“we should not trust the masses” by Julia at M and D’s table

Thursday August 15, 2019
1:03pm
5 minutes
Discourses
Epictetus

This tiny bug starts crawling on my arm
and I know I’m not supposed to freak out
about a tiny bug but I’m afraid because
my dad told me that they were going to
suck my blood and even though I have
never seen teeth on a bug this teeny tiny
I believe him because he is my dad and
why would my dad lie to me especially
if it’s about being bit or not being bit

I am going to the Philippines with my
mom and my dad told me there were
all kinds of bugs flying around there so
now I am scared of the Philippines the
way I am afraid of my backyard because
what if I get bit and then I never get to
see him again and I shouldn’t be going
in the first place if I know that there are
bugs that are always trying to land on me

I didn’t apply to university because my
dad said that there are so many people
all at once and he reminded me that I
don’t do very will with big crowds because
someone might step on me or hurt me or
stab me or steal my purse or push me or
take me and put me in their car and hide
me in their basement for 4-7 years while
I am forced to eat dust and have their babies

“Aida drank her father’s unsugared coffee” by Sasha in her bed

Sunday August 4, 2019
10:21pm
5 minutes
A Dull Yellow Presence
Mona’a Malik

Aida reaches across the table and takes a sip of her father’s unsugared coffee. It tastes like tar.

“What are you doing?” He’s back from the washroom, hands in his pockets, crease between his eyebrows deeper than when he left.

“I just wanted to – …”

“That’s for grown-ups.” He sits down and stacks his cutlery on his plate, putting the paper napkin, folded, on top.

“I’m sorry, Papa.” Aida gets that sinking feeling in her stomach and wonders when her mother will pick her up. Saturday morning breakfasts with her father were court ordered. No one checked with her.

“Aida drank her father’s unsugared coffee” by Julia laying

Sunday August 4, 2019
8:21pm
5 minutes
A Dull Yellow Presence
Mona’a Malik

Aida lays with her left eye in her palm, pulsing, pushing. Her father is across from her in his easy chair, perusing the daily flyers. That’s the only thing he enjoys reading. The last book he finished was in 2000. He doesn’t remember the title, but the year is easy to recall.

Aida doesn’t like to be gaurded, watched. She feels like her parents keep taking turns on “Aida Duty” and neither of them really want to do it. Aida clears her throat, a bit strained.

Her father leans over and passes her his cup. She takes a sip and shudders.

“Llttle wallet multicolour has zip” by Julia in Kettle Valley

Saturday June 29, 2019
7:01am
5 minutes
from and old text from my dad

I look for this bag and you are Ocean far telling me there’s something in it for me
I look for this bag
What bag
I took this bag Out
I took another
I put the bag Away
I shelved the other
There is nothing new and you are Ocean away telling me
You are telling me it’s there and did I find it?
I am worried it’s money
I know it’s money and I’m worried because you snuck it in there
Where?
Where did you sneak it?
It, still a surprise
In the Bag, you say
Front Pocket
It’s been days and do I always take out my things and put them away without looking?
Wouldn’t it catch my eye?
Tell me where to find it again, I say
Ocean away, you say
Llttle wallet multicolour has zip
Little wallet
Must be money
I have no multicolour wallet but
You call it a wallet because I
had some money in there
Just in there
Because I do that
If you had looked in my book
you might have put it there too

“Get an alert when the price drops” by Julia on her balcony

Monday June 17, 2019
6:41am
5 minutes
From FlightHub.com

dad wants to see me
pay for my flight wants to see me
I speak to him on the phone and I tell him don’t worry
about the money right now

but I dont think my narcisism will rest if I let it believe that he just wants us all there together.
I was just there.
Last month I was there and we saw each other for 3 Sunday lunches in a row and 3 Monday dinners.

I chose to live far away.
I didn’t realize how often I’d want to go back.

Summer in the city is packed with juice. I like to be there for that so I can suck it dry, let it crust on my chin.

I don’t want to say no because of money but money becauses me much more than I’d like it to.
It’s always more than it says and the deals come with an asterisk.

“Exactly how they want you to be” by Julia in J’s Attic

Friday May 10, 2019
9:49pm
5 minutes
Martin John
Anakana Schofield

She sits, pretty, mouth closed, because pretty
She is 7, going on 8, she is the middle child
Her younger sister is wearing white beside her
She is wearing white
Her sister youngest is beside her wearing white
They are all to be seen, not heard, no peeps, no sound
Mother does the talking
Mother always does the talking
Mother talks circles around Father
Father says little but is feared most
She is sitting, not speaking, no peeps, wondering
Am I Allowed To Go To The Bathroom?
Am I Allowed To Ask If I Can Go To The Bathroom?
Am I Allowed To Need To Use The Bathroom?
The clock ticks a slow death, a burn, a punishment
She is counting everything she knows how to count:
chickens, lashings, siblings, six of each
times she woke up from being unconscious:
three, and one she is not remembering
The adults are eating, maybe laughing, but none of them see
They don’t see three pretty little dolls sitting on the couch
Three pretty little dolls, dolled up for the sake of looking at
Three pretty dolls too afraid to move or be heard
She sits still with her hands clasped in her lap, knuckles itching
The way a nightmare might

“a wish for happiness” by Julia in Jessica’s attic

Tuesday April 29, 2019
10:22pm
5 minutes
A quote by the Dalai Lama

I wish for happiness the way I wish for
a seat sale to fly me back into the swell
of my mother’s longing. I wish for her
linguini and clam sauce above all other
things, and dad’s Shrimp With a Vengeance.
He does not make them the same way twice
and for the first time in my life I am happy
that I inherited that from him. Earlier I
told J that I didn’t know how I was going
to cut the potatoes until I put the knife
to one. She thought I was being self-
deprecating again, a trait I did not get
from him. If I have to trace it back, I’d
say I got it from my mother but hers has
gone away now since she started swearing.
I think I’m the one she got that from.
The first time I came home from theatre
school she was shocked at how easily
my tongue had turned to fucking mud.

“He had to warm the guy up fast” by Julia on her bed

Tuesday March 12, 2019
8:53pm
5 minutes
The Obsidian Chamber
Preston & Child

So Ray is playing ball this year and he’s got one hell of an arm. I was warming him up in my backyard last night and that kid almost took my nose off. One hell of a pitcher. He looks like he’s having fun too and that’s in spite of Rory coming to every practice with his stupid lawn chair trying to get inside that poor kid’s head. Surprised he wasn’t on my porch hollering at me. Ray gets all of his attention. His other kid, well shoot, I don’t even know her name. She don’t play ball, that’s all I do know, or Rory would be splitting his rage between the two of them. Maybe she’s better off. I can’t tell, really. Ray seems to have his head on straight but at his age he could just be showing his shyness. He doesn’t want to be like his dad, so there could be some intentionality behind it as well. Either way, that kid’s arm. I’ll tell you, if I were hitting against him this year I’d be out at the batting cages every damn day.

“grateful to be where we are now.” By Julia on her couch

Friday January 11, 2019
12:06am
From a Christmas card

A garden preened to the high heavens mocks my morning walk to the compost heap left bubbling
I hate these neighbours and their tireless knees
How some people sit like that I will never understand
My mother didn’t meet her green thumb until her 60s so maybe there’s still time for me. Not sure why my father didn’t force me into the earth when I was young and curious. Some life skills I fear I may never own
My garden wouldn’t make sense anyway-a clump of rosemary, a hill of daisies
I have never been willing to look so far ahead into a year
It’s the same pill I swallow when packing my things even if only for the night

“He was young and handsome” by Julia at the table

Saturday January 5, 2019
5:36pm
5 minutes
The Elephant Vanishes
Haruki Murakami

This year we didn’t look at old photos of you
and Mom wearing your brilliant sweaters at Niagara Falls.
I think there was too much going on, but I missed it anyway.
Tracing the outline of your fro,
curls I know intimately since they landed on my head too.
Thank you for those, by the way.
When I was little and everyone said I looked more like you
it used to break my heart.
I don’t know why I thought it was anything but a compliment.
You were young and handsome.
You are still young and handsome.
I am in awe of how big your heart has grown in these sixty-two years of living.
Sixty-two years today.
You have gotten so soft and there is all this room for me now.
Thank you for that too, by the way.
I am looking at the photo of you holding me for the first time
a month and a couple weeks after your thirty-second birthday,
and the look in your eyes as you look down at me
is turning me into something sweet.
Thank you for that.
That is how I see you too.

“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

“Help yourself to some food” by Julia at the studio

Saturday November 17, 2018
11:10am
5 minutes
From a text

I’ve got an Italian family waiting for me at the table and they’re excited to see me. My mother will make her new favourite thing: date walnut cookies. Some will have chocolate chunks. Some will be overcooked and she will be the only one to notice. Most will fly off the table before I get there. I have to hurry, one month until we’re all laughing. Until my brother tells the same story he’s told for years. Until my sister makes a very good family photo on her fancy camera. There will be clam sauce because I am coming home and my mom knows it’s my favourite. There will be crab legs and the best mushrooms on this side of the world. My father will say, this smells like a happy home. And it will be. We have a lot to talk about. A lot of food to praise. I’m going to stop eating now to prepare. Italian families don’t trust a person who refuses food. They won’t believe you if you say you’re full anyway.

“his birthplace has now lost its charm” by Julia on her couch

Wednesday November 14, 2018
7:01am
5 minutes
Master of the Masterpiece
Anya Georgijevic

I am planning my trip to Italy
It is 2014. I will go stay with my Nonna and my Zia and my cugini in my mother’s town. Lozzola, land of parmeggiano, prosciutto, the famous Nocciole for the best tasting spring water you’ve ever blessed your throat with.
I ask my father if I should go to Calabria. San Nicola where he’s from. He says nobody lives there anymore. Everyone moved to Canada or to heaven and there’s no one left at the lemon tree. I want to see where he lived for the first 7 years of his life. Where he learned to run, eat crusty pane in warm cocoa milk.
He tells me there would be no point now. No one is there.

“Most families” by Julia at her desk

Thursday October 11, 2018
6:10pm
5 minutes
Poor and Poorer
Jerrold Ladd

Most families are not all families. I have to tell you I’m lucky.
Lucky that I never had to prove myself anyone. Lucky that I could
move out and move far and the guilt wouldn’t be there. The guilt
wasn’t given to me. I am lucky that my father shows love in sauteed
shrimp and that my mother will talk to me on the phone for an hour
if I’m walking that far. I am lucky that my sister sees my insides.
That she thinks my growth is beautiful. That she isn’t afraid to
tell me the truth. That she never pulls me down when I’m up.
That my brother let’s me call him whatever I want. That he wears
the bracelet I got him for Christmas 6 years ago. That he will pick
me up from the airport during a blizzard. Drive me to the airport
on his only day off. Tell the story at the table that makes me look
hilarious. I am lucky that my family gives what they have and doesn’t
count favours. That they send me photos of their meals when the only
thing missing is me. I am lucky that my family holds me. That they
think I’m important enough to wait for.

“Most families” by Sasha at the table at Terrace Beach

Thursday October 11, 2018
4:05pm
5 minutes
Poor and Poorer
Jerrold Ladd

I know how lucky I am and I don’t take it for granted. Really I don’t. I know how lucky I am when I become an artist and no one questions it or asks how I’ll pay rent; when I fail and rise and break and shed and am seem for all of it, for each of them, by each of them. I know when I see how she isn’t known by her family in the way she wants so badly to be, and she is known by mine, in a different way, but in a way closer to her craving. I know how lucky I am, when he has pie and tea with my father and can talk about how hard it’s been, how he doubts me, and us, and the future, and more so himself.

“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

“lured into my childhood home” by Julia at the studio

Tuesday October 9, 2018
1:34pm
5 minutes
The Stray
Stephen A. Waite

Matthew and Mark used to watch scary movies at their house. I used to lay with my head in Matthew’s lap and my legs in Mark’s. I felt like my older cousins were taking care of me. We weren’t allowed to watch scary movies at our house. And after seeing IT with them when I was six, I figured out why. I have always been the dreaming kind. Pisces born on land, a vivid seer of worlds beyond my own. I knew the answers were there. I knew the questions were there. I knew I was making connections and being guided. Of course when nightmares are a regular occurrence, it’s hard to think they serve a purpose other than torture, punishment, torment.
I used to pray before bed to avoid the bad. Pray to override the scary images swirling around in my tiny body. What did Matthew and Mark have? Who did they talk to about their bad dreams? Did they just learn not to remember them? Was it easier to stay quiet and keep watching scary movies? Was watching scary movies less scary than the reality they had to face?

For a while I used to associate their dad with Beetlejuice. One time he came to Mark’s room to tell us to shut up and go to sleep. In the shadows, his eyes looked sunken in. I dreamed about him that night instead.

“That’s the bottom line.” By Julia on the 2

Wednesday June 13, 2018
3:40pm
5 minutes
From a quote by James Baldwin

It’s underneath my anger and sweeps below the bitterness
The way you say I love you to your father
The way you call him your man
You take all the risks in your life when it comes to loving
You know how to lead by example and love non-stop as if you weren’t worried about it running dry
It’s in the baby picture of you smiling that same smile
So I don’t know if I can stay angry
At the day, at the weather, at the sting of you
Because you can be so good
So soon after claiming your space
I should be happy you have chosen to show me this side of you
And I am happy
That’s the bottom line

“God may have written” by Julia on her couch

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

10:33pm

5 minutes

From a quote by Nancy Cartwright

Aubrey tells me that she wishes she could sing without trying. Without crying. Without opening her mouth. She asks me to ask God what can be done about that. She asks me because I’m taller than her and therefore closer to God. She’s not wrong…

When I ask her why she wants this she doesn’t answer with words but with a look of disapproval. As if I didn’t already know. As if it needs to be spelled out.

Aubrey tells me it’s important that singing be true. She says she’s heard enough people trying and she doesn’t want to be the kind who has to push put feelings; one who tries to get it right.

Would you be okay with being wrong? I ask her, a little afraid now that I’ve pushed her too far.

She smiles then and blows her bangs out of her oval face.

“Jobs for college students” by Julia on M’s front porch

Sunday March 11, 2018

7:08pm

5 minutes

Seediness

James got me a job working the phones at the writing centre after he heard me give an improvised tour of it even though I had only just walked into the place five minutes prior. He liked my spunk and I liked that he needed someone to replace him while he worked out or read a book to his kid over lunch hours on Mondays Wednesday and sometimes Fridays. His wife let him see her during the days because she didn’t want her getting used to seeing him only before bed. She was convinced that’s how you give a child nightmares. I presume she meant when he couldn’t make it at nighttime, as understandably, he sometimes would not. I used to steal pens and post its and I never felt bad about it. I guess I thought James wouldn’t care because I assumed he did the same thing. I felt like a rockstar scheduling students in for their one on one essay appointments. I wasn’t there enough to be invested, but I wanted James to feel validated by his instinct of me.

“plush and pregnant into my palm” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Saturday, March 3, 2018
11:46pm
5 minutes
Ode to a Desiccated Olive
James Cagney

You used to make jokes about people like me. And now I’ve become one of those calorie counting, jegging wearing, decaf guzzling zombies. It wasn’t the kids. I can’t blame them. Change doesn’t happen overnight, it happens slowly, right? You used to mock the mother’s, smiling through a scream in the grocery store line-up, buying their kids Timbits in the drive thru just to shut them up for one fucking second?! Hahahaha! Ha. Joke’s on us I guess. You never wanted to be a father, or that’s what you said before Jonah started to look exactly like you and then it was all, “He’s the best little guy…” and “Jojo, say “Li-on”!”

“all these obsessions we’ve believed” by Julia at her desk

Monday, February 26, 2018
10:24pm
5 minutes
Wake The Dead
Julia Pileggi

They told me they like the way they could see the room that we were in,
the kitchen, to be exact (and isn’t it always)
I told them it was a true story and some of them nodded along, grateful

I plan to one day have a kitchen of my own that my kids will want
to write about
When they think of me, maybe they’ll place me by the toaster oven or
the built in cutting board, raw from the busy family of serated edges
I have not yet held my mother in my own kitchen
I have never cooked dinner for my father
They have no idea what I know and what I know from them

The other day my mother was surprised when she heard that
I don’t skip breakfast
I was surprised that she would think I was the type that did
In her own way, she is complimenting me, thinking me independent,
autonomous and wise enough to know
In my own way, I am insulted, thinking she thinks I am too irresponsible
to make sure that I properly feed myself
Some of these are stories that I tell myself, maybe as a reminder
to write them down later in case I happen to forget

“chimneys dress right with smoke” by Julia at Nguyen Shack homestay

Wednesday January 24, 2018
9:48pm
5 minutes
A Touch of Cynicism
Yannis Goumas

There’s a new chimney in my parents’ house. I’m glad because they use their fireplace a lot. They make decisions like this and then you never hear the end of it. I’m glad because they use their fireplace a lot. But then you have to hear them tell you about the guy who installed it. And then again. And then about the new handle on the new fireplace door. Because oh yeah, there’s a new fireplace at my parents’ house too. And people are allowed to be excited. That the first time in 20 years they are changing something in the downstairs area. Not the carpets or the windows. But the fireplace that they light every night. My dad even starts the fire for my mom before he leaves for work each morning. She can do it by herself but he still likes to make the house warm for her before he goes. If they tell me again about the fireplace, I will let them. I’ll ask about the guy who installed it. I’ll ask about the working chimney.

“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.

“when my father went crazy” by Julia at her parents’ house

Friday December 22, 2017

11:43pm

5 minutes

The Monsters Inside

By Eric Sherman

There wasn’t enough breadcrumbs to coat the chicken the way he would have liked. Mom suggested cornflakes instead but he didn’t want to hear about it. The roads were too wild to go into town. Marge begged him not to leave but dad wasn’t one for heeding warnings. He went outside to dust the snow off his Corolla, something he’d done a million times in his life. Mom watched from the kitchen window as she always did, sending him warmth or hope or speed. Then he looked up at her and started taking off all his clothes. First went the winter hat, spiking his thinning hair into a little tuft pointing upward. Then he removed his winter coat, and threw it over the windshield of the car. Mom started laughing. Dad’s face didn’t move.

“when my father went crazy” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Friday December 22, 2017
7:12pm
5 minutes
The Monsters Inside
Eric Sherman

We didn’t see it coming. The tantrums. The scabs. The howling. The hiding in closets, under the bed, in the subway station. He was always the breadwinner, the Dad with a capital “D”. He was quiet and stern and warm only on birthdays or Christmas or graduation. My Mum says that when they first started dating, when he was twenty-six and she was twenty-nine, that he said something about struggling with depression, but when she asked more he didn’t want to talk about it. “Let sleeping dogs, lie, hey?” That’s what he said. Mum is in Nurse Mode, meaning, she is calm and smiley on the outside. On the inside? Who knows.

“Can we burn something, babe?” by Sasha at her desk

Thursday November 23, 2017
11:29pm
5 minutes
Love On The Brain
Rihanna

Larry drinks a macchiato sitting at the bar drawing hangmen on a napkin waiting for Liz to arrive. She’s notoriously late. He’s spoken to her about it twice and each time she says that she’s sorry and that she’s trying to change. Maybe it’s because his father was in the army and if he was ever late for anything he’d get a slap on the side of the head maybe it’s because his father loathed him most of all more than his three brothers and one sister. He fumes. He checks his phone again and nothing from Liz nothing from Liz only the same old time and date and three unread emails he’s avoiding from work fucking Cathy and her meeting notes fuck fuck fuck.

“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.

“She insisted I make no special concession” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Wednesday October 25, 2017
5:43pm
5 minutes
from Swing Low
Miriam Toews

I told you. She expressly insisted that I make no special concession! Yes, yes, I know that she’s my daughter but she articulated in her own words that she wants me to treat her as I would any other student. Mr. Black. You must listen to me. I know that defacing school property results in two weeks of detention, and probation for the rest of the year. Elizabeth is old enough to know better. I’ve already apologized for her behaviour, as I would with any of my students, but she must take responsibility for her actions. This has gone too far! Mr. Black. Please don’t look at me like that. Please.

“how on earth an idiot like that could be trusted” by Julia at the bus stop

Friday October 6, 2017

10:19pm

5 minutes

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings Maya Angelou

Wally took off work early again and decided to pick up Dallas and Dax from school even though they still had two periods left. Of course the school doesn’t think to notify me since one of their “guardians” is given my permission. I don’t like him going around there trying to be the hero for two teenage boys who are desperate for their father’s time. He buys them double cheeseburgers and milkshakes while I have whole chicken thawing on the counter. I told him he can keep his privileges if he keeps his drinking under control. I really didn’t want to drag my kids through court to prove to them that their daddy is a fuck up. So far he’s been okay, but I know he’s still polishing off a 24 every two days. That may seem like a small amount compared to some, but these are my kids.

“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

“What it means to have light” by Sasha in the garden

Wednesday September 20, 2017
10:52pm
5 minutes
from the LIT call for artists

My father wraps string lights around his hand, down to his elbow, around his hand, down to his elbow. He’s telling me something, but I’m only listening with my eyes. We’ve just eaten lunch – a chickpea salad – and I know what his breath smells like. Mine smells the same. I know what it means to have light between us, and to feel it, and to know it like I know the Christmas Carol. I know what it means when his eyes fall, when he laughs like only slapstick can make him laugh.

“big sister” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Sunday August 13, 2017
11:23pm
5 minutes
From Nannies On Call

Big sister takes my hand and leads me down to the river where Luna’s drinking river water. Pap says that humans can’t drink river water but Luna can. Something about her belly being strong. Something about the power of mutts. Big sister says that Pap is better pals with Luna than he is with Mama or us. Says that he understands beasts better than people. I don’t know. I think he’s okay. Big sister says watch out, when the moon’s full and Pap drinks a bit of boxed wine.

“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.

“I abandoned their plan” by Sasha at the Diamond Centre


Saturday July 22, 2017
11:18am
5 minutes
The Chang Girls
Lan Samantha Chang


Even when we thought we were alone, we weren’t. I knew that he was there. I’ve never been one to believe in ghosts, but when the temperature changes that drastically without a gust of wind or anything? Well, there’s simply no denying it. Freema got this look in her eyes like there was something she had to tell me. I put the kettle on, because Daddy always said that tea helps when you’re spooked. Freema took my cue, and put dried peppermint leaves into the bottom of two mugs. “No honey for me please,” I said. It wasn’t a foreboding presence or anything. It was him – warm and rough, quiet and watchful.

“blackberry bushes” by Julia in her old room


Thursday July 20, 2017
2:23am
5 minutes
from an email

People have been taking care of me my whole life. I was lucky. I got a good sister. One who sees me, needs me, shows up brings her friends, laughs at my jokes, heart beat frees me. And I got lucky still. With a good brother who calls me and carries me and picks me up at the airport and takes me to and from the beginning and to and from the end. And then I didn’t have to worry. Because my mother’s skin sings olive oil and resilience. And my father fries me up an egg with a zucchini flower and tops the plate with garden tomatoes and hugs me long and tight.

“also fun” by Sasha in the basement at Bowmore Rd.


Tuesday June 6, 2017
1:02am
5 minutes
From a tweet

Lisa is serious, a squiggle in her brow most of the time, eyes focused, down on her page. She is also fun, knowing how to roll down a big grassy hill, knowing how to draw animals in 3D. On the night she was born, her father was hit by lightning. He missed her birth. She never knew the difference, but her mother did. Her mother resented that bearded, stout man until he took to the bottle and never looked back. Lisa sometimes wonders where her father might be, mid shade of an eyebrow or sketch of a lion’s mane. And just as soon as the thought arrives, it’s gone.

“super slinky.” by Julia at her desk


Sunday May 14, 2017
9:47pm
5 minutes
from the pack of guitar strings

Keaton brings home a box under his arm, covered by his coat,
he hopes for the sound of running
Daddy’s home, the moment they’ve all be waiting for
Dawn usually hears the car door and knows
Delia sometimes comes outside if Iris lets her
there is a silence where the noise should be
there is a box for the girls but there are no girls
for the box
Keaton calls out, Daddy’s home!
no one responds
Iris!
nothing
He sets down the box next to the broken floor lamp
Iris says if we don’t trip over it every
day we’ll never think to take it out
He walks slowly, the house creaking with empty
Iris?
a wash of dread pulls him under
he doesn’t know what to do
Suddenly the peep peep of a toddler unable to keep
a secret
another laugh, then
SURPRISE!!
Happy Birthday Daddy!

“it won’t matter what house I move into” by Julia on her couch


Friday May 12, 2017
12:09am
5 minutes
Love Warrior
Glennon Doyle Melton


under this roof you will
not lock the doors
under my roof you will not know something that I do not
do as I say, not as I do
do not correct my grammar
do not cry about every thing
do not forget that I would never let anything happen to you
do not raise your voicd to me
do not forget to mix vodka with orange juice
hi sweetie
Cut the garlic, fine
You’re going to be, fine
I love you

“Certified manager” by Julia on her couch


Friday April 14, 2017
10:13pm
5 minutes
from a business card

Barry is my boss and also my father. He does not let me take home extra envelopes or paper clips. Once he said I could have the left over pinapple from the staff party, but other than that he’s a pretty big stickler for the rules. He’s the middle child so I guess you could say he was a big advocate for justice. Things always needed to be fair. Barry is a good boss and a good father. He sends me letters when I travel, he walks me all the way to the baggage drop off at the airport. Barry has a picture of me in his wallet singing into a toy microphone. He tells his other emplpoyees very little about himself. I’m the only one who knows his birthday.

“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.

“trying to teach them technology” By Julia in her cabin


Monday February 27, 2017
4:47pm
5 minutes
from a text

my sister turns 32 and the entire family eats
stuffed lobster tail and shrimp
they gather around the table and tell
each other some of the same stories
after hearing some temporary new ones
my siblings make my parents use cell-phones
I am the only one missing
I am the only one on an island
I am the only one in a different time zone
my mother calls me on my birthday 4 days earlier
proud that she finally got the day right
she doesn’t forget my birthday
she just doesn’t know which day it is anymore because
she isn’t forced to look at a calendar all day
she asks what I am planning and I say nothing really
then my father gets on the phone
he asks me what I’m planning and I say I’m going to the island
he asks me if it feels different being 30
when yesterday I was only 29
I tell him sort of because sort of but not more
because my eggs are getting cold
he sighs and says that at the end of the day
it’s all just soup anyway
I laugh because he is so Italian
but he has a point
he says the first bite tastes like soup
and the last bite still tastes like soup

“For twenty-five years my father” by Sasha on her couch


Thursday January 26, 2017
9:32pm
5 minutes
In Recognition Of A Quarter Century Of Contribution To UMA
Curtis LeBlanc


For twenty-five years she watched her father shaking his head at people taking up too many seats on the subway. She finds herself doing it now, or purposefully sitting where a bag sits, so entitled and peppy. “I’m getting off at the next stop,” says a man wearing white sunglasses and brown boots. She doesn’t feel bad. She has a right to that subway seat, more so than the canvas duffle. The summer after her father died, she didn’t ride the subway very often. Preferred to bike or walk.

“For twenty-five years my father” by Julia on the 99


Thursday January 26, 2017
5:21pm
5 minutes
In Recognition Of A Quarter Century Of Contribution To UMA
Curtis LeBlanc


Spaghetti is his favourite dish
Doesn’t matter how many new things he’s tried, he’ll tell you, if you ask him, that it’s spaghetti
Me too, I would chime in, loving very much the idea of having the same favourite food as my father’s
Me too, I would say, when he’d crack open a chile pepper with his teeth
He cooks the way I do
My mother says I cook like him
Not sure these days if it’s Can’t Follow A Recipe or Won’t
We both like inventing
Never making the exact same thing twice
We didn’t grow up with Daddy’s Girl in my house
Maybe because there were two girls
Maybe because my older sister was Daddy’s Girl until I was born
and then there were two of us so they had to give their thing up before I could figure it out
Maybe because it took 25 years
for me to realize that
he was mine
and I was his but
in my own way and
so was she and
so was my brother after me and
so was everything everything

“ten years ago” by Sasha on her couch


Friday January 13, 2016
12:28am
5 minutes
From an Instagram post

My father asks for his muffin
warmed up with butter on the side
The harmonies of the voices in the cafe
don’t distract him or me
I watch him spread the gold
across the steaming centre
and I laugh with the memory

a finished plate of pie
crumbs and streaks of ivory
vanilla ice cream like snow
his tongue the plough
cleaning the bone china
his mother passed down

“Did I miss the theatre?” by Sasha in the Kiva


Tuesday December 20, 2016
10:29pm
5 minutes
Overheard on the 99

Simon’s been wishing for a mentor, someone who could teach him how to tie a bowtie and cook an omelette and cross country ski. Someone who would take him to the theatre. He knows that his father wishes he were that, but he isn’t. Simon doesn’t begrudge Paul, he tries his best. “You two are cut from different cloths,” his mother, Oleanna, says. Simon used to wonder if maybe Paul wasn’t actually his father. Oleanna might’ve had some tryst with a neighbour, or a bartender, or a colleague at the hotel. Once, he asked his mother, and she laughed in his face. “Honey, your father was my first and he’ll be my last,” she’d said. Simon thought that was the saddest thing he’d ever heard.

“let us communicate” by Julia at her dining table


Tuesday October 18, 2016
9:00pm
5 minutes
From the back of The Sun

He never asked me what I wanted to do or what I loved or what I was thinking.
He didn’t need to know, I assumed. He didn’t think it was necessary. I don’t
know how you go your whole life as a parent not thinking it is necessary. I don’t
Know how you go your whole life talking to so many people each day and saying so
little.

The best gift he ever gave me was a necklace: black gem stone, elegant.
He brought it home for me the day after my sister gave the other half of her best
friends forever necklace to someone other than me. He said he wanted me to have one
of my very own. One that I wouldn’t need somebody else to complete.

“I’m ecstatic to announce” by Julia on the reading chair


Friday September 30, 2016
7:34am
5 minutes
a Facebook post

There’s a new woman in my father’s life. He has been hiding it from me since they started seeing each other and maybe he had good intentions and maybe he was just being a coward. Either way, I got a Save The Date in the mail for three proposed coffee occasions that the new woman in my father’s life would like me to choose between. I think it’s funny that she chose not to even bother sending a singing telegram! Who doesn’t love getting an embossed card in the mail with tiny kitties in silver dresses, asking me, not to meet her, but to pick a time that I’d like to meet her. Then what happens when I send this back? Wait two weeks to get another Save The Date for a cappuccino and a butter tart?

“We would not murmur nor complain” By Julia at The Marriott In Decatur, Georgia


Wdnesday August 3, 2016
12:17am
5 minutes
The Book Of Mormon

When you left her there blue on the bathroom tile for the first time, we knew we couldn’t love you anymore. We didn’t know how not to before but it was clear that after that, after her tooth got knocked out of her head and we couldn’t find it, after she opened her mouth to call for help and all that came out was a blood bubble popping on her lips and dripping down her chin, we knew. We were kids then and we wanted to love you both the same. You did a good job of buying that from us at the start. We got new books every week and sometimes you would read them to us in funny voices. You took us to the water park and let us pick the good ice cream or the waffle cones. You took us on secret drives when ‘mommy was having one of her episodes’ and you counted stars while we counted the dollars you slipped into our pockets. We tried to love you.
We really, really did.

“traumatic for a baby” By Julia at The Marriott In Decatur, Georgia


Monday August 1, 2016
11:59pm
5 minutes
overheard at the Marriott in Decatur

We didn’t want to put any clowns in her room just in case she wasn’t one of those kids that loved them. I’m talking nice clowns too. We didn’t want to risk it-no marionettes (gifts from our friends, sent from Mexico), no figurines (a doll my sister in law built out of a mop head and some satin), no posters, and no photographs. We made the mistake earlier with Keegan and I’m worried about him becoming a psychopath. I blame Stephen King. I blame him and whatever mother didn’t love him enough to give him such twisted ideas. I also blame Charles, who grew up with clowns all over his damn house and never once murdered anything with a heart beat. Charles told me it would be fine, but I wasn’t convinced. There are so many things in this life that pose less of a threat to psychologically damaging a child, like bunny rabbits, and flowers, and Marilyn Manson.