“concern also has been expressed” by Julia at the bus stop

Friday March 29, 2019
6:25pm
5 minutes
Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering
Sarah J. Buckley

I made a scene at dinner. Call me premenstrual, or incapable of having a nice night out, or insensitive to the needs of the room. Merel has said that about me before. She has said “read the room” and I think she means like a book. So does that mean let the book tell me what I’m experiencing? Am I not supposed to draw conclusions?

Someone asked a specific question and my face turned hot and my eyes filled up and my voice got loud. I don’t know that I was entirely inappropriate, all of us casually at the Cactus Club for happy hour. I am not happy! But the rest of them turned very small. I didn’t want small I wanted bigness. I wanted a fight or a debate or a hug or something.

I am most hurt by silence. By the fear I’ll go off the handle. One person agreed with me. And one person probably now thinks I’m the devil.

Merel says I shouldn’t make assumptions about the intentions of others. But I read the room and I still have to decide if I like it or not, don’t I? Merel would tell me to breathe before thinking anything at all.

“As the cab works its way” by Sasha at her desk

Monday January 27, 2019
4:01pm
5 minutes
Hello, Goodbye
Brady Emerson

As the cab works it’s way around the corner, I press my face up to the glass. Mama will make me clean it with vinegar and newspaper. She always knows when it’s me and when it’s Bailey. The dog doesn’t have to clean up after himself, but he gets put in the laundry room until he whines enough that Mama feels bad. Daddy packed a larger suitcase than usual so I asked him how long he’d be gone for this time. “Not sure, honeybunch,” he said, sad like the day Grampa Jones died. How he could not be sure, I don’t understand but I shouldn’t have to given that I’m only just starting Grade Four. Mama knows that Daddy might be gone until the snow comes, so she hugs Bailey in bed for a long time and I have peanut butter and jelly for dinner.

“making dinner for my family” by Julia at Rivendell

Sunday January 20, 2019
11:08pm
5 minutes
The Other, Invented Man
Matthew Vollmer

I’m chopping onions to simmer for my man
Tonight we feast and I feed him and he wants me
Tomorrow I’ll surprise him with a new dish I’ve never made before and I’ll feed him and he’ll want me
If I were alone I would get resourceful
Start with one egg and see far I can stretch it
See how many meals one egg holds
If I have no one to please or impress,
no one a barometer for if I’ve gone to
the grocery store in a while or chosen something I was curious about tasting
When he’s home I put on the alien, the apron, the mask
I find a different reality
If I had a full family I would cook for them
I wouldn’t need to feel anything after that

“experiences unbearable psychological turmoil” by Sasha in her old room

Wednesday December 26, 2018
11:32pm
5 minutes
Eros
Stella Kalogeraki

We gathered around the table in the common room. Fluorescent lights. Boughs spread. A strange ache. A beauty. Cups and cutlery that Mom collected over the week from lunch and dinner trays. I made stew and we ate it out of compostable bowls. J. kept saying, “It’s quiet in here!” We shared a few homemade gifts. We took photos. We ripped pieces of focaccia from a loaf. I sat at the end on the left. I couldn’t be in the middle. I felt my eyes heavy, my heart in my guts, my jaw clenched. I played with J. “This is my kitchen!” She said, and she put earth from a potted plant into a cup with a spoon.

“Our “new” or higher brain” by Julia at her desk

Wednesday November 21, 2018
2:25pm
5 minutes
Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering
Sarah J. Buckley

Take me out to dinner
I say this to me
me says this to me
take me out of this house
and into the world
Order something delicious!
I say this to me as
if I might try to save a few
dollars like the last time
I had this conversation
Take the good out and let
the world see it so they can
see themselves the way they need to
It is not easy
It could be easy
Leave the house! Leave the house!
I say this to me when I have tricked
myself into believing that
inside will keep me from breaking
But it isn’t like that
I could lie and say I’d prefer
to stay inside where it is safe
but the truth is that is where
all the breaking happens
It is not safe indoors with all
the mirrors and all the couch
not asking me to leave it
Take yourself on a walk
I say this to myself when my body
feels like it has forgotten
how to move
Smell the fresh mountain air!
That’s why you live here!
I say this to myself when I catch
a bead of sweat pooling in the
elbow crease
This is today’s sweat in yesterday’s
sweater and this does not keep
you safe
I say this to myself so I can hear
it in the voice of someone
higher than me

“a sleek white line” by Sasha on her couch

Sunday May 27, 2018
10:10pm
5 minutes
Are You Really An Artist?
Leah Burns

I first notice Steve’s expression as he’s carving a chicken. It’s Sunday. Emma and Bobby are home for dinner. Steve picked them up at Emma’s dorm, even though Bobby’s off campus now. Emma was chattering on about intramurals, and I saw it – this vacancy – sweep across Steve’s face. I’ve known Steve for forty two years, right, like, we met when we were five years old. We’ve been married for twenty… You’d think I’d have seen every expression that that man can muster! Nope. It was like a tumbleweed could’ve swept across his cheeks. He was gone.

“Hon?!” I said, scared he might slice off his finger.

“I am weary” by Julia at The Cottage

Wednesday May 9, 2018
10:23pm
5 minutes
The Identity Repairman
Thomas Sayers Ellis

I told him I made a dinner out of scraps when he asked
said I used the butt of the broccoli and the kale that
had been in there for 6 weeks, wrinkling slowly.
Then I mentioned the bacon and he said Oh The Bacon?
And I said I’m still alive, AND didn’t have to leave
the house. He said he was going to stop off somewhere
and pick something up because he was hungry and I said
please help yourself to my left over left overs and he
said I Trust Your Left Overs. I Trust Them. And I knew
without asking that he did not trust them. He was weary
of them. And so I did ask, because of comedy, and he
said he was going to stop off somewhere and pick
something up because he was hungry. I am never weary of
the bottom of the fridge or the inside of a stranger’s
throat. I will peer in if I have the chance and take
a chipped mug from the shelves of unwanted nick nacks.
I am only weary of people who are weary of me for not
being weary at all. Now I will have left overs of left
overs left over to eat for lunch tomorrow. And I will
still be alive then too. Because it’s not a death
sentence. It just makes my farts smell impossible.

“the hypocrites will teach.” By Sasha at her desk

Monday May 7, 2018
11:10pm
5 minutes
From a quote by Suzy Kassem

“I’m so glad you’ve come, Genevieve! I didn’t think you were going to – “ Katherine smells like Clinique.

“You didn’t tell you Mom I was coming?” Genevieve whispers out the side of her mouth.

“ I did,” says Sara. “I absolutely did.”

Katherine’s white collar is popped in a way that Genevieve has never seen, and somehow it looks good on her. She dyes her hair a deep red, almost purple. Somehow it looks good on her.

She’s slicing watermelon for the salad. “Sara says your almost done your thesis, is that true?”

“Why would I lie?” Sara looks at Genevieve like, “I’m sorry.”

“Jon came home” by Sasha at her kitchen table

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

Jon comes home and he’s angry and shivering.

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Spaghetti sounds good.”

“A woman in the shape of a monster” by Julia on the 99

Monday April 2, 2018

10:57pm

5 minutes

Planetarium

Adrienne Rich

I guess I’m supposed to shape shift into the Phoenix now, huh? Rise from the ashes and flap my glorious wings around, fanning all the too hot, too dangerous. You expect me to be big the way you expect dinner to be on the table when you come home. I guess I’m supposed to use you as my downfall and build a sturdy ladder from my rock bottom so I can climb my ass to the fucking moon. You’d like that wouldn’t you: a real success story to attach your dick to. Watch me decide which edge to use as I slice the vein out of your skin. Show you just how much monster I can be, when you expect me to be anything but mine.

“Don’t tell her what?” By Julia on her couch

Sunday December 3, 2017
10:14pm
5 minutes
The Humans
Matt Haig

You’re waiting for me to join you at the table.
You have been hungry since yesterday.
I am busy finding old books with the right message.
“There’s an answer in one of these.” I tell you.
“I don’t think you’re going to find what you’re looking for.” You say.
On the table is a feast and you were sweet enough to go pick it up.
I am hungry too, but maybe not for rice or salmon.
I am hungry for answers. I want to know so many things.
I think that’s why sleeping has been hard.
I keep trying to turn over old concepts in my brain
without getting any new information.
You’re waiting at the table and you do not make me feel bad.
You don’t ask me to hurry up like you usually do.
Eventually we will both have to eat and I will have to wait.
I can’t remember if the message is in a book or in a dream I once had.
I flip through the pages without looking.
I knnow there is some guidance here if I trust it.
“What are you doing?” You ask.
“Praying” I say.
“What are you praying for?” You ask.
“For me. For you. For us.” I say.

“I wanted to go on sitting there” by Sasha at the casita

Friday October 20, 2017
10:47am
5 minutes
Rebecca
Daphne Du Maurer

Mama’s talking about the spaceship’s coming and Papa’s yelling at her to “SHUT UP, CLARISSA!” Petey reaches for Mama and flings his glass of milk off the table and he wails and wails. I take him upstairs and change him into his PJ’s. Mama and Papa yell a bit and Mama cleans up the mess. Kimmy still isn’t speaking and we’re all worried about that.

“The aliens are coming tonight, Phil!” Yells Mama and Papa rubs his temples like he always does.

Petey looks so cute in his one piece red number and I make faces at him so he doesn’t hear the strangeness. He smiles his big toothless moon smile and for a moment everything feels alright.

“Thank you for delivering your promise…” By Sasha in Mississauga

Thursday September 28, 2017
6:51pm
5 minutes
From an email

When Mona calls she sounds stressed. More so than usual. She always sounds stressed but today she sounds wired. I ask her what’s up and she says that she lost her prescription and she’s been off her meds. I ask her if she wants me to drive down and she says absolutely not, I’ve got the kids this week and… I tell her it’s no trouble, that I promised Aunt Barb that I’d look out for her. There’s a long silence. I ask if she wants to come to dinner. She says, “Yes.”

“This one has more nuts” By Julia at the studio


Wednesday September 13, 2017
6:28pm
5 minutes
Overheard at Bump n’ Grind

Last night I thought I’d woo you with a sage butter walnut sauce
in my dreams the slick pasta would make you hard instantly
then you’d fuck me on the counter top
taking breaks to slurp back another slippery noodle
Last night I made a sage butter walnut sauce
Okay, margarine
I should have grinded the nuts more
I should have put fewer in
You ate three bowls and we didn’t fuck once
You asked why I wasn’t talking
I said these walnuts are killing me
You laughed
it really wasn’t funny
I told you sometimes I’m not sure how deep this
sadness lives
You interrupted me then, the first real thing I’d said
in days
to tell me how much you liked the sage
I guess dreams really do come true

“Popeye was right!” By Sasha at her desk


Friday June 16, 2017
10:46pm
5 minutes
La Dolce Vegan
Sarah Kramer


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.

“it will be a tight squeeze” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Saturday May 27, 2017
12:17am
5 minutes
http://www.onceuponachef.com

“It will be a tight squeeze, but we can fit you in over there by the window?” Mark yawns. He wishes he didn’t have to do this shit. He knows Gary would kill for a seventy dollar steak. He wishes that Gary could come and put on this charade. He wishes that he could rock the twins to sleep and then watch the Handmaid’s Tale on Hulu.

“By the window is fine,” says Ken. It’s their third business dinner out this week. “Mr. Sanders will be here any minute.” The hostess – tall, black boots, white cocktail dress, pink lipstick – walks them to the table.

“Chickpeas / tahini” by Julia on her couch


Monday May 1, 2017
11:06pm
5 minutes
from a grocery list

in the event of me being put
in charge to host a dinner
party
I would air on the side of
Italian
garnish with
basil
everywhere
tomato
garlic/bread
The music would be chosen with
more stress than should
accompany
a fun night
with friends
eventually confident
Golden Oldies
no one can hate the Golden fucking Oldies
and if they arrive early
(and they always do)
there will be a cheese based
plate or chips, or dips, or good
conversation, until
the food I mistimed
is ready to be served
All Oldies All The Time

“While I watched a yellow caterpillar” by Sasha on her couch


Wednesday March 29, 2017
11:24pm
5 minutes
Standing
Shel Silverstein


My sister had dance class on Thursday nights. My Mom would take her there. I’m not sure what she would do while my sister danced – did she read a book? Eat a chocolate chip cookie? See a friend?

My Dad and I would be home alone together. This was rare. It was treasured. The King and Queen would come for dinner. We would eat something my Mom had left on the stove for us.

Afterwards, when the food had settled and the King and Queen had left, we would go into the dining room and dance to Dire Straits. Sometimes I would dance on my own feet and sometimes my Dad would pick me up.

“Clear eyes” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Saturday February 18, 2017
7:47pm
5 minutes
Friday Night Lights

“What would you like for dinner?” He said.
“Pasta?” She said.
“I thought we were getting off wheat?” He said.
“Pizza?” She said.
He smiled.
She kept her eyes on her books, sure that if she moved them that she’d lose what she’d learned.
“Salad?” He said.
“Sure.” She said.
She was unenthused though.
“Soup?” He said.
“Yes! Soup!” She said.
It was still cold out and she needed the nourishing warmth of something hot and filling.
“Lentil?” He said.
“Sure.” She said.
He watched her, so focused, and he thought about the first time he met her. He thought about her clear eyes.
“So rare,” he’d told his mother. “So rare to see such clear eyes.”

“provide reasonable protection” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Thursday, September 1, 2016
9:51pm
5 minutes
From an external hard drive warranty

Margie adds a scoop of cumin to the chilli and watches a cardinal land on the big old maple that has seen it all. Craig putters in the basement. Jazz plays on the radio. She hasn’t been cooking much this winter, what with the tragedy at the school, and so many long hours. It feels good to have soaked the beans, stewed the tomatoes, chopped the garlic, onions, peppers and sweet potato, and toasted the spices, just the way her mother taught her. There won’t be cornbread, but there will be a thick nest of old cheddar on top. “Almost ready?” Craig calls up. He’s hungry, having met with a struggling student through his lunch break, causing him to forget to eat. Margie often finds sandwiches in Craig’s briefcase from days before. She shakes her head. He cares so much, she thinks, putting turkey and swiss, ham and cucumber, rye with almond butter and banana, right into the compost pail on the counter.

“creamed corn with beer” by Sasha at Foundry Rd.


Monday July 4, 2016
10:16pm
5 minutes
Visiting my Sisters
Phil Hall


Vince likes his creamed corn with beer. He eats this on Sundays, because Sundays are lazy. Mondays Vince has a tuna melt with three dill pickles. Counts as his vegetables. That and the celery. “Good amount of veg,” thinks Vince. Tuesdays Vince goes for wings with Andy. Might even have a beer if he’s feeling deserving. Always gets Honey Garlic. He can’t handle heat. Andy makes fun of him, every week, because he gets Suicide. Vince used to laugh but doesn’t anymore. He doesn’t get how a joke can be funny the four hundredth time.

“how she wants to move herself” by Julia at Starbucks


Monday June 27, 2016 at Starbucks
7:04am
5 minutes
Apartment Hunting in the East End
Don Austin


How she wants to move herself is her business! My father exclaims from behind the island in the kitchen as he emphatically chops up the rabbit he’s getting ready for dinner. Why are we all spending so much time worrying about her? His cleaver comes down hard and clean, splitting leg from torso. I don’t know, Honey, I think this is a call for help. Tanya needs us right now and we’re just watching her spiral! My mother remains at her makeshift office in the corner of the dining room that connects to the kitchen. Her glasses are balancing on the tip of her nose. She wants to pay a bunch of strangers to crack her mind open so they can fill it back up with useless garbage!
Rita, my father shakes his head. We don’t need to get involved. She’s a grown woman. We did our job already. I don’t know, I just don’t know, my mother grumbles to herself.

“It’s a little big now” by Julia on the 84


Thursday May 19, 2016
8:14pm
5 minutes
overheard at Kafka’s

he was cooking dinner on the island
he liked to call it his ‘cutting station’
where he did most of his cutting
not me
i liked to use the counters by the fridge
i don’t really like the feeling
of floating in the middle of something
just dangling out there
alone
he asked me what my favourite thing to eat was
when i told him i said but it has to be the way
my dad used to make it
he said not to worry
he said he would take care of me
when i looked at his ‘cutting station’
i couldn’t see one ingredient that matched
the items i told him
all the things necessary to make
my favourite thing to eat
i tried not to be bothered by it
or to worry
he said he would take care of me and
i had to
trust him
but i could smell the veggies cooking
and i could tell that he wasn’t
getting
it
right
and so i was bothered by it
and i did worry
and i missed my dad
in that moment more than ever
nothing is the same after your favourite loves die
not life
not dinner

“Get just the right pick-me-up” by Julia at her dining table


Tuesday March 15, 2016
12:00am
5 minutes
pulpliterature.com

You go to sleep early because you’ve been up since 6:27am and you say that the mountains have made you tired again. I can hear you breathing from behind the living room wall. You sound like you’re trying to send me tiny signals as I stay up to paint my nails. I don’t like to go to sleep after you but it’s been happening more and more these days. I am racing against daylight and I can’t afford to take short cuts right now. I know your body’s heat by this time. I know that there’s a softness there in the curve of your back that fits most of my organs perfectly. I picture that spot while I think simultaneously about chicken thighs with preserved lemon or that surprise weekend getaway golden ticket you gave me for my birthday last June. You told me to pick wherever I wanted to go. I told you we could close our eyes, point on the map and go where our fingers land.

“In my house we never had enough” by Julia on her bed


Tuesday March 8, 2016
9:49pm
5 minutes
The Artist’s Way
Julia Cameron


In my house we never had enough moments of pure ease–we had some tensions around the dinner table–us correcting dad’s grammar, one little one getting in trouble for skipping school again, the big on getting in trouble for wanting to leave the dinner table to go work on her homework, the middle one getting in trouble for slamming the door earlier.
“Eat what’s on your plate”
“Eat this or don’t eat”
If you don’t eat what’s on your plate, you can’t leave the table”
We couldn’t say we weren’t hungry–we couldn’t say we didn’t want the risotto or the second day fried spaghetti or the chicken scallopini or the veal fettine with lemon and parsley. How could we say we don’t want to eat these good things with you when you get mad at us for BREATHING.
“You should feel so lucky you get to eat like this”
“You should see what the other kids have to eat every night: pasta from a can, tuna salad sandwiches”
“But we like tuna”
“Not for dinner we don’t”
Some moments reeked of attempted ease.
A joke here–him trying to steal a fork full of meat off our plates when weren’t looking–a question about the neighbour’s dog.

“No need to hurry” by Sasha on her porch


Saturday, July 18, 2015
11:43am
5 minutes
From an email

No need to hurry, Si. You’ll trip! Your shoelaces are undone… Silas! Shit. Come here. Come here. You’re alright, you’ll be alright. Shhh… Sh… Mikey and Lizz are coming for supper. What shall we make. Burritos? How bout burritos? And you and Mikey can have fizzies and me and Lizz will have grown-up fizzes with wine. Oh. I guess we should stop at the liquor store, then. Or… No, can’t ask Lizz to bring, she’s always so low on cash. Not sure why she doesn’t ask Greg for more spending money. It’s not like he doesn’t have more than enough! And then he takes the kids to Marine Land and gets all the glory while Lizz is left – … Silas? Nevermind. Honey, don’t pick that up. That’s garbage! SILAS! Don’t you dare put that in your mouth. There’ll be no fizzy for you!

“Northern Adventures” by Sasha at the Angel’s Nest


Wednesday, June 10, 2015
10:42pm
5 minutes
from a pamphlet

Last night I fried zucchini with garlic and I fed it to you with my fingers. You leaned in and bit my lip and my eyes filled with tears. “Oh no!” You said, “oh no!” You didn’t draw blood. I fed you more zucchini and you put a tiny piece of garlic in my mouth, too.

The night before you’d shaved off your beard and I was so sad but I smiled because I didn’t want you to feel bad. You touched your face like it didn’t belong to you. “Look at my chin,” you said, jutting it out.

“residents at a homeless shelter” by Julia at Dalston Kingsland Station


Wednesday December 10, 2014
9:33pm
5 minutes
from howlround.com

Sel walks in and she’s so happy. I see her face from behind the desk and I know she’s gonna give me some good news. After the day I’ve been having, it wouldn’t take much. I keep working so the surprise feels more real. I know she’s gonna come up to me and tell me right away so I make her work for it a tiny bit.
She has to stop herself from skipping all the way to the desk, but I’m there stapling, labelling, checking off boxes until she sees she has to request me. You busy, Middy? And I stop what I’m doing for a brief second. Mhm, same same. Would you be able to take a quick break then, Middy? And I stop fully, look her in the eyes. What can I help you with, Sel? There’s that big smile again. Oh, nothing! I’ve got it all sorted! Got what all sorted, Sel? And she holds up a bag of Roasted Chicken and Thyme potato crisps. You got yourself the munchies there, Sel? And she laughs. Don’t worry about the Christmas budget this year, Middy! THESE TASTE EXACTLY LIKE A TURKEY DINNER.

“It’s almost like cheating.” By Sasha at her kitchen table


Thursday September 11, 2014
6:02pm
5 minutes
from an interview with Emma Healey in papirmasse

She peels the avocado, bit by bit. She thinks she’s alone. Henry is home from his job in the stock room of the grocery store. He’s brought a bottle of sparkling water. The cap is dented. “Can’t sell it,” he says. “There’s an easier way of doing that, Mom,” says Henry. She jumps. “Jesus! I thought you were downstairs!” He smiles. He walks into the kitchen. “Why are you doing it like that?” “Because it’s slower.” “That doesn’t make any sense..” “Why not?” “Because… we’re hungry!” She smiles, now, such a similar smile. Both Henry and Amelia got her smile. Sylv’s nose and her smile. It’s nice. “Dinner will be ready by six thirty. I’m taking my time. I like doing it like this. It’s satisfying. Now leave me alone or… help.” Henry takes another avocado and cuts it carefully in half. He scoops on the flesh with a spoon.

“roasted fennel” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Tuesday April 15, 2014
8:40pm
5 minutes
A post on Instagram

Sam made salmon and roasted fennel last night. “I’m gonna make you dinner,” he said, a carry bag over his shoulder and the car keys swinging around his index finger. He returned from the market with a grin and a wink. I rolled my eyes. “Don’t be an Oscar,” he whispered into my ear. “Don’t be a grouch,” he means. What a dweeb. I was working on a deadline for an editor I am desperately hoping to impress. “I’m going to keep the house exceptionally clean,” said Sam, mopping the kitchen floor. “You’re an angel,” I repeat daily. He is. He is an angel. “Dinner’s ready!” Sam calls and when I enter the kitchen, a few minutes later, he’s using his grandmother’s dish-ware and has lit three candles. He’s turned the lights down and he’s poured me a glass of wine. “You’re so dedicated. You inspire me,” he says, kissing me. He tastes like he’s been testing things, making sure they’re flavoured just right. A dash of paprika, a stroke of miso on the fish, roasted garlic, fennel brushed with olive oil and rosemary.