“Hear splash blue” by Sasha on her balcony

Saturday August 4, 2018
2:42pm
5 minutes
Here Room Sleeps
Dale Smith

“Do you hear that?” Mimi tilts her head up, and cocks it a little to the right.

“No…” This happens often, but I play along. I got a good sleep last night so I’m feeling game.

“It’s it’s it’s it’s BLUE!” Mimi laughs.

“You’re hearing the blue?”

“M-hmm.”

“Mimi, how are you hearing a colour?”

“It’s easy! You just feel in your tummy and your tongue and some other places like maybe the liver or the kidney! And it’s clear that it’s BLUE.”

I haven’t heard her explain something like this before, about her experience of the world.

“Mama, are you crying?” She touches my face.

“exiled to the foothills” by Sasha on her couch

Monday July 23, 2018
12:02am
5 minutes
The Gulag Archipelago
Solzhenitsyn

“Let’s go to the mountains, mama…” Oli looks up at me with longing.

“Why do you want to go there?”

“Because I’ve never been!”

“Why do you think you’d like it?”

“Because mountains are tectonic plates that smashed together and that’s so cool and I want to do my project on them and how can I when I’ve never seen them in real life?!”

“Please don’t whine.”

“I’m not! I’m just saying that it’s only fair – ”

“Honey, nothing about decision making when it comes to vacation has to do with what’s fair.”

“BUT – ”

“I’ll think about it, okay? Now, go brush your teeth, it’s already seventeen minutes passed your bedtime.”

“Brady and Rix” by Julia at the desk

Saturday July 21, 2018
11:40am
5 minutes
Fever Pitch
Nick Hornby

Brady and Rix are the names of my imaginary kids.
They’re both neutral names but they’re both boys.
I am seeing my life with boys. I am allowed to see
what ever I want. God made me a writer. This is what
that’s for. Dreaming. Going there. Writing stories.
Brady is the older brother. My first. I love him like
an avalanche. Falling over myself every day. Knocked
down by love for the kid who can fit inside my pocket.
He holds my hand and calls me mama. He loves bubbles
and laughing and me. And his dad. He loves his dad so much.
He thinks everything he does is amazing. And everything
he does is amazing. Rix is the baby. He’s very serious.
He looks at everything with curiosity. He wants to know
my soul and does not let go. He is learning with a bit
of discernment. He loves being in the water. He pours
out of me and into things and into light. The whole room
loves him.

“The joy of bursting and bearing fruit” by Sasha on her balcony

Wednesday July 11, 2018
9:30pm
5 minutes
Earth Prayers
John Soos

It’s on my mind on my tongue on my heart in my hands. It’s everywhere. An obsession like none other that I’ve ever felt. A craving deep inside my body, and beyond my body. Of the body and not of the body. This profound ache. This transcendental desire. The distance from here to there feels long, but short, too. In moments when I value quiet, independence, my body being only my own. So much hinges on this, this choice, this timing, this trust, this surrender. I can’t know anything but right now, we all can’t, really. I read articles, I look at photos, I ache. I try to explain it to you, or it just is explained through the markings in my words, on my tongue; the etchings of my heart make a potato print onto yours.

“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

“Why though” by Sasha on the walk to Granville Island

Saturday May 26, 2018
11:43am
5 minutes
From a text

Marina asks a million questions and it isn’t even seven. I don’t want to sound ungrateful, I mean we wanted her so bad, right, like we tried for three years and I was beside myself, I was so sad… We wanted her so bad. But the questions, man, I can’t fucking take it! I don’t know why the sky is blue?! I don’t know why grass grows up?! I don’t know how tree root systems work! Good grief, I barely know how to solve a fraction! She’s only three! What am I going to do when she’s seven… or nine… or fifteen!? Like, I’m freakin’ out! Why why why why why why – like, I’m losing my mind, I tell ya!

“I call to ask my mother the name of the street” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Wednesday May 2, 2018
9:46pm
Flight
Idrissa Simmons

I see a woman holding the hand of a small child. Maybe he’s two and a half. The woman looks rotten. The child isn’t screaming, but I bet that he was a few minutes ago. She wipes his snotty nose with her own sleeve. It’s a nice sweater. That moment is full of surprise and worry. On my part. She looks at him with something I do not know. I am not a mother. Is it love? Is it hate? Is it indifference? Is it fatigue? She catches my eye, watching them, and glares at me. I must look crazy. Watching them. She’s just trying to get her toddler to blow his nose.

“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.

“plush and pregnant into my palm” by Julia at her desk

Saturday, March 3, 2018
12:16am
5 minutes
Ode to a Desiccated Olive
James Cagney

I catch myself being more ready for the things I used to avoid
Motherhood
True Love
White Cheddar popcorn topping
In the span of a few months my chest has expanded:
my heart has grown three full sizes
I know you are to blame
as you always are for changing my mind
as you always are when you are the next thing in the room
I have never wanted you closer
Even after all the undecided books
or old tables put in new places
It is medicine when our worlds spin in the same direction
It is better this way
On the street you ask me if things are okay when they don’t feel okay
I tell you now before they turn into unswept corners, spiders crawling out

“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!”

“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.

“Sitting in rapt attention” by Sasha at her desk


Wednesday August 24, 2016
3:44pm
5 minutes
SAD MAG
Issue No. 19

Doris is screaming and I can smell the shit in her diaper. “Could you change her?” I ask Ted. He gives me a look like, “Fuck you, cow,” and I pick her up and put her on my hip. “Could you get me a coffee?” I say, over my shoulder. Ted nods, but I doubt he’ll do it. Doris pulls by earring out and I watch as it rolls under a row of seats. Shit. I love these earrings. She reeks and I’m hungover and the ocean is choppy. I’ll come back for it. No one wants a single amethyst stud. It will be there. The shit is all over Doris’ back, one of those explosive situations that people warn about but you don’t always believe actually happen.

“everything I possibly can” by Sasha on her bed


Tuesday July 12, 2016
9:32pm
5 minutes
From a text

I don’t remember Scott. I can’t find his face anymore, way back in the very back of my brain. It used to be there, before Jonah and Daisy, and before I had to memorize so much for school. I’m the oldest one there. That probably doesn’t come as a surprise… Jonah laughed when I told him I was going back. He thought that I’d finished my degree. I never lied to him, he just jumped to a conclusion. Scott would do the same thing, we all do, but these two are worse than the rest. Scott would convince himself that someone had said something, something really particular, and he was so persuasive, especially within his own mind, that he would truly believe it had happened. Jonah was six when I saw him do this, for the first time. I was excited, because it reminded me of Scott, and sad. I was really, really sad.

“You have to love” by Sasha at Platform Seven


Tuesday, January 12, 2016
4:10pm
5 minutes
Monecristo Magazine

I love my horse more than I’ll ever love anyone. Okay? My kids know it. They don’t resent me for it. They just know that’s how I am. Caroline once needed me to really break it down for her. Once. She was sad, maybe, but she got over it, she accepted it, she realized that I’ve always connected with animals in a way I couldn’t with people. Billy resented it, though. I first realized it when we were taking a weekend in Napa. We hadn’t been on a vacation just the two of us since before the kids were born. A really long time. He couldn’t relax, fidgeting all the time, drinking more wine than he ever would normally, I mean he rarely even drank… I finally asked him, “What’s up?” and he broke down, like, crying and the whole thing. I’d never seen him like that.

“Don’t tell anyone.” By Sasha on her couch


Sunday December 6, 2015
8:33pm
5 minutes
http://www.globeandmail.com/life/parenting

Jo and Ellie are at Marg’s and it’s just me and Charlie at home. I call Dad and Deb. It rings eight times before the voicemail message clicks on. They still have one of those real machines, the kind with the little tape. Dad loves to switch up the outgoing message.

“Hi you’ve reached Don and Deb. We’re in Mexico until the New Year, so we probably won’t get this! Send an email!”

Deb is laughing in the background.

Charlie coos, clawing at my shirt. He wants the boob, but my nipples are cracked so I give him a bottle instead. He coos as he sucks. God, I love this boy.

Beep.

“You guys really shouldn’t advertise to the whole world that you’re away! I know that Ella is looking after the plants, but still! What if someone is up to no good and comes to break in or something! Anyway, love you both. Miss you. Really.”

“how to be a parent” by Sasha at the Vancouver Airport


Wednesday, August 5, 2015
1:11pm
5 minutes
from Harper’s at a kiosk at the airport

When Cecelia is three weeks old, Maggie leaves her on her own on the bed and eats cold pizza standing in front of the open fridge. Eventually she hears Cecelia crying and she goes upstairs, but begrudgingly. She looks at Cecelia and says, “What do you want?” Maggie wants to be held but will eventually learn to find comfort in this question from her mother. Maggie will ask Cecelia to call her, “Maggie” not “Mom” or “Mummy”. Cecelia will do as she asks, but not without questions of her own. “You can’t have pizza,” Maggie says. Cecelia wants her milk and she knows it, but isn’t in the mood.

“Sentenced to two years for new offences” by Sasha at Culprit


Friday, June 19, 2015 at Culprit
4:42pm
5 minutes
CP24

You never thought it would come to this. You never thought you’d be here. You never thought your wrists would be bruised by handcuffs and that you’d be wearing granny panties and and a used bra two sizes too big. You never thought you’d be sentenced to two years for new offences. You never thought that you’d be back. You never thought that once you were out you’d be tempted and you’d fuck up and you’d be arrested. Again. you never thought that you’d kiss a woman. You never thought that your sons would be raised by your mother. You hope that she’ll do better with them than she did with you. You never thought that they’d stop coming to visit after only two years. You never thought you’d develop a taste for mashed potatoes. You never thought you’d cut your hair short. You never thought you’d miss the smell of freshly cut grass.

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


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

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

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


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

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

“Mummy, mummy!” by Sasha at the Vancouver Airport


Tuesday December 16, 2014
7:58am
5 minutes
Overheard at Sainsbury’s

Ever since the car accident she looks more like the self she used to imagine. She looks more loose, more easy, more relaxed. Max doesn’t see it like that, but she doesn’t mind. She’s lessened her grip on him, another byproduct of the whiplash and the broken ribs.

“Mummy, mummy!” She can still hear how he used to call her from upstairs. Maybe she was making dinner. Maybe she was marking. Maybe she was pretending to mark and playing Solitaire on the computer. She would close her eyes and think, “I can’t wait for the day that he doesn’t need me like this”, and, “I’m scared for the day he doesn’t need me like this”.

“the volcanoes of Central Africa” by Sasha on her couch


Monday November 17, 2014
10:03pm
5 minutes
Genesis
Sebastiao Salgado


Do not bring a fucking cheese plate, Jerry! Bring, bring… I don’t know bring a bean dip or something. Bring some damn tortilla chips. He can’t eat cheese, for shit’s sake. It’s his goddamn graduation party! Oh, and did you get him a present? JERRY! Are you fucking kidding me?! This is – … No! You can’t hang up on me! I – …

Shit. Shit shit shit.

Jerry. I really don’t appreciate that you hung up on – … Okay. Look. It means a lot to Ken that you and I both be there today and if we can’t be civil then… I’m sorry. I’m sorry about snapping there but, I’m, I’m stressed out and the cleaning lady cancelled and the house is a mess and thirteen people are coming over in forty five minutes and – … Shit, shoot… Ken’s on the other line. Jerry, can I count on you for the damn bean dip? And that you’ll have a gift for him? He’s into poetry. Did you know that? Poetry. Like, Leonard Cohen. He’s reading Leonard Cohen.

“Detour 23” by Sasha on the porch at Knowlton Lake


Sunday Aug 3, 2014
3:11pm
5 minutes
from a Pembina Hwy sign

At Detour 23 I pull over and change Lenny’s diaper. He’s been wet since Detour 17 and screamed bloody murder for the last handful of miles. “What kinda mother are you?” Cody kept saying. “Go back there an’ do it! I’m driving!” Cody got a DUI last November. His favorite thing to do is drive. It’s made him a different kinda person… The kinda person you wouldn’t trust around a kitten or to make you breakfast. “He’s your kid!” Cody screamed. I will not get into this, I will not get into this, I will not get into this, I will not get into this… I close my eyes and imagine the Old Growth forests we’re driving towards. I imagine climbing into a tree, Lenny strapped to my bike, and living there for a very long time.

“Absolutely everybody gets a little something” by Sasha at the CSI Coffee Pub


Monday April 28, 2014 at CSI Coffee Pub
11:54am
5 minutes
Slaughterhouse Five
Kurt Vonnegut


“What the fuck is this, Nick?”
“Uh…”
“What the fuck – ?!”
“It’s a… dick pic – ”
“A WHAT?”
“A pic of my… dick.”
“Ohmyogod. Go to your room. Right now. Go to your ROOM!” You’re grounded. You’re fucking grounded.”
He starts to go.
“What the fuck, Nick?!”
Angie holds a picture, clearly taken using a cellphone, printed on a black and white computer printer.
“I didn’t mean for you to… see it.”
“That’s all you have to say for yourself? SERIOUSLY?!”
“I sent it to Julie…”
“I know you sent it to JULIE. JULIE’S Mom came over this afternoon and I was in the middle of my Yogalates video and she comes in and she shows me… this… and she says, “This is your sons.”
Nick looks at his feet.
“This is probably assault, Nick!? Did I raise you to be a rapist?!”