“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.

“silence that voice.” By Sasha on her couch

Wednesday October 3, 2018
6:37am
5 minutes
Sitting in the Fire
Pema Chodron

Silence the voices of doubt
like you would a mewing lamb
weaving between your legs
underfoot and gentle

Silence the voices of doubt
with the kindness of a lover
with the patience of teacher
with the fire of freedom

I know doubt like I know
my mother’s face
even though I go months now
without seeing her

My mother
not doubt

Doubt creeps in often
hard to say exactly how often
when I’m turned the other way
when I’m tying my boot

“My mother told us” by Julia on her couch

Sunday September 30, 2018
9:10pm
5 minutes
Waiting For My Rape
Jessica Anya Blau

she says “just do your best” and no matter why she says it, she always sounds close to (if not battling) tears. I don’t think she likes crying. but it’s in her like she’s made of sand. a billion moving particles loose under her skin, washing. she says “bye” at least three times. she has to be the last one to say it. it’s an italian thing. like goodbye is the saddest most beautiful world they could think of. and her goodbye keeps me calling. I don’t want to be this far away from her. this daughter’s body a river of sand just like her. a milky way. starlight.

“My mother told us” by Sasha at her desk

Sunday September 30, 2018
4:43pm
5 minutes
Waiting For My Rape
Jessica Anya Blau

My mother told us the prognosis
over the phone as we lay in our bed
your hand on my belly
my hand on your heart

The rain came today and it feels
right a cleansing a weeping
a shedding and you’re cleaning
the house of all the summer sand

My mother astounds me every day
with her willingness to feel the truth
with her ability to meet the mystery
with her strength in the breaking

It’s good to have stillness
amidst the flurry the fury
the unfurling the fraying
It’s good to have a Sunday like this

Jolie eats an apple on FaceTime
and we laugh at the determination
the squeals the sweetness
the surrender

“what would happen if we moved to Vancouver?” by Julia in her bed

Thursday September 20, 2018
12:31am
5 minutes
Crystal
Gillian Wigmore

nobody saw it coming
not me
not you
not the ones we were leaving behind
i suppose some deep place made known only to me in my dreams and
i guess in my mother’s
it was expected that i would make it
we both knew somewhere that i would twist silk into roots
and sink them in
she always knows the limits to my reach better than me
which is funny
since she doesn’t think I have any
but maybe vancouver gave me the pocket of soil to grow myself out of
she said that to me today
and here i am talking about leaving or staying or what in the world should I do
what would happen?

“I’m old enough to be that girl’s mother,” by Sasha in her bed

Friday August 24, 2018
10:14pm
5 minutes
My Mother’s Body
Marie Howe

When I’m on the bus
or downtown
I see these packs
of wolf-girls
and I think

“I could be your mother, howler”

There’s a power
in that I didn’t
know to be true
until I got a disdainful
look until I was
standing in front
of the classroom
asking them to write
poems and a few of
these wolf-girls
look at me like
I’m old
I’m gross
I’m uncool
HA!

Jokes on them
but it does feel strange
because I used to be
one of them
judging less overtly
though

I used to be one of them
and now I’m old enough
to be that girl’s mother

“I’m old enough to be that girl’s mother,” by Julia in T’s kitchen

Friday August 24, 2018
7:11pm
5 minutes
My Mother’s Body
Marie Howe

we sit at the diner without speaking. Lulu is mad at me and I am mad at her. the drive was long, quiet, peanut butter stuck in the back of the throat. when I pointed out the horses grazing in the field she gave me the finger. Lu knows i loves horses. she even loves them more than me. I don’t know where I went wrong. i’m old enough to be that girl’s mother but I am not her mother. they don’t tell you that trying to parent another person’s kid will pulverize your heart into something you wish you could snort. Madelyne isn’t sending any instructions from where she is. how to handle a kid who hates me for not being more. when she was just my niece she used to beg Mad to sleep over in my truck. I guess that’s a hope worth tucking beneath the hip.

“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.”

“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

“My parents expected brilliance” by Julia at the studio

Thursday July 5, 2018
9:16am
5 minutes
In Praise Of Incompetence
Lauren Slater

We started watching the new Ghostbusters movie last night. There have been some funny moments. My mother told me to watch it. She thought I should have been cast in it. She always says that when funny women are on-screen. It’s nice she thinks so highly of me. She saysI remind her of Julia Louis Dreyfus. This just goes to show that my mother doesn’t know much about Julia Louis Dreyfus. Or show business. Or what I have been busying myself with.
Ten years ago I decide to be an actor. I also decided to be famous and be interviewed by all the Jimmies. At the time there may have only been one, but whatever, it’s all the same.
I thought it was the only thing I could be doing. I hadn’t really lived yet. I know now that I wasn’t willing to put in the work. I know it, Jam knows it, and maybe my mother knows it, but she still thinks I’m destined for greatness. At Aunt Tina’s wedding on Sunday, there was a distant relative there who said she saw me on a commercial. Said it was really funny. My mother said, don’t you think she reminds you of Julia Louis Dreyfus? This woman had no idea who Julia Louis Dreyfus was. My mother beamed anyway.

“Modern medicine clashes” by Julia at her desk

Thursday May 17, 2018
10:16pm
5 minutes
from The Observer (UK)

The lady with the floppy hat tells me that I should not let the doctors give me anything.
Don’t let them try to make you take more than your body needs.
Rely on homeopathic remedies.
I tell her my mother will flip her shit when she hears this.
The lady is concerned about my mother flipping and I have to tell her, out of joy.
My mother has been researching pills.
I think she thinks she has to prove to my sister that she knows what she’s talking about.
My sister will not take one wikepedia page as Gospel.
She used to take gospel as Gospel and would tell you that she is not that person anymore.
I didn’t want to take pills for my headache because the lady with the floppy hat
tells me that my body is too sensitive.
She tells me no alcohol either if I can avoid it.
I am about to tell her my mother will flip her shit again and then I stop.
I didn’t want to mess anything up but my head was already so messed up.
I took one of the white pills and swallowed the water.
I wasn’t going to take the second one because she said always take less than I need.
And then I took the second one.
Because I really didn’t want this headache.
I don’t know who to believe.
A faint throb quickens.

“She actually cooks” by Sasha on her balcony

Wednesday May 16, 2018
7:02am
5 minutes
Overheard in the dining room

I take more time now
I try to rush less now
Or maybe that’s a lie now
T-R-Y is the truth I guess

I watch my mother’s body break
And I think about all the women
Breaking
Breaking open
Breaking down
Breaking through
Breaking waves
Breaking story
Breaking bread
Breaking hearts
Breaking wide

I can’t punctuate because
This isn’t over and there’s
No symbol that can accurately
Mark the
Break

Maybe it’s better to stick with
fingers stained
Yellow from curry powder
Or the fine art of slicing tomato
Blending chickpeas into gold

Breaking down the heart
Breaking down the nucleus
Breaking into laughter
Breaking into love

“My mom calls him that” by Julia at her desk

Monday May 14, 2018
11:53pm
5 minutes
from a text

My mom used to call my brother Terminator 3. That was before Terminator 3 came out. Is it out? He used to do some pretty Terminator-like stuff. Once he wiped his bloody nose on the neighbours clean white sheets drying on the line in the backyard. That one was pretty bad.
He’s probably the most devoted kid she has though. He lived at home for a while and mowed the lawn for a while and picked up groceries for a while and payed their credit cards for a while. Now he’s the designated driver when I come home to visit. He picks me up at the airport even during a blizzard and he never seems put out by having do something for family. He had to get hip surgery recently and ended up staying at my mom’s house while he was healing. He got to ring a little bell too when he needed something. He loved that. But my mom thought it was really funny so she loved it too. I don’t think she calls him Terminator 3 anymore. Now he gets his real name. I guess ever since he grew into himself he’s been pretty okay to be around. When I go home he tells me some of the same stories over and over again but that might have more to do with genetics than anything.

“My mom calls him that” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Monday May 14, 2018
1:13pm
5 minutes
from a text

“Scrub-a-dub”. That’s what Mom used to call Dustin. He hated bath time, he hated water. He didn’t even want to drink it. Mom would have to add a splash of cranberry juice to his water bottles that she’d send to school. If it was straight water he simply wouldn’t drink it. Kira and I used to joke that he’d have a heart attack if he ever fell into a bath, or the lake.

“Come on, scrub-a-dub,” Mom would say, trying to distract him or something, trying her best to get him to bathe. He would scream and cry. He would tantrum. She’d usually resort to a sponge bath. We didn’t know that Dustin had a lot of other fears, too. We didn’t know what was going to happen.

“I am weary” by Sasha on her balcony

Wednesday May 9, 2018
11:11pm
5 minutes
The Identity Repairman
Thomas Sayers Ellis

“May is my Everest,” I hear myself saying too many times a day.

“And then the summit is your birthday!” You said yesterday.

Today you say, Kiss on the mouth.

Tomorrow you say, “I know, sweetheart.”

“May is my Everest,” I tell a student, who laughs.

“May is my Everest,” I text a friend on the other side of the country.

“You can do it! You can do it all! I love you!” She texts back with the muscle emoji.

“May is kinda my… Everest,” I tell my Mom when I call her on Sunday.

“One day at a time,” she says.

“I call to ask my mother the name of the street” by Julia at her desk

Wednesday May 2, 2018
3:44pm
Flight
Idrissa Simmons

I want to remember everything from that house before it gets lost
The long staircase leading into the living room where I’d watch
my parents watch TV when I was supposed to be in bed
The upstairs bathroom with the black and white tiles that I would
count at night where my father took me so I wouldn’t wet the bed
The night my own bed became a flood and me, the punished rain, a sadness
The closet in my bedroom where I unzipped the front of my overalls to
show the blonde-haired boy something that he wanted that I didn’t know was mine
The lilac dining room that I would stand in watching the trees in the yard,
pretending they were alive and waiting for me
the telephone I used when I dared my first prank call on the operator and
the pulse of it when she called me back
I want to ask my mother if there are things I might be missing
the moment she knew I was made of her
the times she watched me sleep on the floor with my ponytail spilling over the pillow

“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

“Mother stomps up” by Sasha on a bench outside work

Tuesday April 24, 2018
2:02pm
5 minutes
Says Mother
Laura Willwerth

Down in the basement room with the door closed
Down in the basement in the room with the closing door
Down in the basement before it was my room
Hammock in the corner
Bed in the corner
My own bathroom five steps away

Down in the basement room with the closed door
I tasted love for the first time
I mixed salt with the male body
of this man body
of this boy

Ecstasy and sex on our lips
Frozen when we heard my mother’s steps
down the stairs
I was supposed to be back in my own bed
by midnight
What happens after midnight is different I guess
I guess that’s what she thought

A knock on the closed door
Shitshitshitohgodshitshit
Pull on shirt pull on underwear pull on this
new body of a woman a woman who is here and won’t go
away now won’t go back

“My mother is a wood thrush” by Julia at M’s house

Thursday, April 19, 2018
11:19pm
5 minutes
A List Of My Utopias
Debbie Urbanski

I can recite her laugh lines by heart
in the quiet night I hear her in my rib cage
I saved a couple of her voicemails
when I want to visit with her again
in the dead of winter
when speaking half in english, half italian, half french, my skin knows story
sometimes she sings and I know where I got it from
and where she must have gotten it from
that alone would connect us
the hum.

“then I had a boy.” By Julia at V, J, W, and A’s house

Sunday April 15, 2018
7:30pm
5 minutes
Devices on Standby
Kelly Ann Malone

I heard the words come out of my mouth like a broken record: MOVE just like my mother used to say. And it worked. That tone, that strength. She listened and she did. Then I hugged her. Because I didn’t want her to go to sleep right after being yelled at. So then I hugged him too because he was good the whole night and i didn’t want him to feel left out. And that is what I’m learning. That girls still need hugs after being told no. And boys still need hugs after being told yes.

I keep thinking, don’t let your kids grow to be unlikeable, if I don’t like them the world won’t like them and I want the world to like my kids. Send them to my parents house so they can see what listening feels like, what being a kid feels like. I want that for me and for my kids and for the grandparents my parents will turn into.

“Jon came home” by Julia on the 99

Friday, April 13, 2018
2:20pm
5 minutes
Modern Grief
Nancy Westaway

I saw him first bundled up from the cold in my godmother’s arms. I didn’t like him from the start-he was too young to play with. All he did was roll from side to side and collect dribble in the pocket of his 35 neck rolls. My mother served Cynthia tea in the new dining room that she had just painted “lilac.” Cynthia was commenting on the drapes and the new walls and blah blah blah. She didn’t even bring me a necklace or a new ring this time and I had been waiting very patiently for them too. So I sat at the top of the stairs planning how I was going to kill this new baby who was responsible for zapping everybody’s brain into caring more about the freaking “lilac” walls.

“I have been in love with a life—“ by Sasha in the bathtub

Saturday April 7, 2018
11:18pm
5 minutes
Grammar School
Megan Fennya Jones

I have always been in love
with life. That is a truth
as sure as laugh lines,
as sure as chapped lips,
as sure as your voice singing,
as sure as the horse’s grey mane,
and the rising sun,
as sure as magnolia blossoms,
as sure as my mother’s knowing.

Even when I’ve lost faith
like a bus pass,
like an irreplaceable ring,
like a lover in another city,
like the name of someone
who I’ve met once in passing,
like the sound of the crickets
in the woods at Knowlton Lake,
like the tune to a song I wrote
as a teenager,

Even when I’ve lost faith,
I’ve always known that

love

is the
language
is the
religion
is the practise.

“All my friends are having babies” by Julia at the studio

Wednesday April 4, 2018
2:57pm
5 minutes
Overheard on the 99

All my friends are having babies and I am more concerned with how good my freaking nails look these days. It’s taken a long time to like my hands. How do you like a hand that squeezes too hard, that breaks the good mugs, that spends most of its time down the front of raggedy sweat pants? These hands have never housed nice nails. These nails have never looked this strong. Some days I couldn’t tell if it was blood underneath them or just ketchup chips. It’s all I can think about because it’s like they belong on someone else’s body. Someone else who, say, might be having a baby. I’m used to seeing chips and tears and skin peeling off where it shouldn’t. They were not the hands that held soft things and kept them soft. They didn’t know how to stay one colour when stepping out into the cold.

“A woman came out of the farmhouse.” By Sasha on the 84

Monday, March 12, 2018
6:31pm
5 minutes
Exactly What To Say
Kim Church

A woman came out of the farmhouse
and at first I didn’t know who she was
at first I didn’t recognize those
lightning eyes and that sea foam hair

Then I realized it was you
and I fell to my knees
I muddied my knees
I shook my hands at the clouds
the whites of God’s eyes
I shook my hands and I cried out
your name

On that land where babies are born
and ancestors died on that land
there you were all wrinkles and time
and grief and amazement

It’s spring so that’s fitting
the garden overwhelming
the garden full of
crocuses and ranuculus
and anemone
and hellebore and rose

“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

“the beauty and challenge of facebook” by Julia at her desk

Sunday February 18, 2018
9:40pm
5 minutes
Multitudes
Margaret Christakos

Earlier today I was on Facebook deleting all the people who I no longer want to have access to my life. You don’t get to see what I’m up to if you’ve been a bad friend. Or not a friend at all. It isn’t your right! I decide, okay? I’m getting heated up forof a myriad of reasons. Sometimes it feels like the whole damn world is watching. Sometimes I want to be left alone. Tina and Guy send messages from each other’s accounts and that drives me up the wall. Speaking of walls, I don’t need some stranger commenting on a conversation I’m having with my sister’s boyfriend. I don’t need to be having conversations at all on Facebook but I’m on it and that’s that. I don’t want to miss anything. My brother posts videos of his kids in the pumpkin patch. I don’t want to miss my mom accidentally telling me she misses me on my profile picutre. But I don’t want the people who don’t deserve my time to witness my activities. If they can’t be in my life, they shouldn’t get to see it. I don’t just post all the best stuff either so it’s really, really my life.

“Near Middle: for “Devilish woman,” by Julia at her desk

Saturday February 17, 2018
7:04pm
5 minutes
Errata and Addenda
Rachaela Van Borek

Can’t tell her the truth even though that’s what we both promised we’d do.
When she tells me hers, she apologizes a month later and says, “Maybe when
you asked what I thought that night I shouldn’t have answered at all.”
I tell her “No, you should have, I want you to be honest with me,”
but I don’t know if that’s just because I don’t know what else to say.
I have some ideas about the questions she doesn’t ask me and
I know I can’t tell her what I think so I agree inside that maybe she is right.
A blanket gets thrown at me when I look cold but feel sweaty.
That’s probably on account of all the discomfort.
Some people sweat when they lie.
I put it on my toes and count the minutes before the pizza arrives.
Maybe when we’re eating we will have less time to peer into each other’s
souls and risk ruining a perfectly good family.
Suddenly her phone rings and she answers it in the middle of my good story.
She covers the receiver, tells me that our mother is frying shrimp dumplings again and asks if I want any.
I tell her to tell her yes.
She tells our mother we’ll be right over.
When she hangs up she shakes her head.
“Not sure what Mom is doing making dumplings at midnight.”
“Not sure what Mom is doing thinking we all still live in the same time zone.”

“eat all of our food? Rude.” By Sasha on the 99

Friday February 16, 2018
10:22pm
5 minutes
Flushed
David Delisca

Crumbs under the toaster again! GODDAMNIT SHARLEEN! I can’t take it anymore! Crumbs all over the counter and it’s not hard to moisten a cloth, wipe the counter, lift the toaster, wipe under the toaster! I raised you to be better than this, Sharleen! Come downstairs! I hate shouting. Sharleen?! Jesus, she’s not even here?!

Furiously dials on the cordless phone.

Hello, Sharleen. This is your mother. Please call me immediately. This is an emergency. I repeat. This is an E-M-E-R-G-E-N – Oh! You’re calling on the other line. Shit. How do I – ?

Sharleen?

GODAMNIT!

Sharleen!

“He couldn’t get enough of sky” by Julia on her couch

Thursday February 8, 2018
10:08pm
5 minutes
North America’s Favourite Zoo Animal
Stephanie Bolster

This boy flies in a plane
never seen the sky from
this high up
never seen his church
from this far away
Counting stars, Mamma,
I see them all the same as
down there
Makes a wish in case
one of them unexpectedly falls
And this one can be yours too,
Mamma, we can share it
This boy wears light blue hat
with bear ears sticking out
He sleeps in the soft of his
mother after watching the pink
and orange stripes fade
The gentle lady walks by and
catches herself off guard
by his tiny perfect face

“handed down mother to daughter” by Julia at Tree Hugger Cafe, Dong Hoi

Friday February 2, 2018 at Tree Hugger Cafe
3:33pm
5 minutes
Without Mercy
Howard Wright

The slow blink while angry
The smooth legs
The internal smile at babies
The compassion
The sometimes door mat sometimes door
The olive oil skin
The walking feet
The running instinct
The humming bone
The story teller
The clam sauce recipe
The porcini mushroom gnocchi
The onion soup
The date and walnut cookies
The open face
The open mouth
The ears
The rage
The hurt
The agency
The curiosity
The attention to details
The service to the ones loved most
The glued roots to Italy
The never ending conversation
The family first

“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 Sasha on the plane

Friday January 19, 2018
9:02am
5 minutes
Black Roses Bloom
Bill Gaston

She says that her mother won’t return her calls. He says that he’s sorry. She says that it feels like her whole family is dead, when really only her dad is. He doesn’t know what to say so he says ahhhhh. She says that she’s not sure if the year went fast or slow. She says that she’s finally eating again. He says he’s glad. He says that she needs to nourish herself in every way. She smiles. She says that she never could have guessed that this is where she’d be. He says it’s funny how life works. She says that’s one way of putting it.

“the amniotic brine of tears” by Julia on the 99

Tuesday January 16, 2018

8:56pm

5 minutes

Memo to a Self

Steven Heighton

I called my mother today and yelled and cried at her while she was helping me. I yelled emotions, not anger. Or maybe frustration and fear and annoyance. And she didn’t get mad. She was kind. She knows when I yell I’m not mad at her but feeling more than my body can handle. She knows that and says it’s okay, or I’m not taking it personally, or you can take out your anger on me. But I’m not angry. And I shouldn’t be yelling. But I am yelling and so I yell that I’m not mad. Or I yell that I love her. Or I yell that I’m afraid of dying before I get to see her again. When I yell my mother rolls a batch of date and walnut cookies. She puts me on speaker phone and forgets to tell me that my dad is in the other room with his leg up cause he can’t straighten his knee. That’s when I feel bad about the yelling. As if my dad, unexpectedly home from work, can hear how ridiculous I’m being and might think I’m an asshole. As if had I known that someone else was in the house I would have put on more of a front. That’s just as ridiculous. I don’t yell at my dad because my dad doesn’t know that I have fears of dying before I see him next.

“It never rains but it pours;” by Julia in her bed

Sunday January 14, 2018
11:20pm
5 minutes
Bluegrass
Rhona McAdam

Even the sunny days get fogged out. You think you won’t be able to see the water but you can if you get close enough. You can let yourself go even if your first tongue tells you there is no point. It will help if you can remember how you thanked yesterday’s sky for being so pink. How you smiled up at the setting sun and let joy in. How you walked through a purple path of damp earth and felt alive from every tingling limb. How you felt loved. How you thought of your mother coming to Canada for the first time. How she was taught this same beautiful word in the form of a new friend’s dress. How she’ll never forget how perfect purple is and how you won’t now either. Yes, there are moments of blame. And then some following of disappointment. But they are small. And they don’t have to be the day.

“unconscious anger at my mother” by Julia at LoPan

Wednesday December 20, 2017 at LoPan
12:27am
5 minutes
This wounded healer says warp up the loom
Sharon K. Farber

We didn’t speak much after her mother died. I didn’t ask her how she was each day and maybe that’s good.
I always knew how to keep living.
I remember that she never had as much as I gave before. As little. And I resented for a period that she didn’t beg herself better. That she did not shoot a little higher. I see this woman on the moon, and in the moon, and of the moon and of the moon, and she does not want to admit that.
I don’t know which truth tasted sweeter. I would likely have done the same thing in her position. Even I would hope for love in another way.
I am happy in my life thanks to all the sauces she’s talked me through over the phone.
I sometimes wish it could have been her.
I sometimes wish it wasn’t me, or us,or him,just her.
Just her floating through life unattached to the promise of pleasing

“For real people” by Julia on the 9

Wednesday November 22, 2017
5:20pm
5 minutes
from a storefront

They can come to your window and watch you live if you leave the light on. They can smell the cookies you’re baking for “Fair-Bear”. They know where you got the nickname for her in the first place.

They can learn the family recipe for your mother’s famous onion soup. They can see the receipt from Whole Foods even though you tried to hide it. They can count how many onion skins you’ve let curl to the floor.

They can steal your moments if you let them win. They can steal your kindness if you forget where you’ve tethered it. They can make you wish you bought the black-out blinds. They can watch you live if you keep living for them.

“peel and core the remaining apples.” by Sasha at her desk

Sunday November 19, 2017
11:08am
5 minutes
Apples
Andrea Albin

My mother makes baked apples
And I’m sad that dessert is something
With more sugar
More sweetness
Baked apples are glorified apple sauce
And she thinks it’s exciting that there’s oats
Sprinkled on top
A dusting of cinnamon

My mother bakes the apples in the toaster oven
It’s how she makes baked potatoes too
She puts raisins in too

I don’t know yet that betrayal is a spell
That will take lifetimes to break

I don’t know yet that dreams won’t come true

And they will

I don’t know yet that there will always be something
About this time of year

When my mother makes baked apples
I close my eyes and imagine it’s chocolate

“Along with underwear, love is a woman’s work” by Sasha at her desk

Friday November 10, 2017
11:16pm
5 minutes
How to Be A Woman
Caitlin Moran

Love’s her work. She doesn’t say it, but it is. Fold the t-shirts, ball the socks, and L-O-V-E. She keeps saying, “I’m tired,” and she’s not sure why, what could it possible be. “Women’s work”. She hasn’t heard that term since her grandmother was alive, doing crossword puzzles in the sunroom and asking for another peppermint. She wonders what would happen if she left a note on the table that said, “Make dinner for yourselves!”

“Your nanny today was” by Julia at S and M’s house

Friday November 3, 2017
10:15pm
5 minutes
from a receipt

Sabryn is smart. Like her mother. Sharp, rather (According to the book Drew Barrymore is quoting). Apparently you’re not supposed to say smart. Or tell your kid that they are. I don’t know why. I’m not a mother. I’m someone’s replacement for the evening. I’m their “older sister” who lets them watch one extra show before bed. I’m the one who tells their mother that they’re smart. So their mother will feel good about her job as someone’s mother. Some have been at it longer than others. I’ve noticed that it doesn’t matter if their kids are one or twelve, mothers want to hear that their kids are smart. Sharp. And I only say it if it’s true. I only tell them anecdotes that will make them love their own offspring more when it is genuine. I’m not in the business of lying to parents about how great their children are. They do enough of that on their own. I simply provide a service in which I keep their kids from killing each other while their parents are at the Guns & Roses concert and maybe teach them the joys of MadLibs.

“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.

“beneficial to anyone” by Julia at Peterborough Inns & Suites

Monday October 23, 2017

9:44pm

5 minutes

from an email

Can’t drink anymore. When I do I’m no use to anyone. Can’t remember simple words. Yes and no get confused. No looks a lot like yes. No gets put on the shelf as decoration.

She told me years ago it was time to trade in the bottle. Said my body didn’t like it. She was right. My mother replaced it with structured silver. Said to take a shot of that every morning before I make any other bad decisions. I always had a good memory. I could tell you the birthdays of all 30 cousins and at least 5 aunts and uncles. I could tell you phone numbers of friends and loved ones up until 2008 (I got a cell phone late). I could tell you what you were wearing when we met. How your hair was.

“It seems to me an awfully silly thing” by Sasha at the casita

Tuesday October 17, 2017
11:02am
5 minutes
The Mystery of the Blue Train
Agatha Christie

It seems to Elizabeth an awfully silly thing that Benjamin was allowed to go to the store on his own and she could not. Mother even said that she had better sense of direction than Ben, and that she was better with her allowance money. Elizabeth sulked on the couch, watching Ben walk down the street. She waited for him to turn around and stick his tongue out at her, or make a face, but he did no such thing and merrily rounded the corner onto Harrison Street.

“Have you cleaned your room, darling?” Mother asked, wiping her hands on her purple apron. Mother recently started dying her hair and Elizabeth isn’t used to it yet. Every time she sees her, she gasps. It is three shades darker than her natural colour, Mother reminds her, and hardly something to get dramatic about.

“Space Womb” by Julia at Kits beach

Sunday October 15, 2017
3:49pm
5 minutes
YouTube.com

Galaxy inside me oozing star dust and making plans

Staining my finger tips Milky Way

So when I stamp myself on the backs of all the envelopes I leave a trail of meteor magic behind.

My body amazes me every time I think about it. She is busy holding another human in her space womb. Making space for something good to come, preparing the introductions.

Hello world, this is tiny human and she is going to be a force of fresh air and binaural melodies. She’s going to change the planet and I’m going to be her keeper until she’s big enough to see. In this space womb I am weaving a promise through the umbilical cord and into her tiny soul. I play the music, everybody’s favourite song, and she dances inside me till she sleeps.

“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.

“Protect the blood from attack” by Sasha on the deck at Knowlton Lake

Thursday October 5, 2017
7:12am
5 minutes
Chinese Tonic Herbs
Ron Teeguarden

In this quiet stillness of languid morning
Sun on the birches and maples
Dew catching the joke quick
I listen to the silence
She whispers in a language I’m only now just learning
Only will learn fifty years from now
Sixty years from now
A million deaths between now and then

My mother only just spoke
Leaves turning at a snail’s pace
Green to yellow to
How she’s prone to anxiety
Red and brown
Spoke bulemia
When the wind swoops
The echoes cling to the windows
I hush
Spoke silence in a language I’m only now just learning
Thirty six years between us
Somehow less distance
Somehow more

I want to know about the birds that build nests up high
Who are they hiding from
Where do their babies first learn that we are born
Alone and will die alone
Each day an expression of this intrinsicness
Each quiet and still morning
An opportunity to fly deeper
A wingspan promise to try again

“Vampire bats also appear” by Julia on the 84

Tuesday October 3, 2017
6:52pm
5 minutes
Dust
Charles Pellegrino

Kinney and I are taking her boys trick or treating tomorrow night. They refused to go with Chet and I don’t blame them. He looks like Beetle Juice to me too. K thinks we should dress up as vampires or something. She doesn’t want to go as Mom for Halloween when she goes as Mom for everyday. I’ll wear your clothes and go as you, I tell her. I don’t want to be a bat. Fine, she says her eyes dead in thought, you give me your fishnets and I’ll go as you. I don’t wear those anymore, I say, but Kinney doesn’t care. She’s dreaming up a costume that has less to do with me and more to do with her enacting some fantasy of me. In her mind I’m the fun one. In her mind that means wearing fishnets. I don’t want to burst her bubble.

“I’m driving so couldn’t really see it” by Sasha at Black River Farm

Saturday September 23, 2017
3:39am
5 minutes
from a text

You stand on the edge of a hill.
You take in the vista.
Maybe the sun is rising.

Maybe your mother is somewhere close by
And your sister
And her daughter.

And almost all of the women you love
Gathered around a fire.

A black river rushes close by.

You will marry your love today.
Yes. You will marry your love today.

You tie the sash of your dress and
The sun whispers about the past and the future.
You laugh because you’re unwrapping each minute.
A present.
Presence.

Eighty seven voices sing you into being
Sing you across the threshold.

“finally coming home” by Sasha at Black River Farm

Thursday, September 21, 2017
11:14am
5 minutes
From a text

Glen makes himself a peanut butter sandwich and wishes that Heather wasn’t allergic. If Heather wasn’t allergic he could bring this glorious sticky mess to work everyday and wouldn’t have to mess with salami or havarti. Glen always thinks of his mother when he packs a lunch. She packed his lunches for twelve years, and then when he moved out and went to community college, he began to pack his own. He followed her formula though – sandwich, fruit, something salty (corn nuts, tortilla chips, or almonds) or something sweet (a chocolate chip cookie, a few jujubes, a fruit leather). Her name is also Heather. HEATHER. He never knew that heather was a flower until after she died. His mother. Not the other one.

“drove up to the prison” by Julia at her desk


Wednesday August 30, 2017
11:39pm
5 minutes
This American Life episode 282

can’t stop a freight train
on its way
it knows where it’s going
it goes
and goes
it doesn’t think to break to take
in the scenery
it doesn’t put off gettting to
its destination because there is
something easier to do
nothing is better than arriving
when all you’ve done is travel

can’t stop a freight train
on its way
it carries the load it was meant to
doesn’t complain about the weather
the speed of the tracks
doesn’t beg for something to make it
more fun
doesn’t whine about needing snacks
it definitely doesn’t light the Palo Santo
over and over again until it believes
it doesn’t call its mother on the
phone to ask for directions
it knows where it’s going
it goes

“Host art classes” By Sasha at her kitchen table


Saturday August 26, 2017
11:52pm
5 minutes
From a business card


I really wanna make Mama proud, you know. She spent a whole lotta time not being proud of me when I was younger and getting into all that trouble. We don’t need to talk about that, but like, it wasn’t a good scene and I caused her a whole lot of stress. So I wanna make her proud! Like the kinda proud where she smiles really big and acts like I’m the kid she’s always dreamed of having! I ask Kim if I can use the barn at the back of her property, just on Saturdays to start. She says that it needs a real good clean, but I can do that, I can do that for this.

“big comfy chairs” by Sasha at her desk


Monday August 21, 2017
4:36pm
5 minutes
From an email

She’s afraid of dropping the ball so much that she holds
it up above her head at all times and her arms are
achey and tired and the muscle is ripping away from the
bone She’s afraid that they’ll see her open
flayed on the sidewalk next to the black moons of gum
chewed seven years ago chewed by a lover she dreamed about once
She sucks on her hair now that she can
now that it’s grown up
now that it’s grown out
and the edges turn hard
She wonders how long it’s been since she cried
Too long, her mother would say
You need a good cry, she’d say
She’s afraid that if she’s found out to be who she really is
Everyone will play hot potato
with her heart
Passing it round and round the circle
until it’s too hot too fast too fuck oh my God
and she smashes on the asphalt and she’s gone

“keep this info handy” by Julia at her desk


Sunday August 20, 2017
10:01pm
5 minutes
the Shaw pamphlet

Mom gives me the phone card passcode so I can call Nanna in Berlin. She lives there now. She said it’s nicer than Whitby. I tell her that I probably don’t have time to call her cause I have finals this week and she doesn’t let me finish my sentence. She doesn’t think school is a good excuse not to do anything. Probably because she only finished the 8th grade. Probably because she knows when I’m talking out of my ass. Mom tells me to keep that info handy and maybe taake a photo of it on my new fancy icamera. I tell her it’s not an icamera, it’s an iphone, and it’s not fancy, it’s a 4s, and life is not as easy as she thinks.
When I ask Mom why she cares so much if I call Nanna or not, she laughs for longer than is necessary and comfortable. “If you have kids,” she says, “and they don’t call me, I will always blame their mother first.”

“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.

“change the towels in the bathroom” by Julia at the studio


Monday July 31, 2017
4:54pm
5 minutes
Amelia Bedelia
Peggy Parish


Mona in the bath tub on her knees, scrubbing.
Finds a collection of black mildew. Furrows
her already furrowed brow. She curses his
name under her breath, Fucking Dennis and your fucking
lack of purpose in this life except to make me
fucking miserable. She hasn’t washed herself in
a week. She’s protesting. Maybe one of these
nights Dennis won’t try to stick his dick in
when she’s asleep on the couch. He tells her his
mother is going to inspect the bathroom and Mona
laughs as if she cares. But here she is, in the tub,
on her knees, bleeding for a man who does not bleed
for anyone but himself. And his mother.

Later, the kitchen tile is spotless and the food
is on the table. Dennis lies and says he’s
been working hard all day.
At what?
Drinking. Complaining. Leaves out the only
parts that are true.
His mother pulls a sprig of rosemary out of her mouth
and spits into the tomatoes. Mona’s lips turn upward.
Dennis throws a chicken leg at Mona’s face.
I told you my mother hates rosemary.

“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.

“I’m superstitious” by Julia on bec’s balcony


Sunday July 16, 2017
2:19am
5 minutes
the Artist’s Way
Julia Cameron


Sarah won’t let me walk under the ladder.
She stops the street with her
loud.
I laugh.
I don’t care about anything like
this.
She cares.
She doesn’t need any more bad luck these days.
We don’t worry about stepping on cracks.
Our mothers’ backs are much too strong for that.
On the street we move into the wind slowly.
I have to remember to snail down to enjoy it.
My feet are always trying to take me somewhere quickly.
They might be showing off their stride.
I could stop more to take in all the alley mattresses left behind.
I could snap a photograph to keep a memory like that.
Sarah believes in a mustard yellow cozy that one day, if nothing else, I hope she gets in spades.
Sarah doesn’t ask for much.
But she deserves all the kitchen mugs on their tiny hooks.
And a little peace.

“choosing sides” by Sasha on her balcony


Tuesday July 4, 2017
10:15pm
5 minutes
Walsh
Sharon Pollock

At the time I didn’t think I chose a side.
How could I,

but now,

twenty five years later,

(writing that makes me feel something wide)

I realize the tent of a womb
is never far from the heart of a daughter.

I’ve always believed myself to be

all fair

sense of right and wrong right on the
tip of my tongue
my spirit soaring fire and water
in equal measure.

Maybe it’s the confusion of a young
pup,

circling Mom’s legs

caught locked out

in a downpour.

“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.

“don’t trip on the stairs” by Julia on the couch


Tuesday June 13, 2017
11:02pm
5 minutes
The Ocean At The End Of The Lane
Neil Gaiman


Kit can’t stand the new shoes Lou brought back from Iceland. She hates the way the toe catches on concrete and splits the difference between leather and sole. Lou tries to tell her that they were custom made and one of a kind. Kit thought about hiding them in the laundry hamper, pretending somebody stole them. She couldn’t throw them out. She wasn’t a monster.
Lou has been bringing home gifts more and more lately. Obviously trying to atone for taking her away from all her friends. When Marnie got sick, the sky opened up and took some more things that Kit didn’t want to give away. Gave her some things she didn’t need, stuck with a stepfather who didn’t want to stay.

“capacity for self-control.” by Julia at her desk


Sunday June 11, 2017
8:17pm
5 minutes
From an interview with Maia Szalavitz in The Sun

In the space between two o’clock and safe and sound, the ideal smell of me is masked in cream cheese smeared eyebrows. The baby I thought would be sweet is bigger and more violent than I want her to be. The other one, thank god for him.
Who says you are what you eat?
Am I nothing today and yesterday?
Am I impatience and knotted hair?
She says help yourself to the fruit in the fridge or the yogurt. Says this is the most rested she’s felt in a long time. I am supposed to be generous and glad to help out a woman who didn’t mean to be a mother.
Instead I want to rip her precious book in two;
remind her there is also only one of me.

“also fun” by Julia at her desk


Tuesday June 6, 2017
10:04pm
5 minutes
from a tweet

She comes over to sit with me as I attempt to airplane a chicken noodle into her baby’s scowl. She brings cheerios and cottage cheese and sets them next to the breaded chicken, the cup of green peas, the watermelon, and the cheese quesadilla. We alternate forced forkfuls from the grand buffet he cannot appreciate. She looks thankful to be talking to an adult that isn’t her husband, sick from back pain. She tells me they haven’t gone on a date since he was born eighteen months and two weeks ago. She says sometimes they just have a glass of wine in bed after he stops crying.

“Cut cucumber halves crosswise” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Monday, May 29, 2017
8:03pm
5 minutes
The Silver Palate Cookbook
Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins


For her nineteenth birthday, Cath makes Tal a cookbook of all the recipes that she loved growing up. Cath’s still known around town as “Tal’s Mom”. She wonders when she’ll regain her one-ness, sometimes, when she runs into Rita and John at the IGA. “How’s Tal?” Rita says, putting hamburger meat into their basket. “She’s good! Really good.” Cath says. “Still playing basketball?” John strokes his grey goatee. “Yup, varsity,” Cath smiles. “You must miss her so much,” Rita shakes her head. “Girl that talented, you hope that she sticks around…”

“There is nothing here” by Julia at her desk


Thursday May 25, 2017
10:08pm
5 minutes
This is It
James Broughton


I have waited for inspiration to strike
like the match of missed connections
like the booklet of nose aids on high alert
There is no force of flame, nor flicker
There is nothing here that looks like me

According to a long lost diary from my
mother’s storage locker we all gave up
on her when we believed that she was fine
Of course we didn’t think to ask further
to make sure that she was being honest
If I could defend us without seeming
defensive, I would say we didn’t want to know
the truth and so we let her smile

We gave her short hugs like they wouldn’t
be our lasts
Called her twice a month
business as usual, instead of once a week
And she thought it would be too much
to ask for more
And she wanted to ask for more.

“I tried to get Ben to go see it” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Friday May 19, 2017
10:53pm
5 minutes
Overheard at Alex and Charles’ place

Ben makes the potato salad and I roast corn on the barbecue. We’ve barely spoken all day. His parents are due in twenty-five minutes. Ben puts Kieth Jarret on the record player and it spills out of the screen door. I char the the corn, and bite my lip. Cecilia, Ben’s mother, had a stroke in July and she’s not herself, or, she’s a new version. It hurts Ben to see her, and so he doesn’t as much. I asked him what was wrong this morning when he seemed grouchy, moping around in his ratty plaid pyjama pants.

“and they’ll break your heart” by Julia at her desk


Sunday May 21, 2017
6:14pm
5 minutes
trueactivist.com

My sister gave birth to a beautiful baby a week ago. It is the happiest my entire family has ever been, and I’m including the time my mom caved and let us get KFC the day we moved into our new house. My sister called her Cleo and all of us can swear we’ve never known love until her. Harper’s doing great. She has a glow. She looks as calm as if she’d been a mother her whole life. It doesn’t look as hard as I thought it would be, of course Harper has always been good at figuring things out. Cleo latched right away and seeing my baby sister stroke her daughter’s cheek as they bond there in the rocking chair–it’s all I need to see to send me into a fit of emotion. I am overcome by how beautiful it all is. Even Danya is in awe, and we never thought she’d step foot in our parents’ house since she tried to burn it down in 1994.

“she barely ever wore dresses” by Julia on her couch


Tuesday May 16, 2017
9:54pm
5 minutes
from an interview wth Ingrid Michaelson
Jezebel.com


She barely ever wore dresses, mostly skirts.
She was great at piecing things together or
making decsions.
Seeking only and ever comfort as
resitance, and I can understand
when you feel like it
is missing from your earlier drafts
And no shadow has touched her lids
and no jewelry rescued from the discount bin

“Fine then, you get out.” by Julia on H’s couch


Saturday May 13, 2017
10:37am
5 minutes
Oil and Water
Robert Chafe


“We don’t need you, Karen. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.”
Sandi could have been worse to her mother, but she knew she could cut her deep enough by calling her by her name. Karen didn’t like it when her kids called her that but Sandi always used Mom. It was Brock and Alison who wounded her usually, ignoring her messages, refusing to call her by Mom in public. They reduced her to a grain of rice. Sandi was always defending her. She’d tell everybody that her mother was a good person. But this time she had fallen asleep with a cigarette in her mouth while babysitting Sandi’s only son.

“they fought amongst themselves” by Sasha at her desk


Wednesday May 10, 2017
9:49pm
5 minutes
True Confessions Of Adrian Albert Mole
Sue Townsend


When I saw you for the first time I wasn’t sure about you. I couldn’t believe that you came from my body, my place where I’d lived for thirty nine years. “You’ll never get pregnant,” they’d told me – furrowed brows and lips like a line drawn with a Sharpie – “it’s just not possible”. I swore at the midwife. She was a real cunt, telling me to breathe, trying to feed me frozen mango juice in the shape of little hearts.

“I tried to do it years ago” by Sasha at her desk


Wednesday May 3, 2017
1:07pm
5 minutes
Devices on Standby
Kelly Ann Malone


Silas spits out my nipple like a cherry pit and it’s left hanging out, that awkward cousin no one really likes who is still invited to sedar. The subway lurches to a stop and the woman sitting across from us smiles, a condescending situation of worry and furrow. A punk listening to ridiculously loud music (you only get one set of eardrums, my tattooed friend) pretends a breast is not there, beside him. Maybe he doesn’t notice. Maybe he’s over that shit. Bless him. Silas starts to mew. Sometimes I wonder if he’s part squirrel. Or rabbit.

“I had some excellent excuses for letting go of that wheel” by Sasha at her kitchen counter


Wednesday April 19, 2017
7:11pm
5 minutes
Year Of Yes
Shonda Rhimes


When I start working for Mary, she’s shaking and scratching but still won’t let go of the wheel. I’m there to help her, at least that’s what her daughter Clea said in the second interview. I didn’t meet Mary until after I was hired. Maybe Clea didn’t want her condition to scare me off.

“How many attendants has Mary had over the past few years?” I asked.

“We need someone who is the right fit,” Clea evaded the question, smiling.

“Of course,” I folded my hands in my lap and knew what I was getting myself into.

“silent as the folds of the yellow” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Tuesday April 18, 2017
5:40pm
5 minutes
Up
Magaret Atwood


He held me last night while I wept
nimbus and grey “Transitions are hard for you
honey” He said and I denied it and I swept it
under the wool couch pillow that used to belong
to a stranger’s grandmother A stranger mother
haunting the beige and the brown

I looked myself in the eye like I would a
daughter this morning Right there into the
middle into the black
“You can do this, my love,” I said and I
felt the hot water rise again boil again
It had been quite some time since I spoke
to myself with such tenderness

“their mothers will be there if needed” by Julia on H’s couch


Saturday April 1, 2017
10:41pm
5 minutes
Hold Me Tight
Dr. Sue Johnson


when she calls me
at night it makes my heart shake
i answer quickly
in case someone is dying
in case it’s all of us
in case it’s her
she doesn’t want to bother me
“mom, please call me whenever you want to. i don’t want to always be the one to call you.”
she tells me she knows and that’s what she’s doing- getting better at reaching me when she remembers how far away i am
she says maybe now she needs to get better at timing things
“No, you asked what i was doing and i answered ‘discussing dinner’ because that’s what i was doing. if i couldn’t answer i wouldn’t answer. please always always call me.”
right before she ‘lets me go’ she tells me her good news
and my heart shakes

“Is Mommy pretty…” by Julia on Quinn’s couch


Friday March 24, 2017
9:19pm
5 minutes
Is Mommy?
Victoria Chang


She wouldn’t like that I am telling you this but when I was young I would have said my mom made the best Caesar salads out of anyone because she used those bacon bits or those “facon” bits or whatever they were called. She would tell you she knows better these days. She might even say that it wasn’t true.
I would have said that my mom liked to yell.
She’d say she didn’t like it but she had to do it because we misbehaved a lot. Misbehaving meant bickering with one another. Misbehaving meant not listening to her.
I would have said that she smelled like vanilla and could whoop your ass in Tetras.

“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.