“He could have been a rich man” by Julia in the fishbowl

Monday February 3, 2020
9:59am
5 minutes
Memorial
Alice Oswald

Dear Zio,

I was thinking about you earlier. I wanted to wish you a happy birthday.
I like that word. Happy. Because you changed the meaning of it for me.
I wonder what you’re doing today. If you and Nonna and Nonno are still hugging Zio in reunion’s rich embrace. I thought I saw you lighting up the sky just beyond the mountain peaks. As I noticed you there, I was talking to your sister on the phone and she mentioned you. We both said “Ciao!” to you and it morphed the way I was walking. I often think of you. When an Elvis song comes on, or when I see a man dancing. You were a man dancing all the life I knew you and that changed the meaning of that for me too. You asked if we were happy. And I wish I had the words I do now to talk with you about it. To shoot some questions your way instead and jot it all down in a notebook dedicated solely to you.
Today you are abundant and generous still. You paint the clouds the colour of opening and you do not give up on shedding light even when it’s heavy.

“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.

“master of my own” by Julia on her couch


Friday May 23, 2014
1:10am
5 minutes
overheard on the streetcar

Oh My LANTA!!! ABBY!!! You’re looking like a real woman these days aren’t you! I can’t believe it, you’re so tall now. And look at those cheeks! Where did they even go? When you were little you used to have the chubbiest, fattest cheeks, I used to pinch ’em and tug ’em and cover ’em with so many kisses, my goodness, you used to hate that! Oh honey plum, I don’t even blame you! The whole world wanted to squeeze you dry, girlie, oh yes they did. I’m sorry about that now, but oh! I couldn’t help myself, they were just so darn big! And this dress you have on, let me take a look at you. Oh wow, spin around again, that is one heck of a figure you’ve got, now don’t you! I bet you drive all the boys crazy with those legs for days and days! Oh Abby, I used to have legs for days and days before the varicose veins and the knee surgeries, let me tell you a story! You know your father’s the one that bashed in my knee with a baseball all those years ago! I was pitching to him and he hit a line drive right into my bank account! I joke about that now because he felt so bad and all those treatments cost so much money cause I could barely stand! Oh but you!! You look wonderful!!