Thursday June 22, 2017
From a sign
This woman on the bus rides in a motorized wheelchair. She’s beautiful. She looks like Nicole Kidman and Helena Bonham Carter had a lovechild and gave her even better hair and eyes. She has a little dog on her lap. Cute, shaved down so it looks like it has a lion’s mane. We all watch – rapt – as she wheels into her spot (people cleared the way). As the bus starts to drive onwards, she takes a ziplock bag of something indistinguishable out of a bag in the basket that’s on the front of her wheelchair. She eats it, or, rather, she chews it and spits it out into her hand and tries to feed it to her dog. He doesn’t want it.
Friday June 16, 2017
La Dolce Vegan
When your mother brings home Steve, the third potential stepfather, you are immediately sceptical of his black goatee and reddish, greying hair. You know that that is not how nature works. Steve is the “assistant manager” (oh-kay) at the mechanic on the corner of First and MacDonald. His brother is the owner. His brother, according to Michelle St. Bernard, is almost a millionaire. Something about good investments, or the stock market, or Atlantic City. You and Tina kick each other under the table as your mother giggles at Steve’s jokes. You get a few of them, and want to laugh because they are not half bad, but you don’t. Out of solidarity with Tina. Out of mourning for your father. Steve says something about the spinach and rice pilaf and your mother says something about Popeye. Tina’s eyes light up.
Tuesday June 13, 2017
The Ocean At The End Of The Lane
Call me shaker Call me howler
Call me maker Call me feast
Call me famine Call me reverent
Call me simple Call me beast
Call me sing Call me frenzy
Call me chaos Call me great
Call me famine Call me bringer
Call me omen Call me fate
Call me shuffle Call me changer
Call me teacher Call me sin
Call me runner Call me muscle
Call me gold Call me win
Call me birch bark Call me tinder
Call me flint Call me steel
Call me engine Call me bullet
Call me handmade Call me wheel
Call me mother Call me lover
Call me woman Call me moon
Call me bear Call me elephant
Call me wolf Call me loon
Friday June 9, 2017 at Ideal Coffee
The Globe And Mail
When Maggie feeds her snake, she says a prayer for the mouse. It actually isn’t her snake, it’s Tova’s, but Tova is in Switzerland and Maggie isn’t sure when she’ll be back so as far as she’s concerned the snake now belongs to her. It was actually Tova’s sister’s boyfriend’s snake, but his landlady lost her mind when she found out a snake was in the apartment, so what was Tova’s sister supposed to do? Take the snake. And then Tova’s sister, ever the pacifist, couldn’t get over the feedings so Tova took pity and said she’d take the fucking snake.
Friday June 9, 2017
The Globe And Mail
I have been avoiding calling my mother because I know I am going to cry.
She is avoiding me too for the same reason.
Earlier this week my sister tells me that the family reunion is off.
After swearing in the bathroom and crying and yelling and crying some more,
I tell her I’m sorry for overreacting.
My sister tells me she could listen to me swear for days, and if it’s any consolation,
I was not overreacting, but reacting, and both would be okay.
Today I finally phone her and for whatever reason we start speaking french to each other.
I think because this softens the blow.
Keeps things light, after all, it is only a family that will not be reuniting.
It’s not the end of the world.
I hear the sigh in her voice as she mixes in some words in Italian, some a combination of both.
I tell her I already know.
Then later she cries.
We both do.
Thursday June 8, 2017
overheard at Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre
“Did you pack her neck pillow, Dana? You know Mom can’t travel without it.”
“I packed it, Leigh, you can officially back off now.”
“I’m telling you she won’t even set foot on the plane if she doesn’t have it.”
“What did I just say? I’ve already got it. You left very detailed instructions. Very detailed.”
“She hasn’t left the house since Dad got sick, much less the province.”
“I know that, I will make sure she is as comfortable and distracted as possible.”
“You’re not going to slip her any of your little…pills…are you?”
“What makes you think I’m still taking those little pills?”
“I’M NOT TAKING THEM ANYMORE! Why does nobody trust me around here? I can’t escort mom to fucking Edmonton, now?”
“Well maybe because you like to make things about you.”
“You are such a little cunt, Leighanne.”
Monday June 5, 2017
A business card
It’s a hot summer. My mother – tan, freckles, feathered hair, broken heart – puts out a bowl of peaches, a few ears of steamed corn, a knob of butter. We wear bathing suits at the table on the porch, wood peeling, in desperate need of oil. Hers is black, a one piece, under running shorts. My sister’s is pink, with a hole cut out at the stomach. Mine is yellow. I get a sliver and cry for awhile, longer than necessary, but it cleans my insides to let all the tears out. My mother puts Joan Baez on the tape player that lives near the wood stove. It’s quiet. But we both know what memories can bring / They bring Diamonds and Rust / Yes we both know what memories can bring / They bring Diamonds and Rust.