“Though I had quit drinking” by Julia at her desk

Wednesday November 13, 2019
4:22pm
5 minutes
Free Rent at the Totalitarian Hotel
Poe Ballantine

I was still having dreams about putting the pine into my veins
even after I saw what the stuff could do to me
If I were ever strong before, it was the thing that brought me to my knees
And old boyfriends to their knees with what happened the night before
did we really break up and was it true, this bout of insanity?
Nobody asked if it was the birth control, but it was the birth control
mixed with whatever I was swigging before leaving the house
Memories weren’t the only thing I was leaving on the floor
And if I’d come home a blur with missed calls it wasn’t on the tip of my tongue
to blame the gin
I couldn’t see the lines connected, the outer or inner, the shapes stopped
making sense all together
And then my warning came in the weight of a small healing cat
sitting on my legs while the woman examined my history of traumas and blacking out
She called it an allergy
and it was then I realized my body had been begging.

“play the role of devoted son.” By Sasha in her bed

Saturday August 11, 2018
10:02pm
5 minutes
Tincture Of Mother
Alan Craig

You groomed me to be your little sidekick. Until I was thirteen or so, I liked it. I ate it up like a peanut butter sandwich. The role of devoted son was the best one I played. I could’ve earned a medal, or a Golden Globe, or at least some kind of pin/ribbon. God knows I didn’t have enough coordination for the school musical, and I wasn’t fast enough for softball. But being your boy? I had that down pat. You taught me exactly how you wanted to be treated – always “Maman”, never “Mom” or “Mother” or “Mummy”; a gin and tonic with a slice of lime and five ice cubes in your hand at 4pm; “I love you,” and kisses on both cheeks before getting on the bus. When Papa left you sat me down (drink in hand), in the parlour. We only ever sat in the parlour when we had guests over, important guests, colleagues of Papa’s or the Westford’s from the across the street who you always wanted to impress. You said, “You’re my man now, Francois.”