This is why we come out here…
He presents the cherry like a prize for his little thing to take a bite, deep red squeezing out fast, splattering onto her chin and dripping down her canary t-shirt

“I balance unlaced shoes” by Julia at Starbucks


Thursday June 23, 2016 at Starbucks
6:53am
5 minutes
Circling Before Landing
Mariene Crookshaw

Man puts on the radio, turns the dial so slowly
slowly
we hear bits and pieces of moments
and conversations
and music
and static
and we wait until he finds the station
he likes
he can put up with
that won’t make him crazy
He is responsible for us now
he keeps our spirits
in the switch of the dial
in the palm of his hand
In the corner
by the only
window
there is a bony girl in green and black
striped pants
who holds a paper
airplane up to the light
that was here yesterday
she is holding on
for
her turn
to dance
but the music doesn’t stay
the crackling continues
Her mother is lying two feet
away from her
her belly robbed in the
middle
of
the
night
the blood is slowing now
her eyes remain open
pointed at the ceiling
longing for
escape

“poignant revelations about life” By Julia on her couch


Sunday March 6, 2016
9:25pm
5 minutes
mic.com

Sirrah comes over to my house and tells me she is craving ice cream and fried chicken.
She says she’s been craving it since last week. I know immediately that She is pregnant. She never eats fried chicken. I don’t even really believe that she’s craving it now, but I don’t doubt that she is hoping I clue in and ask why she’d ever want to do such an out of character thing.
Sirrah drops another hint about laying off white wine spritzers for a while, even though I haven’t actually offered her anything. She talks a lot about how this life is so short and how we have to find our purpose through offerings and sacrifice. I want to punch Sirrah right in her first trimester. Trying to pass down life lessons to me without asking for permission. I don’t like that she assumes I want the same things as she does. I am perfectly happy without some other human to depend on me- complicating everything. I know that sounds bitter but it isn’t. If I wanted a baby, trust me, there could have been plenty of opportunities.

“Don’t tell anyone.” By Sasha on her couch


Sunday December 6, 2015
8:33pm
5 minutes
http://www.globeandmail.com/life/parenting

Jo and Ellie are at Marg’s and it’s just me and Charlie at home. I call Dad and Deb. It rings eight times before the voicemail message clicks on. They still have one of those real machines, the kind with the little tape. Dad loves to switch up the outgoing message.

“Hi you’ve reached Don and Deb. We’re in Mexico until the New Year, so we probably won’t get this! Send an email!”

Deb is laughing in the background.

Charlie coos, clawing at my shirt. He wants the boob, but my nipples are cracked so I give him a bottle instead. He coos as he sucks. God, I love this boy.

Beep.

“You guys really shouldn’t advertise to the whole world that you’re away! I know that Ella is looking after the plants, but still! What if someone is up to no good and comes to break in or something! Anyway, love you both. Miss you. Really.”

“Her face was like a spring sun halo” by Julia at Shaktea


Friday November 20,2015 at Shaktea
1:06pm
5 minutes
White Heat
M.J. McGrath


I scooped up her tiny face into my hands and I brought her close to mine so I could feel her nose and inhale her intoxicating smell. She smelled of cinnamon and felt comforting to be around. I liked that she didn’t have a sweet smell because when I thought of her defending herself against the world, it put me at ease to think that she’d be a little bit tougher, connected to her roots, fiery, quick.
She was sleeping still and I thought about leaving in that moment so I could remember her like that: peaceful, calm, perfect. I couldn’t bare the idea of her crying at the realization of my absence. I didn’t want to cause her any more pain than I already had.

“feeds your hunger for meaning” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Sunday, October 11,2015
10:51am
5 minutes
An e-mail from The Sun

When Stephen was a baby, his father, Bill, forgot that he was in the bath. Bill liked expensive whiskey, anything over sixty five dollars and he was as golden as a sunbeam. Stephen’s mother, Martha, was at her Women’s Group. Bill didn’t support Martha’s leaving then house on a Monday Night. He didn’t support her leaving the house on any night. She’d leave something in the oven, “All you have to do is turn it on to three hundred and fifty degrees, Bill,” she’d say. Bill put Stephen in the bath and poured himself an expensive whiskey. He turned on the television. Two and a half hours later, Martha got home. “How’s Stephen?” She whispered. Bill ran upstairs.

“OH MY GOD” by Sasha in the basement at Bowmore


Tuesday, August 11, 2015
11:47pm
5 minutes
Overheard on Gerrard St.

“Twenty-seven fifty three, please,” I try not to yawn. The baby in her cart is screaming, his face turning purple, then blue. I cock my head sideways and stick out my tongue. Nothing. His mother is rifling around in her purse. “”OH MY GOD hurry up!” Hunt Wilson is three people behind her in line and I know why he’s grouchy. He’s run out of smokes. “Shut up, Hunt!” I call and then look behind me quickly to make sure that Kevin isn’t there. Safe. He’s taken me into his office before and said, between puffs on his e-cigarette, “Three strikes and you’re out, Christie!” I can’t count how many strikes I’ve had but Kev has a soft spot for me because he lost his virginity to my oldest sister Charlene. “Twenty-seven fifty three…” I say again. I meet her eyes, tears about to escape. “I only have twenty five,” she whispers, desperate. “No problem,” I take her bills and coins and bag her groceries. I add “$2.53” to my list beside the cash. I’ll top up the till before giving it to Kev at the end of my shift.

“I still want to think about safety” By Julia on the Greyhound to Kitchener


Sunday, August 9, 2015
9:44am
5 minutes
Said by Julia’s Uber driver

Colleen you can’t be lifting that shit anymore, you’re gonna hurt the baby for Christ’s sakes.

Forget it, Richie, it’s not even heavy. I don’t like you watching over me and micromanaging my pregnancy every single minute. Give it a rest, she’s gonna hear you and decide she doesn’t want to come out!

Colleen I told you, I want to be here for this baby, I want to help you name this baby, I want to help you love this baby. You can’t be stubborn now! You’re making choices that affect all three of us! How many times do I have to hear myself tell you this?

Richie didn’t you listen to one word I said? I said she, didn’t I? You only hear what you want to hear or what?

Colleen. You said she!! She said she!!

“how to be a parent” by Sasha at the Vancouver Airport


Wednesday, August 5, 2015
1:11pm
5 minutes
from Harper’s at a kiosk at the airport

When Cecelia is three weeks old, Maggie leaves her on her own on the bed and eats cold pizza standing in front of the open fridge. Eventually she hears Cecelia crying and she goes upstairs, but begrudgingly. She looks at Cecelia and says, “What do you want?” Maggie wants to be held but will eventually learn to find comfort in this question from her mother. Maggie will ask Cecelia to call her, “Maggie” not “Mom” or “Mummy”. Cecelia will do as she asks, but not without questions of her own. “You can’t have pizza,” Maggie says. Cecelia wants her milk and she knows it, but isn’t in the mood.

“I got my new hair” by Sasha on her porch


Wednesday, June 24, 2015
5:43pm
5 minutes
Overheard at grange park

“Here we go,” he says, lifting Jo up. He puts her in her carseat. She isn’t sure about how tight it buckles around her waist. She isn’t sure about the smell of Dad’s breath. “Ahhh,” she says. He kisses her on the nose. “You’re a buttercup, Jo. You’re my little sunshine buttercup.” He closes the door and gets in the front seat. “Like my new hair, Jo?” He asks, checking himself out in the rearview mirror. “Gaaaa,” she says.

Somewhere on the highway, away from the buses and the hum of the city, he pulls over and calls Veronique. “Honey, I’ve got Jo. We’re going to visit your brother.” She hears her mother’s resistance and makes a small coo in solidarity.

“Let me just say he did some pretty terrible things” by Julia at Valens Restaurant


Friday, June 12, 2015
5:01pm
5 minutes
Overheard at Valens

Graham was finally allowed to see his daughter in two years and he wasn’t going to sabotage himself this time. No chance in hell was he willing to risk anything getting in the way of that sweet angel face. Gina didn’t want to bring her. She said a prison is not the place she wanted Olivia to associate him with. She said this isn’t good for the baby. Graham wanted to believe that she was still too young to be affected by this or anything that he was guilty of doing. But Olivia wasn’t a baby anymore. She was three now. She had nightmares and daydreams and memories. And graham had missed the part where she didn’t have those. Where she hadn’t grown up without a daddy yet.

“I got you I won’t let go” by Sasha at Kits beach


Monday, June 1, 2015
5:13pm
5 minutes
I got You Babe
Sonny and Cher


Hiding behind her neighbour’s wisteria bush, Ronnie marvels at how well Judy keeps her yard. “That grass… It’s fucking perfect,” she says. Ronnie forgets where she left the baby. She says a prayer for him, “Jesus, please keep James safe while I’m out of the house,” and goes back to her watching. She’s taken up this spot several times over the last week – only when Derek is at work. If he were home she wouldn’t need this, she’d have adult company. She sips from her Starbucks travel mug, a gift from Derek on her first mother’s day. The vodka is flavoured by the coffee that’s sometimes contained inside. Judy emerges from her back door in an aqua bikini top and khaki shorts. “Seriously?!” Ronnie mumbles, drinking deep. “She had Adelaide five months ago!” Judy looks towards the bush, cocks her head like a beagle, and then delicately unravels the garden hose. She sets up the sprinkler.

“Happy Mother’s Day” by Sasha in Horseshoe Bay


Sunday May 10, 2015
8:33pm
5 minutes
from a sign at the florist

spit up on the front of this goodwill shirt
i don’t have much of it
goodwill
so tired i might puke too
flowers
i don’t want flowers
i want sex and a steak and in that order
if you really knew the way to my heart
you wouldn’t have given me this creature that cries all the time
and bites my nipples so hard that they bleed
i’ve gotten fatter than i’ve ever been
your gaze like a canon ball
the beauty you once fell for
gone
like the cat
poster on the tree at the end of the street
my body
all stretch marks and cellulite
my face
all frown lines and bags under my eyes
“diamonds” you used to say
diamonds
twinkle twinkle little star
how i wonder what you are
where you’ve been
i’m not sure about this creature
whether he’ll turn out alright
i’m not sure about how tiny his toes are
puts me off

“Abundance” by Julia at her desk


Friday May 1, 2015
4:38pm
5 minutes
from a vintage matchbook

Daddy and little girl
Playing with new tricycle and puppy
Good man
Good good man
And the ball bouncing one two three
Happiness until the air runs out
Mommy comes with belly full of baby new
Big sister runs and jumps
Daddy pushes little girl on swing
WEEE!
HIGHER!
Laughing and family growing
Tell me when you get cold!
Mommy and puppy new keep their watchful eyes open
Little girl dragging tricycle along
Can’t ride it if you don’t get back on!
Daddy kneels down next to little girl
I’m right beside you, don’t be afraid.
Mommy and belly baby new, Daddy and little girl smile

“Rathburn Rd.” by Julia at her desk


Thursday April 23, 2015
12:44am
5 minutes
from a street sign

When I approached his body laying there in the middle of the street, I felt an overwhelming sense of dread–as if it were my little brother or my own baby, lifeless, helpless, quiet. Ever since I was a kid I’ve had a problem with overreacting to roadkill. I love all animals, I hate seeing any of them injured or dirty or unhappy. Seeing them dead is pretty hard for me. Even when it’s a skunk or a squirrel. Most people don’t care about those animals because they’re a nuisance. I don’t see them as that. I see them as these almost human beings trapped in a world of insensitivity. So I was walking up to this poor thing and it wasn’t moving. I’m glad I didn’t see the moment of impact. Really glad. But as I got closer I started full on weeping there, right in the middle of Rathburn Rd. Sobbing for a dead pigeon, and wishing there was someone I could call for him.

“we realize we can’t eat money” by Sasha at her desk


Saturday March 21, 2015
6:24pm
5 minutes
from an Indian Proverb

We realize we can’t eat money so we eat
banana pudding instead
The texture reminds us of babyhood of being
held close to the heartbeat of
the source
We slop it up like it’s delicious
fooling ourselves
Joke’s on us
Joke’s on the ice cream sundae
No banana split for old time’s sake
We realize we can’t keep eating banana pudding because
it’s making us sick
We’re turning soft
Ripened on the counter
Speckling brown and black

“we realize we can’t eat money” by Julia at her desk


Saturday March 21, 2015
6:24pm
5 minutes
from an Indian Proverb

It stops me in my tracks for a second. We can’t keep it, eat it, turn it into fuel and be nurtured by it. We can’t take it with us, weave it into our bodies, make it anything but what it is. It stops me. It stops me in my tracks. When the world is spinning so fast it looks like it’s still..
That’s how it hits me, moves me, like a tectonic plate. I don’t know what I need usually -to remember this. A baby’s laughter, the oil painting of a woman breast feeding her new-born, a warm hug that lasts for at least 6 seconds, the poetry I buy with the currency of my tears. I am energy, I eat energy, I do not eat money. I wear artistic expression. I do not wear money. I think in hearts and hope. I do not think in money.

“You’ll be an architect” by Sasha at the UBC Learning Exchange


Sunday February 1, 2015
6:02pm
5 minutes
I’ll Keep You Safe
A song by Sleeping At Last


You’ll be an architect and I’ll be an Interior Designer. You’ll wear square glasses and I’ll wear brightly coloured, impractical shoes. We’ll live in a square house that people will walk by and take pictures of and wonder how the roof works, where the rain goes. Mostly we’ll work separately but sometimes we’ll work together and there will be passionate fights and confusing make-up sex. You’ll splurge on high end stereo equipment. I’ll splurge on designer lipstick. When we go out to eat, you always order steak, rare. I sometimes order fish, I sometimes order pasta. We don’t keep it at home, so it just makes sense. You don’t want children and I don’t either. Except this month, when the moon is full and I keep feeling a phantom newborn sucking on my nipple.

“When did we leave for thing there?” By Sasha at her kitchen table


Sunday January 18, 2015
10:10pm
5 minutes
Overheard at Julia’s aunt’s house

Little one, if you call? I’ll be there before you can say my name again, before you can blink twenty times, before you get scared. If you’re tucked in and you get a chill, close your eyes and imagine you’re on the beach and the ocean is coo-ing you and crashing you to warmth and sleep. My baby, the nightmares come, they do, I’m sorry, but so do the ecstatic dreams of present and future. When the nightmares come just meet them. Meet them, don’t run. They’ll chase you if you try to get away. Face them and say, “HEY! YOU!” And be patient because maybe around the next corner is something fabulous. When we leave things behind, we rarely need to go back for them, they are usually good just where they are. I love you, monkey, I love you fiercely and massively. I love you wider than the sky.