“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.

“update your voter information” by Sasha at her desk


Saturday March 11, 2017
10:36am
5 minutes
From an email

My mother hands me her wallet and asks me to count out the change for her bagel and coffee. She acts like this is normal. I play along. She holds onto my elbow as we snake our way through the grocery store. “I want three oranges, Lola. And make sure they are ripe!” She sniffs cantaloupes and squeezes nectarines, but it’s hard to tell with citrus.

I’m the youngest of six and this means it’s my job to care for my mother in these last years of her life. My older siblings helped to raise me. It’s an unspoken rule that I’ll look after Mama. They visit. But they don’t sell their furniture and books, break up with their sometimes boyfriend, give away their three-legged cat and move back home.

“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

“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.

“Well I can’t.” By Julia on the 4 bus


Sunday February 12, 2017
3:23pm
5 minutes
Overheard on the 4 bus

Tommie was rocking her newborn baby in her arms and humming gently when the telephone rang. She stopped suddenly but decided to keep going so Alex wouldn’t wake up again. She didn’t seem to mind the noise but the motion, or lack there of, she’d definitely notice. Tommie hadn’t been expecting a call or any visitors. Nobody seemed to come around these days. People weren’t too interested in seeing her after she took off without telling anyone. They didn’t understand that she needed to be far away from it all when she delivered. They didn’t want to know why she couldn’t just ask for help. Alex yawned in her arms but stayed asleep. The telephone rang again.

“No mere goldfish, these.” By Sasha at her kitchen table


Friday February 3, 2017
11:33pm
5 minutes
From the Windows display

Got Ellie a shiny goldfish for her twelfth birthday and I never heard her say so many thank you’s! We got dizzy with all them t’s and y’s! She asked if for Easter we could get one of them snails to clean the bowl and I said I’d think about it. Couldn’t be too expensive.

I ever tell you how small Ellie was when she’s was born? Two pounds, one ounce. That’s smaller than a half a Sunday chicken! I’ll never forget the feelin’ of holding her in my hand, like the whole world was there, right in my palm. My whole world.

“Destiny Number” By Julia at The Vancouver Public Library


Thursday January 19, 2017 at the VPL
4:33pm
5 minutes
numerologist.com

I told myself I’d be married at 24 cause of my mother. She was married at 24 and that felt like the best map I could follow since she has never once said she regretted it. I also said I wouldn’t have sex till I was 24 either case of Jesus. Or the patriarchy. Save my sex for someone who loves God more than he’ll ever love me and believes in owning humans as property? Yeah, what a great fucking idea. I was young then. And committed to Christ (by choice, weirdly, I know). And in love with the idea that I didn’t have to make my own decisions cause life was already going to have too many of those in the first place. I told myself that I would have a child by 28 cause of my mother. She waited 4 years to have one after she got married and that seemed smart, and good, and completely doable. I have missed both of these “destiny numbers”(by choice, I know, I know). Somewhere along the way I decided I could trust myself to lead me through it. Sometimes it’s the worst feeling in the entire world. But it’s better than being married with a bazillion kids coming out of my ears. Age, I’ve learned, is just a number that you get to hold for a year. And then–we let it go, just like everything else.

“can definitely travel” by Sasha at her desk


Thursday January 12, 2016
1:37pm
5 minutes
From an email

My mother braids my hair before bed, because it’s long now and I toss and turn so violently that I wake, morning after morning, with a birds nest at the nape of my neck. I have nightmares at seven, eight, nine and my mother makes a little bed beside her own that I can crawl into without having to wake her. The run from my room to her room is agony. I do it nightly, building courage like a city around me, inside me, gaining courage until I burn pictures drawn in crayon of my nightmare and he goes.

“what curious sense does it make?” By Julia at Sasha’s kitchen table


Tuesday January 10, 2016
2:45pm
5 minutes
Upstream
Mary Oliver


She looked around the room
wild eyed and buzzing
her tiny eyes still too glassy
to make sense of any faces
or shapes
little hands and noses mushed
into her field of vision
blurring in and out
in and out
Her head was fully held up
by the neck on which it stood
Advanced, some of the other new mothers
were marveling
She was anxious to be independent
ready, rather, since she popped out
her new mother said nonchalantly as she gnawed
on a meaty rib bone with her free hand

She gulped at the air
her mouth the same shape as her tiny fists
eager to be in the glory of it all
curious and young
to be so new and so old
all at the same time
a thousand tiny lifetimes lived
in every breath
every glance
every nod
of her perfect little head

“Semi-bush vines, very sweet,” by Julia on her parents’couch


Monday December 26, 2016
2:02am
5 minutes
from an old tag

I was waiting for the perfect lull of eventual inhale that my mother would have to take before continuing on in her way about the planters and the balcony hangers. She always got so excited about the possibility of me becoming more self-sufficient in a way that no one would have thought twice about when she was my age. I didn’t exactly have the heart to tell her hat I didn’t have a green thumb or possibly any thumb and this would all be a moot point. She was too busy telling me I could do basil and parsley or tomatoes even, because then I could “at least make a proper sugo.” What I really wanted was for her to stop talking long enough for me to tell her about the poem that had just gotten accepted into a Canadian anthology. Maybe she would be excited that I managed to make some kind of art..or maybe she would think it didn’t matter if it couldn’t be added to an eggplant parmigiana.

“rub your largest organ” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Saturday December 10, 2016
10:26pm
5 minutes
From an Instagram post

“Knock knock?” “Who’s there?” “Honey bee.” “Honey bee a dear and get me some water?” Cleo just learned about knock knock jokes. I taught her that one, so it’s good, but mostly she makes them up and they are terrible. Ben and I laugh out loud, especially when they are bad, because we get to see her mind at work and what a mind it is.

“Knock knock?” “Who’s there?” “Largest organ.” “Largest organ who?” “I’m your skin! The skin is the largest organ!”

“Knock knock?” “Who’s there?” “Knock knock?” “Who’s there?” “Knock knock?” “Who’s there?… Okay, honey, get to it…” “Okay, okay, Avenue!” “Avenue, who?” “Avenue knocked on this door before?”

“I had a big fight with him” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Monday December 5, 2016
12:42pm
5 minutes
From an interview transcription

In the months before she died
my mother’s mother ripped herself out of pictures
because she thought she looked fat.
When I was seven and we visited her
in Florida at the apartment by the river
where manatees swam by
I took the Werther’s Originals from her candy bowl
and filled my pockets with them
She told on me to my mother.
I had a big fight with my boyfriend
the day after she died
He was in Toronto and I was Montreal
sitting on pillows on the floor
of a hotel room I shared with my sister.
He said that he didn’t know if he
could get off work for the funeral.

“with my fingers and lick” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Saturday December 3, 2016
8:30pm
5 minutes
Cake Pops
Amy Roher


You are afraid for your three daughters but you push it down below your ribs and you smoke dope on Wednesday when that fear pokes your nipples from the inside. Your boyfriend forgets your birthday and you don’t even cry or anything you just say, “Todd. It’s my birthday. Please give me a neck massage.” Your middle daughter says that she’s going to drop out of university because she’s tired of feeding “The Machine”. You wonder about that band that your brother used to like… something about Rage, and whether or not it’s the same “Machine”.

“RESET BALANCE” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Sunday October 30, 2016
10:36pm
5 minutes
From a Freshii sign at the airport

When your mother puts you in gymnastics you glare at the back of her head as she drives you there the station wagon screeching to a stop in the parking place that’s meant for pregnant people. She doesn’t walk you in and make sure everything’s okay like all the other mothers she says HAVE A GOOD TIME and looks at you like everything about your existence is a highly regrettable mistake. Your purple leotard is crawling up your bum crack and you need to go pee but you say BYE MAMA and close the door gently and then you go inside and say that you’re here for beginning gymnastics please and where is the bathroom please and where is a cubby for you to put your boots.

“two beautiful faces” by Sasha at the Airbnb in Montreal


Wednesday September 21, 2016
10:12am
5 minutes
Overheard on Av. Girouard

the NICU beeps and wails and whispers
the nurses scrubs have cats and flowers on them
the babies are so small
so new
how were they ready to be born?
the babies are so strong
so new
they were ready to be born
at least that’s what i
tell myself
washing a pear for my sister
filling her water bottle
rubbing her neck
at least that’s what i
tell myself
walking by the darkened rooms
code indigo taped on the door
mothers and fathers and families
like angel zombies
tired eyes and microwave dinners
sanitize the hands

“What little it was” by Sasha on her couch


Friday September 9, 2016
12:17am
5 minutes
No Country For Old Men
Cormac McCarthy


Her shoulders are tight and her nipples are cracked and the baby rolled off the changing table and split his lip. Playground Moms will whisper and glare and she’ll put him in a swing that’s too big and push him too high and he’ll cry like he’s being tortured. Jeff gets home from the late shift and she wants him to fuck her but he grabs her belly fat and shakes his head. She watches The Shopping Channel until she passes out on the couch and wakes up because her tits are leaking Niagara Falls all over the place. The baby starts to cry and she wonders what kind of miracle it is that her tits know when he’s awake. They love him more than she does.

“See the world” by Sasha at her desk


Thursday August 18, 2016
1:06pm
5 minutes
From a flyer

pop says see the world but i’m not sure what he even knows about that because he’s never left chesterton. probably something he’s heard on tv or something, like, a thing he heard someone say that he thought sounded smart. he never finished high school even, so what does he know. sorry pop. you know a lot about how to raise pigs, and how to nurse a pup back to health after she eats too much grass. you know a lot about corn. seeing the world? don’t know nothing about that. if i actually took your advice and left chesterton, i think you’d cry for a week. not that i’ve ever seen ya… but i can imagine. it’s been you and i since mama and berg drowned, since i was three and you were twenty six. mama has finally learned how to make peach pie, the crust and everything. at least that’s what you tell me. mama had just learned to make peach pie.

“The secret of remaining young” By Julia on Lindsay’s Couch


Saturday August 13, 2016
7:12am
5 minutes
The Picture Of Dorian Gray
Oscar Wilde


Mom calls me to tell me about her trip tells me all about the seaside
And how people don’t care
That North America has judgments about women’s bodies and women’s
Minds
She tells me that she bought
Her first bikini
In 15 years
And that she loves it
And that she’s decided
She no longer cares
About the rules
Either
Mom tells me about her trip
How she listened to her body
Instead of punishing it
How she gave her skin a chance
How she smiled more than before
How people told her how good
She looked
And how shocking that
Was
And how nice that is
And how maybe she has
Finally
Let herself believe them
Because they are right
Because she has put the hard work in
Because she has unlocked her heart
And freed her inner child
Mom tells me about he trip
About her journey to find
peace
And how on the way
She found a whole lot more
Inside herself
Than she meant to