“At times they cast themselves” By Julia in the taxi

Friday, February 21, 2020
6:48pm
5 minutes
My Love Feeds the Crows
Mark Sullivan

we haven’t promised anyone anything
see how it goes
wander into a dark room with a hope and a sigh
the kicker is the phantom voice
clinging to the lung of a newborn
we hear it
we doubt it
we hear it again
why does she want us so badly
why can’t we let her go

if we tell them we’re fine
that’s one more thing we won’t
be able to live up to
a sachel of condolence cards
sitting in the backyard
a tray of CorningWare and styrofoam plates
the bowls encrusted in
yesterday’s deliverance

praying becomes a hazzard here
praying becomes a buzzard here
a hassle
a hut

at times the memories cast themselves as ghosts and float
an inch away from our noses

we feel a little tickle
but we can never scratch it away

“He could have been a rich man” by Julia in the fishbowl

Monday February 3, 2020
9:59am
5 minutes
Memorial
Alice Oswald

Dear Zio,

I was thinking about you earlier. I wanted to wish you a happy birthday.
I like that word. Happy. Because you changed the meaning of it for me.
I wonder what you’re doing today. If you and Nonna and Nonno are still hugging Zio in reunion’s rich embrace. I thought I saw you lighting up the sky just beyond the mountain peaks. As I noticed you there, I was talking to your sister on the phone and she mentioned you. We both said “Ciao!” to you and it morphed the way I was walking. I often think of you. When an Elvis song comes on, or when I see a man dancing. You were a man dancing all the life I knew you and that changed the meaning of that for me too. You asked if we were happy. And I wish I had the words I do now to talk with you about it. To shoot some questions your way instead and jot it all down in a notebook dedicated solely to you.
Today you are abundant and generous still. You paint the clouds the colour of opening and you do not give up on shedding light even when it’s heavy.

“Naturalists are generalists.” By Sasha on the plane

Thursday January 23, 2020
3:01pm
5 minutes
The Art of Wandering
Ann Zwinger

It’s so cold that my breath freezes on the tiny hairs of my upper lip
A boy in my fifth grade class once teased me for my little moustachio
I’ve come to love it though – the downy tenderness of very small strands
now cradling my breath like their newborns
holding on to what I could never

I’ve come for the Northern Lights and for escape from a failing career
a failing second marriage
a failing attempt at reconciliation with my addict brother
I’ve come to see the colours dance the way my heart hasn’t since
before Angela died
before Angela was born
Dead in my womb before she even had a chance to be born

God must be a fickle, discerning and PMS-ing woman 
I remember saying this to Toby
He smiled and went into the laundry room to cry
”Why aren’t you crying?” He asked me for the hundredth time
”I’m not sure,” I said, peeling another banana

I see a splash of azure across the black sky and gasp
I feel a flutter in my belly
my temple
my pinkie
I feel Angela there in the blue
stretching wide across the ice
Death and life held in the bitter
in the cold
Death and life in the colour of losing
in the hue of letting go

“Sit comfortably” by Julia on her couch

Sunday January 19, 2020
9:35pm
5 minutes
Sparrow’s Guide to Meditation
Sparrow

comfort is relative
relatives bring comfort
comforting relatives

on Friday my mother sent the news
she called it dreaded
after all the time zones it travelled to reach her
the last time we spoke she told me she was on the phone with him and he switched over to Zia, and then when she wanted to say bye to him he said, “tell her I’ll say bye to her tomorrow”
and then tomorrow was there but he had slipped into a coma over night
and those are the last words she will remember
that tomorrow always comes but sometimes it doesn’t bring everybody from yesterday with it

the day was spent sending love up to the sky, to the family I have lost up until now
and to the family feeling lost all over Ontario and Lozzola
trying to ease whichever hurt they were holding

“The fires were still smouldering” by Julia on her couch

Thursday January 9, 2020
11:33am
5 minutes
The Known World
Edward P. Jones

The haze we’re breathing is a filter on the known world.
The daily dos and don’ts.
The run and hide or stay lows.

Babies are inhaling against their will.
Animals are being wiped out.

Some people don’t think the issue is connected.
Some people would rather focus on the strength
of the inhabitants being weakened.

Will the dying lungs be as resilient?
Will the buried come back to stand on their country’s podium?

While we’re gathered on the beach with our
hearts in our mouths
covered in ash and soot
inching closer to the waves
a long siren blares.

We wish we could say it was in the distance.
We wish we could say it was only one
and not one after another after another.

We are accepting prayers
and money
and help
and
and
and

“I step into the cold silence.” By Sasha at her kitchen table

Wednesday December 4, 2019
9:15pm
5 minutes
New Planet
Misha Penton

 

I wish my back didn’t hurt so damn much. I don’t say these words out loud, but they echo as though my head is an elementary school gymnasium and it’s indoor play for the younger grades. Goddamnit, I’m not going to be able to go near a school for awhile. Dad taught Grade Seven for forty three years. Can you imagine? I step into the cold silence of the basement, down the stairs, around the wall, hear the hum of the furnace and see the boxes, piled as neatly as they could be. Dad was organized. That’s one thing he was. Was. I wonder if I’ll ever get used to that.

“he became a living legend” by Julia in her office

Tuesday December 3, 2019
2:08pm
5 minutes
from Elvis Presley’s gravestone

He gave a call to his grandmother every Friday at 3
She liked to sit and knit a scarf or a blanket as he he’d speak
The wind was sometimes louder than the other days he’d ring
but she would stay on the line not to miss a thing
He’d tell her about his week at school and how he won the game
He’d ask her what news she learned even though it was always the same
He’d tell her she was his favourite and no one could come close
She’d smile and wipe a drop from her eye and say she loved him most

One day the phone rang and rang without her familiar greeting
she did not answer when he dialled and left him afraid of feeling
What would he do without this woman who had held his tears
Now that she was resting peacefully no longer here
He left a one final voicemail to tell her of his day
and knew that he could tell her that he loved her one last way

“The life. The death. The rebirth.” by Julia in her office

Thursday November 28, 2019
1:15pm
5 minutes
from a Facebook post

We spiral in and out and in and out
the only thing that’s sure is this
will repeat itself
and how long the out and how far
the in the deeper gone the harder still
and how will all our moving parts
meet up in timeless space

We dance our hearts out when the music
pulls the strange doubt from our skin folds
the lull the hum the distant one keeps us
in time when place is free from confines
and if there is a boundary painted
we will dance harder than anticipated

We wait until the timing’s right but
we are not the ones to decide so waiting
stays and waiting sits but waiting never really is
and who decides but time herself hardly fixed
upon the shelf

We log our journeys by the sun each day
we live another one and when we hold our smiles
to the light, the night the night falls soft again
Where does Time go if not stuck inside our silly show
does Time remind the seasons to roll on no matter
where we are

We spiral in and out it’s true
the end the middle
beginning to relive the life that
first must die and start it all over
and start it all over

“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.

“How could God?” By Julia on the faculty lounge patio

Thursday September 26, 2019
1:55pm
5 minute
God Never Blinks
Regina Brett

How could you forget me
in the aisle at the grocery store
in the hallway with my coat on while you were saying goodbye to everyone at the get together

how could you say I’d be saved and then leave me there
to fend for myself
when they all asked me why you took away the people they loved: their grandfathers, their mothers
where were you when they chose me to blame?
As if at 14 I could carry the weight on my own

I followed you with a bag over my head, with my eyes scooped out

I followed you to the edge of the cliff, chased by angry hyenas, and I waited there, as if the pit was not filled with more of them

“in the present moment for” by Sasha at her desk

Friday August 16, 2019
8:13am
5 minutes
Meditations
Marcus Aurelius

You are liquid sliming between the cracks in the tile on the kitchen floor
You are the three stars in a row speckled across the sky like a belly
like a line of freckles or braille spelling out
WE DID A REAL NUMBER ON EACH OTHER
You are a fox running through a birch forest no leaves just peeling bark
and howling hearts
You are a tug at the grounding stitch
You are a tsunami washing out villages washing away dolls and dreams and sunscreen
You are a meditation on impermanence an unacknowledged silence
You are a death
You are the crest of a wing spanning East to West
stretching borders and fault lines with your misconceptions
You are a mushroom in the moss in the woods in the quiet

“A funeral” by Julia at her desk

Thursday August 8, 2019
10:21pm
5 minutes
Sophocles
Charles Kell

it’s a colour i can’t name
so i don’t bother

it’s not about getting it right
but the proof of you being gone

is louder when there is something
to nestle your name under

once here now not
the categories of today and yesterday

and should have called you more
and should have loved you better

it’s sad because i would have written
a really nice eulogy for you and

i know now i am holding on to that
as if it might have brought you back

right before you’d have to hear me
deliver it in front of everyone

no words can bring you back and i
have to accept that as hard as it is

not mine and not yours and not god’s
or whoever is doing the talking now

at the funeral someone else spoke
and it was fine for someone who

isn’t the colour that you are
the colour that shall not be named

“A funeral” by Sasha at her desk

Thursday August 8, 2019
9:14pm
5 minutes
Sophocles
Charles Kell

We get caught behind a funeral on the way to the cemetery.

“I guess we should pull over?” You say. Everything a question. Everything in question.

“Obviously,” I say. Sour milk.

You pull over and so do the other cars on the road. Let the procession pass.

I’m back the day Steve died. Finding him. Vomiting and screaming and cupping his face in my hands. I’m back at his memorial. Nothingness into more nothingness and egg salad sandwiches.

“You okay?” You say. Everything a fucking question.

“No I’m not okay!” I say. Forgotten leftovers at the back of the fridge.

“I mean…”

“I know what you mean…” I give a one-third smile two third grimace.

“how will I survive without you” by Julia on her patio

Thursday May 30, 2019
8:30pm
5 minutes
Overheard on the patio across from her

my sister is picking the poetry she’ll sing at my tribute concert. she’s gotten a composer to put my words to music. it’s going to be heartbreaking and strange. I never thought anyone was going to hear what i wrote and now I’m not even there to willingly give it. my sister means well. i’m glad she’s choosing the writing out of anyone who could have free reign on my books but I never wanted this. I wasn’t secretly hoping people would see them. that sounds like a lie but it’s not. I honestly wrote most of that for me. and if someone gets hurt by what I said, how will that bring me peace? I know I felt my own shit in the moment and it didn’t change my love after I felt it. how am I supposed to explain that to them now that I’m dead?

“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.

“pretty sure I came that way” by Julia on the Megabus

Tuesday May 15, 2019
10:37am
5 minutes
Overheard on the Megabus

I didn’t think of her on Sunday, Mother’s day, which would have been the day.
She was here and there but I didn’t light the candle.
She enters the dining room on any given day. She doesn’t reserve her visits for media recognized calendar celebrations.
She’s been gone for 22 years and the missing doesn’t go away. It’s not always at full volume but I feel her without trying that it sometimes helps she’s so quiet.
She tells me things I need to remember:take the pills, leave the house, ask for help, ask for belp.
She would stock my fridge cause she knew I would starve if it were ip to me.
I taste her in evey linguni noodle. In every spoon of sauce.

“a stretch of road, a write, and birch trees” by Sasha in her bed

Sunday April 14, 2019
3:04pm
5 minutes
The Death Of The Partisan Girl
Tom Wayman

Grief has a way of tossing around the heart
a big ginger cat pawing
the beating thing
back and forth and down
by the curb
a stretch of road ahead
that’s sketched in the colours
of a face you’ll never stop missing

You’re not the only one
who wakes up with tears on her pillow
the words to a song you haven’t thought of in years
swinging from the branches of the
dawn mind

You see other people rushing and hustling
and calling and tripping
and a friend tells you that you’ve changed

I have changed
you say and your voice catches
because isn’t change the only thing
that we can count on?

“My brother finds out this Friday” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Tuesday April 2, 2019
7:43am
5 minutes
From an email

The morning is quiet.
Your candle is burning.
It was hard to light because it’s burned down low, but I did it.
Got soot on my fingers.
Rubbed it on my robe.
The lilies are opening in slow motion.
The whole apartment smells like flowers.
Bloom after bloom, one by one.
You are close by, I think.
You can be in more than one place now, I think.
“I can’t believe I still have tears,” I say.

Traffic on Oak street hums while I try to meditate.
Seeing you in photograph form and my breath catches in my throat.
I want you close but it needles the sore spots.

I’ll call my mother.
I’ll wash some dishes.
It’s hard now, belly so big with babe.
I’ll take my vitamins.
I’ll think about my mother,
washing dishes,
taking vitamins,
finally resting.

“Are you Joaquin or River?” By Julia on the 2

Saturday February 9, 2019
6:29pm
5 minutes
From a voicemail message

Hey River,

I miss you. I’ll start by saying that. I’m listening to an old tape of you snoring. I used to hate you for it when we shared a room. Recorded you one night to show you just how loud it was. Now all I’m wishing for is to hear you breathe again. I wouldn’t care if it kept me up this time.
I’ve been thinking about you lately. Someone asked how I was doing as if it hasn’t been a lifetime since you left. I fucking miss you every day. Maybe I should have said that. I said, Things are good for me. And they are, you know, most days. I’m working so much you’d be real proud. Wish you could see how much better my chops are now.
Anyway, I know you’re with me so I’m not here to whine. Send me a rumble when you think of it.

Love, Joaquin.

“I met Luke after my marriage ended.” By Julia on M’s couch

Thursday January 17, 2019
1:33pm
5 minutes
The Ghost of a Boy
Piper Vignette

You could say I manifested it; the end of my first marriage the way it is written. By that I mean death, and not
some fault of our own. We might have stopped trying. Stopped listening. Stopped seeing Love in the reflection of each other. I think we were lucky enough to preserve our relationship before it got so sad we committed any of those aforementioned acts of betrayal. I think those are worse than cheating anyway. Sex is something I can justify as “not personal”. But I suppose you’re right, if I claim to have manifested my late husband’s death. I guess that is a fault of my own I should be less light-hearted about. My intentions were that he would die and leave me while we were still in love. I didn’t know it would happen so soon or that it would work so well. If I believed in manifesting at all (before this) I would have made sure I had pots of money and enough hair product to last my entire lifetime. I would have manifested some inner peace.

“He was young and handsome” by Sasha on her couch

Saturday January 5, 2019
9:02am
5 minutes
The Elephant Vanishes
Haruki Murakami

It’s your birthday today
You’re young and handsome
bird-like and dying
empty and full
at the same time
“This too”
I whisper
“This too”
I wail

I saw the most wondrous thing
was there for the birth
of a star child on the first
day of the new year
this year of mystery
babies
loss
learning
breath

I don’t know if I’ll
see you again in the flesh
in the bone
bird-body
sun-shower

It’s your birthday today
the same week cancer took
both A. and D.
the same week a star child
was born
the same week
the same life
a birthday
a deathday
a new day
a new day

“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.

“Wring or twist” by Sasha at the kitchen table at Bowmore

Monday November 19, 2018
10:32am
5 minutes
from a blanket tag

For L.

Three swollen bellies
Three sisters standing
shoulder to shoulder
Babies arriving in
March, April and May

A father
A father to one of them
married to the other two’s mother
Quakes in his body
Fights in his body
Surrender in his body
His spirit soaring
on the tails of grace notes
Crafting harmonies
with all he has
These babies whispering
from beyond
Please stay

Someone will write
this story one day
People will say
“There’s no way”
“Really?”
“How can that be?”
Maybe I will
I will write this
story my story
our story
Maybe I am
right now maybe
that’s what I’m doing
right here

Trying to make sense
of this impossible timing
of this wrecking ball
swinging between
joy and sorrow
excitement and grief

Pregnant with possibility
Dying into possibility

“we have enormous power” by Sasha at Ocean Village

Wednesday October 10, 2018
9:11am
5 minutes
Louder than Words
Starhawk

When he’s rolling cigarettes
just a little bit of weed
mostly tobacco don’t even okay
He thinks about his father
rolling cigarettes and smoking
sunrise to noon to sunset
to midnight his father in the
field hoping to keep calm
He remembers his mother beating
on his father’s chest with closed
fists with anger the colour of
blood in her eyes and how she wailed
when she told him he was gonna die
and how she wailed when she lost
another child and how she wailed
when he collapsed in the corn

“This is an obituary.” by Julia on V’s couch

Saturday September 22, 2018
9:30pm
5 minutes
Empty Condolences
Joey Comeau

You live in the walls I hang my new life on
all the hooks drilled into your grooves
thank you for not whistling
I
don’t
think
I
could
handle
that
You could be watching me but I know you’re not
Never really cared about the minutia of things
the quiet worries spent hiding my tears in the bathroom
the enevelope of cash in my bedside drawers
beside the envelope of letters adressed to me that I had to write to convince myself I was good enough without you
I wonder why you never read my journals
you would have learned so much
And now you’re here and nestled underneath
when I remember to remember

“This is an obituary.” By Sasha at her kitchen table

Saturday September 22, 2018
9:31am
5 minutes
Empty Condolences
Joey Comeau

I can’t write on this today. Too close. Too close to the mortality of all of us. Suffocating in the what if and the best and the worst and what does this all even mean anyway. Hands around my throat or the possibility of hands and I cannot think about an obituary today. Even though I know it’s natural and why the fuck are we so afraid of death here and why don’t we speak about it more here and now there’s so much new life and this fear and sickness and growing and leaving and loving and all I can do it lie on the floor or light a candle or turn on the stove to make tea.

“she died before age forty” by Sasha on her couch

Friday September 7, 2018
5:11pm
5 minutes
F*** Face
Amber Dawn

She died before age forty
and it’s okay don’t be sad about it
she was ready she’d lived
a full life
she’d fucked
and fled
and funned
and stayed
and stopped
and loved

She died before she turned forty
right but she lived more in those
years than most people live in
their eighty two or seventy six

She called her sister
before she died
because her sister couldn’t be there
she was the only on
she had two new babies
two new babes
and she called her sister
and her sister cried and cried
her nipples dripping milk
the twins sleeping beside her
she rocked them with her foot

“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.

“isolated, alienated, and uncomfortable” by Sasha on her balcony

Wednesday June 27, 2018
8:12am
5 minutes
From quillette.com

You died seventeen months ago. I count in months because years doesn’t give the weight. I stopped counting in weeks, in days, because that felt too heavy. There probably hasn’t been a minute that I haven’t thought of you, a whole sixty seconds. No way.

Pete said that you basically killed yourself, that you wanted to die. I said I wasn’t sure about that.

I play your guitar on the front porch and sometimes the cat from across the street comes and rubs against my legs. Is it you?

I saw the light only for a slippery moment – somewhere between here and there. I saw that I’m not fit to love again, not yet, I’m not fit to wife another husband, not yet.

“Let me die, dear Lord” by Julia on Salt Spring Island

Friday May 18, 2018
10:22pm
5 minutes
The Birth House
Ami McKay

I am giving up my sad boots and asking for something a little less heavy. I want to tip toe toward you and maybe we can all quiet the floor. I want us to be happy. I don’t know how to make that sound better. No metaphors. No regrets. Happy and whole. You can take the old me and kill it. Ask someone if you need to use a particular tool to save the rest. What knife would the good Lord use? Let that one sing her last song at the moon and go gently into the earth. Only death can make room for new life. Only goodbye to sorrow can rebuild.

“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.

“barely do I sense that faint tug” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Wednesday February 7, 2018
7:13am
5 minutes
Hiking With My Shadow
Don McKay

Mimi makes the chocolate birthday cake for Don’s birthday. She mixes wet and dry. Stirs in eggs and oil. She meticulously follows her mother’s recipe. It’s Don’s favourite cake. She’ll make the frosting and ice the cake tomorrow, right before the party.

“Mimi?” Don’s home early.

“I’m in the kitchen.” Of course she is. He knows that’s where to find her. She whisper calls, because Jonah’s napping.

“Mimi, it’s Dad. He’s in the hospital in Calgary and I have to go right away.”

“We’ll come with you…” She’s already taking off her apron.

“No, no… There’s no point. He’ll probably be dead by the time I get there.”

“She’ll use timid hand gestures,” by Julia on the 9

Friday January 19, 2018
4:48pm
5 minutes
Black Roses Bloom
Bill Gaston

She’ll calmly talk about her dad as if he were still alive. She’ll say he’s gone but her arms don’t quite believe it yet. Her jaw won’t accept it as the truth. She’ll stay up late in bed because the book is that good. Except it won’t be a book she’s reading. It’ll be hard to sleep with all those dreams of him. The ones of him showing up at her door with a basket of fresh picked cherry tomatoes and a couple dangerous Chili peppers. The ones of her getting a call from his cell phone but all he does is laugh and laugh when she picks up. The ones of him squeezing her shoulders when he hugs her tight. The ones of him calling her sweetie after a long time apart.

“It’s not fair, after all, to lick tigers so small.” By Julia at D and A’s house

Saturday December 16, 2017
9:47pm
5 minutes
I Can Lick 30 Tigers Today!
Dr. Seuss

When I’m lucky enough
to feel lucky about my tongue
I think of her.
I think of how
all gums no teeth
she could hurl a yell
at any one of us;
have us quaking
in our boots.
Her tongue was a whip.
A weapon.
She used it and the
chorus did sing.
I got mine from her.
I borrowed it once
tried it on
liked it a hell of a lot
and then kept it
in my mouth
like a hard candy
turning it over
against my cheeks.
She could lick a tiger quiet.
She could hum a baby
back into the belly
of her mother.
She could break my
heart and crack it open
in the same breath.
When I’m lucky enough
to think about the origins
of my loud,
when I’m lucky enough
to think about my tongue,
the light in the room lifts.
I am soothed, tender lion cat
nuzzling in the neck
of her sister.
Calmed, the way
an anchovy might.

“Orange County wild fire” by Julia at her desk

Sunday November 26, 2017
9:25pm
5 minutes
from an Instagram post

Aunt Lisa calls my brother’s phone because she’s afraid of talking to me. I would be afraid of me too if I were her. But right now I want to talk to her. She doesn’t know what kind of mood I’m in; what kind of wisdom I’m tapping into. Keith puts the phone on speaker and Aunt Lisa, whispering, tells him, “You don’t have to tell your sister.” I grab the phone from his palm and I flip off the speaker phone. “I’m not doing this with you, Lisa. You will get the pendant dad wanted you to have and that is it. Okay? Stop trying to get your grubby hands on anything else.” After I hang up, Keith is staring at me. “Is that what dad would have wanted? Don’t you think we’re supposed to be coming together right now?” I almost feel bad for him. “She’ll take the skin off your back if you leave it open.”

“my mother gave me his toolbox” by Sasha at her desk

Wednesday Novermber 1, 2017
11:34pm
5 minutes
My Father’s Hammer
John Hodgen

Emma opens the toolbox and smiles, thinking about how Jim would make a joke about how organized she keeps it. “Take after yer mother on that one, that’s for sure,” he’d say. It’s two years to the day since they last spoke. She was riding her bike home from work, and she pulled over to answer her phone because she thought it might be Zac. When she saw that it was her father, she thought about not answering and she feels so guilty about that. She did, though. That’s what Libby always reminds her of. She did answer.

“my mother gave me his toolbox” by Julia at her desk

Wednesday Novermber 1, 2017
9:07pm
5 minutes
My Father’s Hammer
John Hodgen

I had never hung a picture frame before. I didn’t like the idea of putting holes in a wall I was going to have to return. Never stayed around long enough to hold anything that wasn’t already mine. That, and each wall ruined cost one hundred dollars to fix, no matter how small. No matter how nook. Then out of nowhere my mother brings over his toolbox and leaves it on the doorstep. Like a sad nicky nicky nine doors. I couldn’t bring myself to open it until a year later. I found other ways to decorate. Most of my frames lived propped against the walls, as if forever waiting for their turn to go up. They collected dust, like they would if they were hanging, but I pretended I liked them that way. A cluster of art to acccent the floorboards and all the corners where the hundred dollar walls meet. One day it was raining and I somehow got up the nerve to open the box. Inside was a note addressed to me. It said “You can always take it down.” I don’t know how he knew.

“being interviewed” by Sasha on the plane

Tuesday October 24, 2017
6:32pm
5 minutes
From a tweet

Miriam closes her eyes and prays. She would never tell anyone that she does this, a few times a day. It’s new for her and she holds new things close, a smooth black rock in her pocket. She would specify though, if she did tell you, that she isn’t praying to God. She prays to the sky, the colour of raspberry jam right now, sprawling wider than she’s ever seen. She wonders if Dad will still be alive when she gets there. She only brought a carry-on, even though she’s unsure how long she’ll stay. However long it takes. “Some things can’t be rushed,” Dad used to say when they’d be waiting for a calf to be born, clutching thermoses of hot peppermint tea, their breath dancing through the icy barn.

“Vampire bats also appear” by Sasha in bed at Knowlton Lake

Tuesday October 3, 2017
5:53pm
5 minutes
Dust
Charles Pellegrino

I’ve never been sicker.
I always feel that when I’m sick.
I’ve never felt this hot wound sore achey fuckedup messy snot mess.
Can’t focus pencil on page.
Can’t breathe.
Can’t think.
No space.
So tired.
Could someone else please do this for me?
I need help.
I moan and groan and moan more groan more.
Cold water down the throat of knives and you tried to feed me eggs and I ate them, reluctant.
I’ve never been sicker.
This is the worst time.
This is the worst of the most terrible.
I may not survive.
I know that I am dramatic but LittleBoy does see a wolf one day and what happens then?

“I wouldn’t want it any other way” by Julia in the car

Friday September 22, 2017
1:08pm
5 minutes
overheard at York Mills Station

All of us are tired from the rain. Maggie suggests we kill ourselves ceremoniously and Reece flips her shit about that. Maggie stares Reece in the eyes and doesn’t stop until everyone is laughing. Reece reluctantly smirks. The problem with people these days is everyone is offended by everything, Maggie tells us. Reece shakes her head. Some people actually do want to kill themselves, she persists, and I don’t know if you know this but some people actually do. I didn’t know that at all, Maggie says with mock surprise, her favourite of all the mocked anythings. Reece rolls her eyes and opens her chest to the group. Could we all just hold each other and intuit where might be a good place to travel? None of us want to fight and so we huddle close to one another, put our hands on the backs of our neighbours and we close our eyes.

“I could be wrong” by Sasha on her couch


Friday September 8, 2017
12:25am
5 minutes
Overheard at Oak and 16th

I could be wrong but when Steve called, I don’t know, I just felt like I had to tell him. Who are we to make that choice for him, Mom? Seriously! I’m sorry if you feel it’s not my place, but I can’t just stand here and act like someone, Steve, shouldn’t have choice in whether he fucking lives or dies. Mom. Listen to me. LISTEN! He is not a dog! He has a voice! This isn’t about putting down an animal! Okay, I don’t want to fight with you. I don’t want to…

“You waited for me to let you learn” by Julia at her desk


Wednsday September 6, 2017
9:21pm
5 minutes
Yours Is This
Julia Pileggi


It feels like I have been here before
in this moment between Mars and Monday
you are here too like a cup of water
or a good pencil
We chose this space and this timeline to wander together
I know your hands less than I should
You will likely forget mine when I die
Of course I can’t pretend that I won’t
All true things have death attached
And still I hope you don’t go first
Unless your body could use the rest
in which case I will keep my arms strong
so I may hold your last breath
the last time your body builds a memory
I will be the softest bed you ever had to leave

“Host art classes” By Julia at her desk


Saturday August 26, 2017
11:50pm
5 minutes
from a business card


“I think we should buy the warehouse like we talked about.”
“With what money, exactly?”
“Your money. I know, I know–”
“It’s not really my money, you know that right?”
“Well, he left everything to you so whose money could it be?”
“No, obviously, but it doesn’t necesarily feel right to spend it all on an abandonned building because you have a good idea.”
“I am not trying to make you do anything you don’t want to do. But think of what it could be: A place where artists come to create, where they can put on their own events, where we can host classes. Come on, it writes itself.”
“It’s not that easy. I have to make sure I’m using his money for the right thing. This feels like a lot of work.”
“Everything in this life is work. Look, I know I’m asking a lot of you, but you know me. I wouldn’t be suggesting it if I didn’t believe in it. And you have been floating since he died-”
“Am I not allowed to be sad?”
“Of course. Of course you are.”

“Rabies is a fatal disease” by Julia in her bed


Thursday August 17, 2017
12:19am
5 minutes
Health Tips for the Tropical Traveller

we all know the things we thought would kill us
if disturbed
when we were young
wasp nests
staircases
feral cats
rain storm
mouse traps
we all know we stayed behind
the line, worried
waiting
quick sand
mosquito pond
hot stoves
manholes
highways
all meant to be
left
alone

“tremendous whooshing noise” by Julia at her desk


wednesday August 9, 2017
10:35pm
5 minutes
The Enormous Crocodile
Roald Dahl


“If I can’t see you I don’t want to see anyone!”
Mitchell wept into his pillow. He talked to his Dad before bedtime.
Mitchell’s Dad wanted to do the right thing. He didn’t want to confuse him. He didn’t want to make him reliant on someone the rest of the world couldn’t see.
“You can’t leave me,” he cried, “I can’t give you away!”
Mitchell’s Dad told him he would have to let him go and help out the Angels. He didn’t want to leave either but Mitchell was getting so big. He told him he would never really leave him. He’d always be close by, watching over him.
“But how will I know that it’s you?” Mitchell squeaked.

“he can sound like the rain” by Sasha on her couch


Friday May 26, 2017
12:48am
5 minutes
Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You?
Dr. Seuss


“Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear Gemma-ma-ma, happy birthday to you!”

Mom’s made strawberry shortcake. I don’t have to request it, she knows it’s what I want. Calvin is a vegan so she even whipped up some tofu thing for him to have. What a woman. Her face has changed over the last nine months. She’s looking more and more like Gran. It’s the first birthday in our family since Dad died, and I know that Cal just sang the “ma-ma” because that’s what Dad would’ve done. While we eat our cake, the rain starts. It gets quiet.

“Maybe that’s him,” Mom says.

“I don’t ever think about death” by Julia on her couch


Monday March 13, 2017
9:31pm
5 minutes
from Glory And Gore
Lorde


I don’t ever think about death in the dying kind of way. I think I’ll be here then gone then always haunting the people who loved me. I think I’ll be able to reach them. I will try to send them messages until I know they’ve received them.
I will sleep in my sister’s bed and tell her she’s not alone.
I will ride shotgun in my brother’s Lexus and tell him that he is loved.
I will curl up on the couch with my mother and tell her how lucky I was to get her.
I will kneel in the garden with my father and tell him that he is enough.
I will live on the lips of my love and tell him that it’s okay to let me go.

“I felt stung” By Julia in her cabin


Sunday February 26, 2017
10:19pm
5 minutes
Dear Sugar Radio

I don’t have any memories of my mother’s father. He died when I was three, lived in Italy, and I only met him a couple times. The first time, they tell me, was when I was 3 months old. I had my ears peirced with gold studs (by my aunt Patricia, who was also travelling to Italy with us), I carried around a rainbow striped bunny that I would later name “Skittles”, and according to my mother, I was a very picky eater during the first couple months of my life. They tell me that he was a big man, feared by many. They tell me all the other grandkids ran away from him because they were intimidated by his size, or his mood, or his silence. They tell me that when he walked by my crib I begged for him to pick me up. They tell me that it was strange for a small thing to reach out to him. They tell me that he lived for taking me out into the fields to pick fresh figs. They tell me he smiled a lot when we were there.

Sixteen years later I went to Italy for the second time. I found his gravestone. I listened to the air between my life and his. I still can’t say I ever knew him. But I missed him then.

“We heard you loud and clear” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Saturday January 21, 2017
8:19pm
5 minutes
From a text

An eagle with wings spread
blessed the chapel and we gathered
two hundred strong and you stood
at the front between the drum kit
and the electric piano
and you spoke W.H. Auden
while your knees shook and your voice
was strong.

Bent over the plywood coffin
that your father will be cremated in
“sometime later this week”
you said goodbye to the body
that helped to make your body
the body that protected and
didn’t
the body that caught babies
and treated wounds and stitched up
bodies that bleed like his body did

“Oh gosh I would be so horrified” by Julia in Amanda’s bed


Thursday January 5, 2017
12:47am
5 minutes
from an email

When aunt Maxine died she left all her beloved jewelry to my younger sister, Annie, instead of to her own daughter. Gemma stormed in and out of my apartment that year like a horse trying to buck off a leech. She always brought with her an impossible tension followed by a cloud of smoke that she would sometimes beat herself up for. You never need that first cigarette! Trust me, I know, she would shriek. You never do but you think you do and that’s when bad shit starts to happen-dark shit like not trusting yourself! Gemma, I’d beg, can we please stop talking about it?