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

Saturday February 17, 2018
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.”

“and the world steps in” by Sasha on the Jane bus

Saturday April 25, 2014
5 minutes
Revelation Must be Terrible
David Whyte

The smell of the rosemary is the same. The smell of the cedar is the same, a little damper, a little more fragrant. I’m more afraid of darkness, but that’s just because there’s less of it. I’m tired, but I know it’s because I’ve been eating too much chocolate and bread and some might say I’m allergic to both but I love them so I just keep trucking. My favourite blanket is dotted with marks of it’s history, and it’s rarely around my shoulders or gripped tightly in my clenched fist. It sits at the foot of my bed and only gets pulled up on the coldest nights. I’m no longer worried about grey hair at my temples, or bits of celery and broccoli clogging the drain of the kitchen sink. I’m no longer fighting for the last word.

“No, I promise” by Sasha at her desk

Wednesday, March 27, 2013
5 minutes
Wild Mind
Natalie Goldberg

When you and I went for that walk, in the ravine, in the October blush, I secretly hoped that we would get lost. If we got lost, we’d get to spend more time together. We would have to huddle close together for warmth. You’d have to share your Gatorade, your pocket knife. We’d forage for wild leeks, and funguses. We’d build a fort out of a blanket that we’d find, a red and blue and white blanket, like the French flag… You’d get a kick out of that. “You are the grizzliest man I have ever met,” I would say, curled into you, under the blanket, a small bonfire burning before us. You’d scoff a bit. “No, I promise,” I’d say, and you’d believe me the second time. It’s something you learned from your mother. Refuse first. Accept second (maybe third). I knew this about you not because you told me. Because I took the time to learn it, because I listened to your deep breaths and your long eyelashes, because I understood the scar on on your cheek.