“a weak spot” by Sasha at her desk

Thursday December 28, 2018
7:41am
5 minutes
Golden Ray of Chemo
Fawn Parker

D: Do you have to eat like that?
M: Like what?
D: You are chewing very loud.
M: I’m chewing how I chew.
D: PLEASE stop.
M: Why are you –
D: Can I have a beer?
M: No.
D: Please please please please please?
M: No.

D: My camera’s better than yours!
M: When did you become a photography expert?
D: We don’t need duplicates of everything we do!
M: Alright, we’ll use yours.
D: Did you know that you snore?
M: I do not snore.
D: You live alone. Who would tell you?
M: I do?
D: Yes. It’s sweet. It’s like a little bulldog.

She imitates a bulldog snore. They laugh.

M: When you were little you used to pick your nose and eat it.

“turns up the heat” by Sasha at her desk

Thursday December 21, 2017
3:24pm
5 minutes
A flyer from The Cultch

My daughter
I just want to take her for

My mother
She just wants to take me for

STEAK

A good steak

The best steak

Rare

The best steak is in

The best steak

The best steak is in

SPAIN

I have been saving for months
Air miles every time I buy gas
Air miles every time I buy cereal

Air miles

She doesn’t think I’m going to say

YES

Who would refuse a trip to fucking Spain?

Hahaha

We haven’t travelled together since I was a kid

We went to Florida every other winter
It was all I could afford

A single Mom

I’ve never been to Europe
I never thought it would be with my Mom but

It’s good

We’ll have that time together

It’s good

“unconscious anger at my mother” by Sasha in her bed

Wednesday December 20, 2017
2:09pm
5 minutes
This wounded healer says warp up the loom
Sharon K. Farber

Fiona asks me to go to a therapy appointment with her. I read the magazines so I know that therapy isn’t stigmatized like it used to be. I mean, you practically hear people bragging about their therapist-this and their therapist-that. But why on earth my daughter wants me to go with her? I don’t know. I thought it was a personal, private, solitary thing… Unless you’re going as a couple or something.

“Are you sure you don’t want your father to go instead?” I ask. She smiles her little condescending smile and I want to say, “I changed your nappies! I wiped your ass!” But I don’t. I smile back. I say, “Alright. I’ll come. When is it?”

“The children are the adventure now.” By Sasha at her desk

Thursday December 7, 2017
11:17pm
5 minutes
Mating in Captivity
Esther Perel

I want to take Shayla to the Swiss Alps. I want to hike in the mountains with her and take photographs. I want us to sleep in side-by-side twin beds and talk until one of us falls asleep. When she was little, three to six, I had to stay with her until she fell asleep and she’d want me to talk the whole time. I would start by telling her a story, and then I would tell her things about my day – cucumbers on sale for a dollar each, Charlie’s bad breath, the stress of trying to keep up when everyone seems to be getting younger while I’m just getting greyer. If I stopped, even for a moment to think of what to say next, her blue eyes would pop open and she’d cock her head a little, like, “What are you trying to pull here, Mom?” I’ve been saving. Tickets to Switzerland are expensive, and it’s not like I have a lot of extra cash just sitting around.

“body painting” by Sasha on her balcony


Monday June 5, 2017
10:58am
5 minutes
A business card

It’s a hot summer. My mother – tan, freckles, feathered hair, broken heart – puts out a bowl of peaches, a few ears of steamed corn, a knob of butter. We wear bathing suits at the table on the porch, wood peeling, in desperate need of oil. Hers is black, a one piece, under running shorts. My sister’s is pink, with a hole cut out at the stomach. Mine is yellow. I get a sliver and cry for awhile, longer than necessary, but it cleans my insides to let all the tears out. My mother puts Joan Baez on the tape player that lives near the wood stove. It’s quiet. But we both know what memories can bring / They bring Diamonds and Rust / Yes we both know what memories can bring / They bring Diamonds and Rust.

“their mothers will be there if needed” by Sasha at her desk


Saturday April 1, 2017
10:46pm
5 minutes
Hold Me Tight
Dr. Sue Johnson


“Call me if you need, okay Amy?” My mother has hidden a cell phone in the lining of my sleeping bag. We aren’t allowed electronics.

“I don’t think this is a good idea,” I tell her, but she is the most stubborn woman in the “whole dang province”. That’s what Bill-the-third-husband says.

Mom drops me off at the camp entrance and says, “text tonight before bed, okay? If it’s creepy or anyone here has tried anything strange with you, I’m coming back to pick you up.” She tosses her cigarette out of the window and a small brush fire starts.

“Please just go? I’ll be fine,” I say, opening up my water bottle and trying to stamp out the flames.

“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.

“I felt stung” by Sasha on her couch


Sunday February 26, 2017
10:29pm
5 minutes
Dear Sugar Radio

When Heloise first saw Penelope, she knew that they’d been cut from the same piece of floral corduroy. It had nothing to do with the hands of the mothers that they were each holding. It had everything to do with their size. Both a head taller than everyone else in their Grade Three class, the girls became fast friends. Height aside, their physical features couldn’t have been more different. Heloise had jet black hair cut into a bob, with blunt bangs that ended just above her eyebrows. Her mother had the exact same haircut. They went every five weeks to the salon on 10th. Heloise’s eyes were brown, like her father’s, and she had a small mouth, which she regarded with disdain. Penelope had auburn curls, which she wore loosely braided down one side. She had her ears pierced, and wore small jade heart studs. They’d been a birthday present from her mother. Penelope’s mother reminded everyone of someone they knew. “I have one of those faces,” she’d say with a smile.

“the nervous towns of Mars” by Sasha on the 99


Monday June 13, 2016
10:28pm
5 minutes
The Martian Chronicles
Ray Bradbury


I know that there’s a theme here. Or themes. A handful, like raspberries kissed with mould, picking out the ones that are still good enough to eat. Do these themes spoil? Juice staining hands red. A map of a place that I keep going back to.

I read seven poems that my mother sends me in an email attachment. I shiver, reading them on the bus. The raspberry juice is on her hands too.

“beyond borders” by Sasha in the bath


Tuesday February 9, 2016
10:57pm
5 minutes
From a Curl Ambassadors business card

Mae got lipstick in this goodie bag and now all she wants to do is wear it. I feel like a dick for taking it away from her, you know, but, like, nothing wigs me out more than little girls all made up. I told her, “Save that for when you’re older,” but she doesn’t even get that concept, right? I hid it from her and she friggin’ found it! She friggin’ knows all my hiding spots… She’s six! What’s it gonna be like when she’s sixteen?

“I FIND MYSELF SO INTERESTING” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Saturday, January 2, 2016
6:52pm
5 minutes
Mickey
Chelsea Martin


When I find myself I’m sitting with my back up against an old Arbutus tree, the bark peeling away to reveal bright gold skin. I am surprised by how old I look, not in the sense of stained teeth from too much tea or grey hairs salting the pepper, but in the way that my mother might notice all that I’ve gone through in the months she hasn’t seen me. “Look at those lines around your eyes,” she says. “Your life. Right there.”

I find myself exceptionally interesting. We all think we just might be the most complex, nuanced, spicy creature in the herd. I sit down beside myself and don’t say anything. I take my hand and look at the palm – so known, so unknown.

“good times” by Sasha in Mississauga


Wednesday, December 23, 2015
11:16pm
5 minutes
from the back of a CD

“Who is this?” Kate asks, holding the picture in her hand and reaching out her arm to her mother. Leslie is making three piles of records – keep, give away and sell. Once, she gets confused as to the order of the piles and Kenny G ends up in the “keep” pile. “Sebastian…” Leslie says, almost without looking up. “Who is Sebastian?” Kate says, sticking a photo of her and Henry into the album. “He was married to Grandma for seven months right after Grandpa died,” Leslie picks up the pile of records she’s keeping and puts them into the red milk crate. “What are you talking about? Grandma remarried before Julian? She’s been married three times?” “Those were good times,” Leslie says, picking up a Tina Turner record and smelling it.

“Elevated stress response” by Sasha at Prado Cafe


Friday October 2, 2015 at Prado Cafe on Commercial
12:37pm
5 minutes
Epigenetics
Richard C. Frances


My mother makes the bed with tucked in corners. That generation’s dying, right? No one does that anymore. No one teaches their children how to do that… Maybe nurses, or hotel workers, or… I don’t know. When she comes to visit she brings cake from scratch and flowers from Costco. She calls the week before to ask Lindy what kind of cake she wants. Lindy takes her time deciding – chocolate, or lemon, or pound cake, or strawberry shortbread. I let Lindy decide, without interrupting, or adding in my preference. The doctor says that it’s good for her to make choices without interference. I get on the phone after and ask my mother what time she’ll arrive. “I’ll leave Ottawa first thing so I should be at yours by afternoon?” “Yours”. Who says that anymore? “Sounds good, Mum.” I say. “Sounds good, Mum.” Lindy parrots.

“Summer road trip” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Thursday April 30, 2015
8:24pm
5 minutes
from a magazine article

Nikki won Miss Bellingtown when she was eight years old and it was all downhill from there. “Shit,” she says, whenever she thinks about that. Wearing her crown, her ribbon and a blue terry cloth robe, she puts wet food down for Hushie. She recently turned twenty seven. She’s never drank a real gin and tonic, she’s never gone on a camping trip and the most intimate conversations she has are with Hushie. She calls her mother on the rotary phone, as she does every Sunday. “Mom, it’s Nik. Call me – ” And Tasha picks up the phone, out of breath, the answering machine clicking on, recording their conversation. “Nikki! The chive flowers are blooming! You’ve gotta come down here and see ’em. They’re your favourite colour of purple!” Tasha’s boyfriend, Camerson, recently moved in with her. Ever since, when they speak, Tasha half shouts. “Why are you yelling, Mom?” Nikki asks, knowing the answer. Her mother finally found love, after seventeen and a half years of looking. “Camerson says HI!” Tasha wishes her daughter would get dressed. “Why don’t you go out for a coffee with a galpal?!” “What are you talking about…” “Put some clothes on, goddamnit, and take off that stupid crown!” “I’m not wearing a crown!” “Don’t lie to me Nicole.”

“Pain has been described as a gift” by Sasha at The Big Carrot


Monday February 23, 2015
12:06pm
5 minutes
alive magazine
February 2015


When I look at her, I see all the birthday cards and the Valentine’s books, stuck with stickers and written in blue ball point pen. When I see her move, slow, deliberate, I am overcome with sadness. “This isn’t how it was meant to be!” I say, quiet, under my breath. Who am I to know?

Pain has been described as a gift. Seventeen years of ache, of muscle tightening and bone rubbing. Seventeen years of patience and faith. Seventeen years of the break, the tears, the stomping feet on the ground, if only the strength was there.

Here it is. The moment we’ve all been waiting for. Wings spread, she flies.

“Please share your thoughts” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Thursday August 21, 2014
10:17pm
5 minutes
from a receipt from Safeway

Please share your thoughts on your mother.


I’ll leave you ample space, enough to draw a diorama or diagram or sketch or erase and re-write. Please don’t leave out your expression about your relationship between 13-17. There’s juicy stuff there. Those are the years you thought you were most different but really you were most the same. She’s sorry about the time she called you a bitch. She regrets that. She regrets not saying “sorry” more quickly. She loves the way that you refuse to change out of your pyjamas on Christmas, even though she rolls her eyes and harps on about how it’s ridiculous to not put on a dress when there are twenty six people coming over for eggnog and shortbread cookies.

“First Sunday in May” by Julia at South Philly Bar and Grill


Sunday April 20, 2014 at
8:01pm
5 minutes
Blue Cross Broad Street Run sign

I envisioned arriving with orchids for her cause those are her favourite. I was hoping she’d forget I forgot to call her on her birthday, but more importantly that I “forgot” to tell her I was moving to Kelowna. I wanted to tell her, and I was planning to but then she got sick and I thought that if i told her she’d get sicker. This way she’d think I was just some snot-nose kid who didn’t have time for her, instead of believing that I was leaving even after I knew. I guess she knows now. I guess either way I lose and she thinks she raised some terrible version of the kid who was actually going places a few short years ago. She asked me one night how I thought I was going to get away with it, and I told her I was planning on being better at faking all the bullshit that she wouldn’t have approved of. So then when it was Mother’s day, I was going to surprise her with a visit and tell her I was sorry cause it was a pretty selfish thing to do. And it would be a real sad story if the sickness had gotten the best of her and there was no first Sunday in May for me to make amends. That would have been real sad. Instead she just moved from her house that I grew up in and “forgot” to tell me where she was going. That’s the problem with not having a telephone number. Things don’t always work out the way you envision.

“First Sunday in May” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Sunday April 20, 2014
10:23pm
5 minutes
Blue Cross Broad Street Run sign

The first Sunday in May is Penny’s fiftieth birthday. She’s going to take the ladies to the King Eddie for high tea. They are all going to dress their best, but in shades of Spring. Penny specified this on the invitations, which she wrote by hand and delivered in person, each with a single purple tulip. She invited twelve ladies in total but three had to decline due to previous plans, so there would be nine of them. She hasn’t done a birthday high tea since she was fifteen, and that was entirely pushed upon her by her mother. Funny, she thinks, that now, when it’s all said and done (said, “I’m sorry for causing you so much grief, Mother…” Done, the permanent move to Florida). Penny looks up the high tea menu on-line and decides that she’ll pay for the whole thing and though the ladies will try to stop her, they won’t. She’ll insist. At forty two dollars a person, Penny just couldn’t assume that each of the ladies would be willing to pay that for tiny sandwiches, Devonshire cream and buttermilk scones spread with elderberry jam. They wouldn’t drink champagne. They’d drink tea. Penny closes her eyes and tastes the Ceylon.

“Atlantic Ave.” by Sasha on her bed


Wednesday January 15, 2014
1:19am
5 minutes
the 504 stop announcement

In our house on Atlantic Ave., my mother had a walk-in closet. I didn’t think we were rich enough for that kind of thing. It was organized like a person might who was really into fashion, which my mother was not. Sashes on hooks according to colour, long skirts in the blue and purple palate, necklaces both long and short on tiny brass hands sitting on top of the chest of drawers that held her bras and underwear. My mother would put on her amber perfume before going out on a date with my father. She would put the silver barrettes in her hair and draw on eyeliner with her brown stick from The Body Shop.

“a woman’s body” by Sasha at her desk


Wednesday October 16, 2013
12:12am
5 minutes
Alive Magazine
October 2013


I lie awake and I wonder about my mother’s hips,
What lives in there – shame beside cartilage, fear inside bone.
She wakes in pain, she tenses, she breathes, she prays, she remembers the freedom of youth.
Arthritis is a leech that sucks mobility like blood, that spreads to knuckles and toes.
I suppose I should say, what lived in there, in my mother’s hips…
She has new ones now – polished machinery, scars carving beautiful capital “C’s” into her upper thighs.
I was born of that body.
I watched that body.
I called that body “home” and “beautiful”.
I see that body now, sixty-three years on this earth,
and I see what the devotion writes on her freckled shoulders,
what the judgement writes on her sun-spot chest,
what this mother to us daughters teaches and knows,
and teaches and forgets.