“what day she was born,” by Sasha at her desk

Saturday September 29, 2018
6:01pm
5 minutes
The World’s Oldest Person
Elizabeth Onusko

when mama forgets the day that daisy was born everyone knows that’s it. probably any day now. uncle bert hid the vodka, the whiskey and the gin. mama was drinking everything in sight, and that makes her worse, that makes things worse for everyone. chloe sings to her, “rock-a-by-baby” and all the songs mama used to sing to us when we had nightmares. daisy, poor thing it’s her birthday, makes a sponge cake with whipped cream and sliced strawberries. we bring mama a slice in bed and she chokes and coughs but says that it’s delicious. she’s right. it is. “good job, daisy,” chloe says and I play with her hair the way she likes.

“The joy of bursting and bearing fruit” by Julia at her desk

Wednesday July 11, 2018
6:58am
5 minutes
Earth Prayers
John Soos

One day conceivable from here, from now, from everything that I know,
I will hold a tiny, living thing in my arms and I will feel this great love…
The one everyone talks about
the changing kind, the one that gently nudges, inspires, forces you into bearing witness

Each moment between now and then is a teacher
A dream
I will want this when I have gotten good at turning the love inward
At being a witness to myself
And there is much to see. This life has been long already, the one before this one longer still, I imagine, and it is going going
I would very much like to give a tiny, living thing, my heart beat in excess
I want to give everything away when I know I don’t need to hold onto anything I’ve gotten but a tiny, living thing
Everything of use to me is being shown to me from the inside out and the whole world knows it
At least it does if I give permission to the whole world to be within me

Last night I felt a connection with a tiny, living thing
that did not burst forth from my own joy,
but was able to recognize it
We rocked there, our heads touching
and that was enough for me to know

“everything is ending” by Sasha on her mother’s couch

Monday, June 18, 2018
10:47am
5 minutes
A Visit from the Goon Squad
Jennifer Egan

Mama cries alligator raindrop tears cuz things are changing
“Why do things always have to change?”
She cries and cries and the house fills with salt water

Papa doesn’t laugh much anymore because he’s got a belly ache
And Mama is real worried
Danny’s going to firefighting school and leaving home
“We’re empty nesters!” She wails
And the tears spill out the windows

“Vivian! You’re going to drown the whole neighbourhood!”
Says Papa and I tell ya, I think he’s right

“I can’t get rid of useful things” by Julia at her desk

Tuesday May 1, 2018
10:10am
Carpet Bomb
Kenyatta Rogers

Mama is a packrat and I’m her packrat baby
she likes to keep all the old papers and
documents just in case just in case
calls me on the phone and asks if I can let
it go to voicemail cause mama wants to leave
me a message that’s gonna make my day
When I listen back I hear her reading me the
old birthday card I made for my baby brother
and she can’t get through it without lauging
so I save the voicemail cause one day I’m
gonna play it on hers so she can listen
Mama liked to keep all kinds of containers
and now I keep all kinds of containers even
if the lids are missing or the bottoms are
warped and melted from accidentally being
put in the dishwasher or on the element
she has taught me so well and our houses
hold memories and everyting else inside

“My mother is a wood thrush” by Sasha on the walk to choir

Thursday, April 19, 2018
6:42pm
5 minutes
A List Of My Utopias
Debbie Urbanski

Sung in an almost-whisper while walking East

My mama is a wood thrush
spotted belly soft and warm
My mama sings like morning
brown eyes welling
true to form

ey-oh-lay
ey-oh-lay
ey-oh-lay

My mama builds a strong nest
knows what’s sturdy
knows what’s plush
My mama she’s a wild one
My mama is a wood thrush

ey-oh-lay
ey-oh-lay
ey-oh-lay

“Definition of knowledge” by Julia on her couch


Thursday March 9, 2017
11:00pm
5 minutes
from an email

Mama says not to ask him for help with opening jars. She says try to do it on your own. She says visualize yourself opening it. She says breathe through it. She says by any means necessary. Mama teaches you the elastic trick and the knife knocking. Says to pop the bottom. Say to run it under hot water. Says to uses a wet rag. Says to visualize yourself asking for help and him looking smug. Mama says don’t let him look that way. Mama says make it a habit you forget how to break.

“I grasped his.” By Julia at a cabin in Tofino


Wednesday February 22, 2017
10:41pm
5 minutes
Learning to Love You More
Harrell Fletcher and Miranda July


It was sudden in the way that sometimes my own pulse strikes me. I saw his tiny face and I loved it instinctively. I loved everything about him without meaning to; I had not prepared my heart for such surrender. He was something like a perfect feeling. A land without time. The best hug. I threw myself at his helpless feet. I grasped his burden like a swatter catching a fly. I have never thought once about anything.

“Shrimp only” by Sasha at Szos’ desk


Tuesday, March 29, 2016
11:46pm
5 minutes
From a recipe in Cowichan Bay

Mama’s gumbo is the best gumbo this side of the river. She’d never say that herself. She’s not a Braggy Betty. Me an’ Kit ask for Gumbo at least three times a week but Mama only makes it on Saturday nights. Me an’ Kit are each allowed to invite over one friend for dinner that night. If we’ve been good all week, they can even stay for a sleepover in the treehouse. Kit’s growing out his hair and so sometimes people think he’s a girl. Mama tells me to stop teasin’ him and that if he wants to confuse folks that is “his prerogative”, whatever that means. I asked Helen to come over this Saturday. She’s never had my mama’s gumbo. I’m not sure if she’s ever even had gumbo at all ‘cuz she’s from New York State. Her daddy is in the army and they just moved here.

“And for some reason these men fit the bill.” by Julia at Barb’s house in Vernon


Monday, August 31, 2015
10:27pm
5 minutes
Cowboy Poetry
(ed)Hal Cannon


Mama had a ranch and she lived a good life
With her dogs and her horses and her cows and her ribbons
Mama had a good life and she wrote herself letters for 45 years
Today we branded 20, yesterday Henrietta rode on Lyla for the first time
Mama made her own history and she changed into someone she liked more
With her spirit and her intentions and her sanctuary and her home
Mama made us meat loaf and made us take seconds
Cause we are family, eating like family, reminding each other of what’s important
Mama knitted life lessons in afghans and couch cushions
With her advice and her kindness and her generosity and her magic
Mama stayed up late walking outside under the stars
With her open heart and her open hands and her rain boots

“Happy Mother’s Day” by Sasha in Horseshoe Bay


Sunday May 10, 2015
8:33pm
5 minutes
from a sign at the florist

spit up on the front of this goodwill shirt
i don’t have much of it
goodwill
so tired i might puke too
flowers
i don’t want flowers
i want sex and a steak and in that order
if you really knew the way to my heart
you wouldn’t have given me this creature that cries all the time
and bites my nipples so hard that they bleed
i’ve gotten fatter than i’ve ever been
your gaze like a canon ball
the beauty you once fell for
gone
like the cat
poster on the tree at the end of the street
my body
all stretch marks and cellulite
my face
all frown lines and bags under my eyes
“diamonds” you used to say
diamonds
twinkle twinkle little star
how i wonder what you are
where you’ve been
i’m not sure about this creature
whether he’ll turn out alright
i’m not sure about how tiny his toes are
puts me off

“This is why you need to clean your room” by Sasha on the 99 going West


Wednesday March 4, 2015
12:25pm
5 minutes
overheard on the subway

this one
bursting like blueberry
folds the corners down
tucks in the edges
smoothes the bumps and
she’s out the door
i think about
the time before
when she hid behind my leg
when she clutched the fabric of my jeans
this one
she reminds me of her father
quiet but
stubborn
determined
“i’m going to join the rowing club”
she sleeps late
we tiptoe
i “shush” her father
“she needs sleep now”
she’s growing wisdom
seeds in her heart
in her toes
she’s growing possibility
reaching down
reaching up
this one
a leg out
away
a
leg in
here at home

“When did we leave for thing there?” By Sasha at her kitchen table


Sunday January 18, 2015
10:10pm
5 minutes
Overheard at Julia’s aunt’s house

Little one, if you call? I’ll be there before you can say my name again, before you can blink twenty times, before you get scared. If you’re tucked in and you get a chill, close your eyes and imagine you’re on the beach and the ocean is coo-ing you and crashing you to warmth and sleep. My baby, the nightmares come, they do, I’m sorry, but so do the ecstatic dreams of present and future. When the nightmares come just meet them. Meet them, don’t run. They’ll chase you if you try to get away. Face them and say, “HEY! YOU!” And be patient because maybe around the next corner is something fabulous. When we leave things behind, we rarely need to go back for them, they are usually good just where they are. I love you, monkey, I love you fiercely and massively. I love you wider than the sky.

“but it’s not very elegant” by Sasha at the UBC library


Monday November 10, 2014
12:32pm
5 minutes
overheard on Strada Maggiore

My mama’s got red hair. She’s the luckiest you know. Red hair makes her lucky. She’s the one that always wins those draws, you know those draws that they give ya at the grocery store and stuff? She wins every single one she enters! In fact, she had to stop entering because she felt bad for everyone else! We got to go on a cruise in the Caribbean because of her red-headed luck! She doesn’t play the lottery, because it’s against the religion, right, but, like I think, why not just do it! Give some of the winnings to charity and then buy us a bigger house and some nice ham! For Easter! OR, not just for Easter – for regular Sunday lunch! My lucky mama. She wears those shell barrettes, you know?

“Revisions 101″by Sasha at her kitchen table


Friday August 22, 2014
7:13pm
5 minutes
from a Westjet seat pamphlet

One day I’m gonna take ya down to the mine where Poppa worked. He’d be down there fourteen hours a day, six days a week, every week but Christmas the whole year round. Complete darkness but those headlamps, ya know. An’ he’d come home and he’d play wit each of us, ya know. Cindy would ask for wrestling an’ I’d sit on his lap for the newspaper read, and Pete would drag ’em outside for football. Never heard ’em complain. Not once. Not one time. An’ he’d do the washing up after supper so that Mama could rest her legs and listen to the CBC. Never heard ’em complain. Not a peep a’ that. He was glad that he had us an’ he knew what he was workin’ for…

“No, that was so wide!” by Sasha on her couch


Saturday, July 19, 2014
5:39pm
5 minutes
overheard a Grand Beach


No! It was this big, Mama! It was really this huge! Franklin, stop it! That’s how big it was! I’m the one that held it so you don’t even know! FRANKLIN SHUT UP! I’m telling Mama. MAMA! FRANKLIN! Mama! Franklin is saying that I didn’t know how big the kitten was! That is was smaller! It was a Maine Coon cat! That’s what Aunty said! A Maine Coon! They’re the size of a dog! Even when they’re babies! That’s the truth. Mama? Listen to me! I’m talking to you! Can we can a Maine Coon? Papa won’t even notice that it’s not a dog. He won’t sneeze or have itchy eyes or anything.

“It’s a cozy little place” by Julia at Kay’s Delicatessen in Winnipeg


Monday June 16, 2014 at
3:25pm
5 minutes
winnipegfreepress.com

A little bit of me goes a long way
A thing I still remember my mother used to say
Tight braids in the backyard
Baskets filled with tomato red
I would hold onto her promises
And every single thing she said
Because the stars were her favourite
And the rhubarb bush her friend
The nights felt like perfect movies
The days a pretty song without a threat to end
And mama had an angel’s voice
And mama liked to sing
A little bit of me goes a long way
For the mountains and for the King
I didn’t know it then
But I’m sure I see it now
The words she held close to her chest
The softness she’d allow
Were the ones I would keep with me
Tattooed upon my heart
So that I’d never forget the ways
She’d lull me in the dark…
Peace and poems she would strum
Dreams and old ones she would hum

“roasted fennel” by Julia at the Sheraton in Philadelphia


Tuesday April 15, 2014
11:09pm
5 minutes
A post on Instagram

Mama liked it when her drinks tasted like Italy. It reminded her of home, of her mother, of her doggie, Stella, and her doll-friend, Cicio Bello. When mama took a sip, she’d slip, then slide, then land back in a time where farm animals woke her up each morning, and where Figs grew as big as your face in September.
She stocked up on the stuff just in case they ever decided to stop making it. Not that anyone would, it was a beautiful thing. But just in case, she always said, just in case.
We knew she could say whatever she wanted and we’d never say a thing in return to her about it. We didn’t want Mama to feel like she had a problem. We didn’t want anyone to think she couldn’t handle it on her own, just the way she wanted to. Nobody mentioned a thing when we’d find bottles of her nostalgia hidden under the sofa cushions, or planted deep in the soil of her dying rosemary bush. Nobody said anything when Cicio Bello started appearing again in Mama’s life, her old friend whispering things to her no one else could hear; keeping her company through the storm.

“Must be used” by Sasha on her couch


Sunday April 13, 2014
12:02am
5 minutes
A subway transfer

When Mama makes a grocery list, she uses a piece of stationary that she got in Chicago. She went with her second to last husband, William. He did lots of business in Chicago. William only wore clothes in the pastel palate, no matter what the season. William was from Georgia and sounded like a grandma, with a high pitched voice. “He gives me lots of TLC,” Mama would say with a wink. When Mama writes a grocery list, she uses that real nice stationary with the little blue birds. She parades it proudly in her hand as she marches the aisles of the Food Mart, her pumps clicking on the linoleum. Her lipstick is pink and her cardigan is tied around her shoulders. She might put it on in the frozen section, leaning into the freezer for peas and vanilla ice cream.

“The second level” by Sasha at Capital Espresso


Monday January 20, 2014 at Capital Espresso
2:50pm
5 minutes
Radical Honesty
Brad Blanton


Glad you got Toby an ant farm. Really really glad. You’re not going to have to deal with sand everywhere, and his crazy outburst when he forgets about them and they all die. Thanks for that. Really. You’re twelve months behind on child support payments, Ron. DO you know what twelve months makes? A YEAR. I could send you to jail. But I wouldn’t want to do that to Toby. I want his Daddy to be around for him. God forbid he end up like you. Next time you get him a goddamn birthday present that requires a living thing, can you just, like, okay it with me first? Please? You know that I’m going to be the one that has to clean it. Does it require cleaning? If it does, I’m going to be the one… He’s four, Ron. He just learned how to wipe his ass. Oh, and your mother can’t bring him to Florida. No way. No effing way.

“you can ride on its back” by Julia on her couch


Thursday, January 2, 2014
2:10am
5 minutes
The Yak
A poem by Hilaire Belloc


It will take you where you want to go and you wont even need to say the name of the place…it just knows. It’s part of you, but you don’t have to recognize that if you think it takes some of the romance out of the situation…like explaining that a shooting star is really just the visible path of a meteoroid as it enters the atmosphere, becoming a meteor. Sort of takes the wind out; sort of brings it back down to earth in the same way..
But that’s why it works. I just want to be real about it, let you know what you should know.
It’s part of you and so it knows better than anyone else. But forget it, we don’t have to discuss this kind of thing anymore. It’s not really necessary. It’s just extra, in case you’re curious about self-actualizing at all…not that you have to be. But. You see, I’m nervous. I can’t quit day dreaming about being there for the first day you meet yourself. It’s like hearing a baby say his or her first word, and that first word being ‘mama’. It’s life-changing. And I’m just excited for you when that happens. When your world takes off. It will take you exactly where you want to go.