“Show them yourself, your highness” by Sasha at the beach

Monday October 16, 2017
3:32pm
5 minutes
From a dream

A girl, maybe seven or eight, Moana bathing suit, high bun. She crouches in the water, making pancakes with white sand. Her mother sits nearby on the beach, a carbon copy older version, metallic silver bathing suit, high bun. She plays on her phone. A stray dog approaches, mangy, skinny, the colour of caramel. The girl’s back is to the dog. She doesn’t know he’s coming. He jumps on her back and she screams, glass shattering, bone breaking, primal fear. Mother jumps and runs before we can and kicks the dog off. Daughter cries. Mother holds her. Calms her. In three minutes she’s okay, back to making pancakes, back to play.

“I’d be fucking rocked if I were you.” By Julia on the 4

Wednesday October 11, 2017

8:54pm

5 minutes

From a text

He forces my wrist until it is twisted up and screaming quietly. He wants me to get into the bathtub. I don’t know why. I let him hold my arm and push until I am kneeling beside the tub and looking in. He keeps pointing. I keep imitating him. I don’t know what I’m supposed to do but he is strong for six and this is the first time we’re in a bathroom together. He looks at me like he’s trying to tell me about his pain. His face is contorted and his eyes are loud. I look back at him with as much heart as I can muster. Tell him with my smile he’s not alone. That I’m here. That I’m sorry he’s trapped inside his head with so many feelings and not enough words. He grabs me by the wrist when I try to open the door. He brings me back to the tub. I am breathing loud enough so he might hear it in his skin. I want to save him but I don’t know what from. He is crying without tears. I tell him, it’s okay. It’s okay.

“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

“Water music” By Sasha at Knowlton Lake

Monday, October 2
6:59pm
5 minutes
Major Orchestral Works
Felix Mendelssohn

I take a bath in the tub where I learned to swim
My sister across from me
Peppermint soap in our ear’s
The hum of our parents voices rising through the floorboards
Fluffy comfort that we don’t know can be broken

I think about writing this
How my appetite’s returned
Words haven’t satiated or helped or healed
But now they can
And they will

I lather my head with shampoo
And fill an old yogurt container with warm water from the tap
I rinse and rinse and rinse
A blue jay sits on the branch right there outside the window
Sings for awhile

There are stains where the drain is
And my love makes dinner downstairs
My parents live in different houses with different loves
My sister rocks her baby to sleep and sings the
Lullaby we heard
Here

“so you can focus on work at that time” by Sasha in the backyard

Saturday September 30, 2017
3:11pm
5 minutes
From a text

I don’t feel nervous about the hours I’ll work sitting at a desk
Making jokes in the hallway I don’t feel nervous
I’ve never done it like this before and I like that I like that
I’m shaking my bones for a permenance to hold
Cradle like the big blue baby

You dream of raccoons and dolphins
And I’m carving pumpkins
Always pregnant always hungry for meat and bread

Really though we’ll go back and it will be raining
Incessant and calm
Really though we’ll laugh and fuck and wish out loud
We’ll blow out the candle after dinner and you’ll be on the road
And this will be the root
The root will be this

“Know this place?” by Sasha in Mississauga

Friday September 29, 2017
2:40pm
5 minutes
from google maps

He leers and I lurch and we move
And I say
Back off
Step away
Give space

I am my own protector
I am my own
Owning the air between
Old world and new future

The void is thick
But the music is loud
And that helps
That helps

So many faces
From the yesterday seasons
Stepping in time to the drum
I’m tired
And I’m glad

When that snake spoke
I fell but quick quick
I stood and there I was
In and outside of myself
There I was

“making a retreat into self-protective cynicism” by Sasha at Knowlton Lake

Tuesday September 26, 2017
10:28pm
5 minutes
Fighting the Cowardice of Cynicism
Caitlin Moran

My cynic wears tortershell glasses
And has brown eyes

Her wardrobe is browns and greys
White black

She has an astoundingly dry
Sense of humor

She drinks dry martinis

She speaks Italian
French
Spanish
And a little bit of Japanese
Enough to get by
Enough to order the best sushi

When she speaks
People listen
People hear
Especially men
Men listen
No one
No one
Mansplains to her

She never has to repeat
Herself
She never has to interrupt

“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.

“What it means to have light” by Sasha in the garden

Wednesday September 20, 2017
10:52pm
5 minutes
from the LIT call for artists

My father wraps string lights around his hand, down to his elbow, around his hand, down to his elbow. He’s telling me something, but I’m only listening with my eyes. We’ve just eaten lunch – a chickpea salad – and I know what his breath smells like. Mine smells the same. I know what it means to have light between us, and to feel it, and to know it like I know the Christmas Carol. I know what it means when his eyes fall, when he laughs like only slapstick can make him laugh.

“This one has more nuts” By Sasha at Bump n’ Grind


Wednesday September 13, 2017 at Bump n’ Grind
12:38pm
5 minutes
Overheard at Bump n’ Grind

When I speak to her, I taste egg salad sandwiches on white bread, lots of mayo. The phone rings again fuck fuck fuck I don’t want to answer. But I do. This is my practice, I say. Show up show up. Hi. Hi. Blah blah on on on stress drugs. I know I’m not making sense but I can’t be fully clear because I don’t want to betray and five minutes isn’t a lot of time and I might run out before I can find the happy ending. HA. There’s pickle in that egg salad. Sweet pickle. I open up the sandwhich and pick each bit out, building a tiny fortress on the counter, amongst all these god damn dishes.

“never been good at multitasking” by Julia on her couch


Sunday September 10, 2017
10:49pm
5 minutes
from a text

I know I’m inching fufther away from myself when I can make sure I send you a writing prompt but I will go the whole day without writing a single word for me. And I think long and hard about what I’ll suggest to you. What I hope is something that gives you a reason to write. Because I care that you aren’t writing. I care that you must write. That the bones of your body only feel warm when you do. I know this sensation too. Cold bones. The feeling of your bed being the scariest place to end the day. When sleep takes more from you than it gives. I have been shivering these days. And I do not want to turn on the radiator because it shouldn’t be this frigid in my home. It shouldn’t be this removed from skin. I don’t remember how to fix this but I do know that it always comes back–which means it always goes away first.

“meeting your heart’s longing.” By Sasha at her desk


Tuesday September 5, 2017
6:11pm
5 minutes
The Invitation
Oriah


Lion’s roar in the morning
and we’re off in these trenches
crawling on arms and my core’s not
strong I know that and you’re tired
and I know that
We’re overtalking but it’s all I’ve got
these pudding words these greys and whites
The smokey sky is ominous
and we bark and we cry and we we we we
We’re ready
you say
We’ve got this
you say
Doubt rains heavy
Faith dances on my fingertips only when
I write
So I do
I write to you
I write a manifesto to my great-granddaughter
I tell her
Trust yourself
The wisdom of your fulfillment is inside you
I tell her
Rise up from the heaviness that’s plagued us
for generations

“Why does having children” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Sunday September 3, 2017
11:59pm
5 minutes
Don’t Even Think About It: why our brains are wired to ignore climate change
George Marshall


So many babies already born
already needing love
already hurting
already here
So many babies taking up
so much space
I read about climate change
I read about destruction
over and over
and I know the stats I know the reasoning

And yet

Everything in my body says
MAKE LIFE
Everything in my body says
GIVE ME A BABY
I never thought myself traditional
I never thought myself wanting
wanting wanting a generation of
longing paid to want paying for the want

“If your passport is damaged” by Sasha at her desk


Saturday September 2, 2017
11:39pm
5 minutes
From the passport booklet

Every time someone looks at my passport, they say, “Nice picture.” And it is. I look warm, open, the faintest hint of a smile tickling my lips. I’d ridden my bike to the passport office so I had the endorphins flowing. I remember my mother bringing her first passport into my room when I was nine or ten. She was a teenager. I looked at the picture so closely I could see the dots of ink.

“It depends how aware you are.” By Sasha in her bed


Saturday August 19, 2017
3:51pm
5 minutes
Lennon on Lennon
edited by Jeff Burger


He comes home raging
his eyes are round open
he’s not sure what the point is
in doing what he’s doing

I’m questioning everything
where I come from
where I’m going
what I do and what’s the meaning

Four thousand strong
gathered twelve blocks away
give or take
take or give

I nurse a neck that’s twisted
wrecked and tense
with warmth and lemon
with ice and tv

“discussing something that’s totally wrong” by Sasha in her bed


Tuesday August 15, 2017
11:18pm
5 minutes
Overheard at JJ Bean

Whenever I hear the faint din of Family Guy it reminds me of my first boyfriend
how desperate I was to kiss and be kissed
I’d lied about my first and whether it had happened on a baseball diamond
or whether it had happened on a camping trip
Truth or Dare doesn’t count everyone knows that
Really really I promise I’m telling the truth
it happened in the basement of my mother’s house
my private secluded dank strange jungle
with a hammock in the corner and my own bathroom
every sixteen year olds dream
MY OWN BATHROOM
I had so many strange products in that fucking bathroom
from the drugstore
what is it with teenagers and drugstores
It was a good honest earnest real kiss

“tremendous whooshing noise” by Sasha at Opus


Wednesday August 9, 2017
12:02pm
5 minutes
The Enormous Crocodile
Roald Dahl


My sister and I make bracelets out of embroidery thread and sell them to friends of our parents. We charge a dime or a quarter. Sometimes they overpay, a dollar or two and we gasp with the excitement of a financial transaction.

I put most things on my credit card now. I get air miles, so it feels like I’m getting more than just the thing I’m purchasing. Maybe a trip home to kiss my sister’s daughter. Maybe Hawaii in the rainy months.

“I see our history” by Sasha on her balcony


Wednesday August 2, 2017
11:33pm
5 minutes
One Nation, Indivisible in The Sun, August 2017

The moon is orange and my heart breaks
I see my future self and my present self
and it isn’t all what I imagined
A heavy push on a chest
fireflies circle the grief of the
wasteland wasteland wasteland

Fires are raging and the kids
next door play with their boogie boards
on the ash grass
Laughing and screaming and singing
and I watch them from my perch

What will the future be for them
Grey sky
Burn
Chest
Burn
What will the future be for them

“lick your thumb and go to town.” By Sasha on her balcony


Sunday July 23, 2017
8:01pm
5 minutes
The Four Hour Chef
Timothy Ferriss


I spend Sunday in the kitchen. Chopping and grating carrots and beets, roasting zucchini, washing lettuce. I make tahini dressing and pesto. I toast pumpkin seeds and almonds. I listen to NPR podcasts and learn about a disorder I never knew I had and suddenly everything comes into startling bright colour. The cabbage is luminous. The chickpeas buzz. I am more understood by these disembodied voices coming out of this box of sound than I’ve ever been understood before. I sink to the tile, the seat of my cut-offs most certainly stained by droplets of beet juice, and I listen, drinking deep.

“blackberry bushes” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Thursday July 20, 2017
12:13am
5 minutes
From an email

My sister and I pick blackberries on the land she just bought. I don’t know how many acres because I’m not good with that kind of thing. There’s forest, and river, and fields. It’s a farm, but I always think of animals when I think of a farm and there’s only a cat here. It’s so beautiful it makes my stomach ache. I instantly feel at home, walking the land and making fritattas in the oven. We pick jewel after jewel. One in our mouthes and one in an old goat yogurt container that we’ll bring back to the house for the others.

“it’s too much sugar” by Julia in the rideshare


Tuesday July 11, 2017
10:44am
5 minutes
overheard in the ride share

He pulls out a Kit Kat and starts offering it around. Everyone is saying no. I know I don’t trust him the moment I get into the van. He is complaining about his phone plan. He is loud and obnoxious. He is trying to flirt with the woman beside him who is being polite when he complains about his phone plan. I want the Kit Kat but I do not want to take anything from him. When my seatbelt lock gets stuck below the seat, I ask the driver to stop. The Kit Kat guy tells me we aren’t going to get into a crash and die or something. I say, then you can sit here. He says he would.
He offers his chocolate around again, appalled at the lack of positive response. I know I do not trust him. He says, don’t you know it’s rude to say no when someone offers you something?
And my skin tightens.

“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.

“kindergarten registration” by Sasha at a coffee shop on Dunbar


Thursday June 22, 2017
4:38pm
5 minutes
From a sign

This woman on the bus rides in a motorized wheelchair. She’s beautiful. She looks like Nicole Kidman and Helena Bonham Carter had a lovechild and gave her even better hair and eyes. She has a little dog on her lap. Cute, shaved down so it looks like it has a lion’s mane. We all watch – rapt – as she wheels into her spot (people cleared the way). As the bus starts to drive onwards, she takes a ziplock bag of something indistinguishable out of a bag in the basket that’s on the front of her wheelchair. She eats it, or, rather, she chews it and spits it out into her hand and tries to feed it to her dog. He doesn’t want it.

“That’s what I was thinking” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Monday June 19, 2017
12:03am
5 minutes
Overheard on West Broadway

On the Saturday before Grade Nine was to start, in a new school, an hour and a half commute from my one house and an hour and forty three minute commute from my other house, I stare at my reflection in the bathroom mirror (at the former house). Something. Does. Not. Look. Right. My left eye is… swelling. Perhaps a less astute person would not notice anything (at least at this point), but I, I am beyond astute. I might as well have a magnifying glass.

“Remember that time” by Sasha at her desk


Wednesday June 14, 2017
7:27pm
5 minutes
From an Instagram post

Remember the time we got caught in a lightning storm in the woods? It was just Dad and the two of us. Mum never came camping. It was the kind of storm where there isn’t rain, just thunder and lighting. But you know it’s coming. We stood under the tarp, strung up with bungee chords (it was before all the literature came out about how dangerous they are), and watched the storm move across the pines. Before the rain started, we brushed our teeth (peppermint Tom’s) and peed, squatting down and feeling the grasses tickle our bums.

“Part of the explanation” by Julia on F’s couch


Friday June 9, 2017
9:24pm
5 minutes
The Globe And Mail

I have been avoiding calling my mother because I know I am going to cry.
She is avoiding me too for the same reason.
Earlier this week my sister tells me that the family reunion is off.
After swearing in the bathroom and crying and yelling and crying some more,
I tell her I’m sorry for overreacting.
My sister tells me she could listen to me swear for days, and if it’s any consolation,
I was not overreacting, but reacting, and both would be okay.

Today I finally phone her and for whatever reason we start speaking french to each other.
I think because this softens the blow.
Keeps things light, after all, it is only a family that will not be reuniting.
It’s not the end of the world.
I hear the sigh in her voice as she mixes in some words in Italian, some a combination of both.
I tell her I already know.
She laughs.
Then later she cries.
We both do.

“All my creative juices” by Sasha on the couch at Lewis St.


Wednesday June 7, 2017
7:54pm
5 minutes
Overheard at Mercury Espresso Bar

I stop
mid sentence
mid thought
mid moment
in between
mid moment
a monarch
flies over
our heads
I notice
that it’s
been a long time
since I’ve seen one.

A truck honks
it’s horn
the moment
is broken
the butterfly
is gone.

My sister
and I sit
on a brown
blanket on
the grass
her daughter
all blue eyed
wonder.

We talk about
gurus and love
friendship and
motherhood.

“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.

“The only thing we lack” by Sasha on her couch


Sunday May 28, 2017
2:19pm
5 minutes
A program from the Cultch

Today I rise from bed groggy
heart full of last night’s baring
dreams of children and quartz
eyes wide
rushing water
my sister’s hair
a walk in the woods
barefoot
I sit on the balcony
cradling tea and my thirty-first
cradling all that I have built
on this borrowed plot
I call my father
and he sings in a voice
that lands somewhere
before time
A hummingbird
lands on the tree with
the yellow blooms
Joy
Joy
Joy

“ungratefulness” by Sasha on her balcony


Wednesday May 24, 2017
12:09am
5 minutes
English
Amber O’Reilly


On Sunday I’ll be thirty one
When I look at my hands
they are the hands I’ve
always had
Piano playing
squash cutting
keyboard typing
back tickling
finger knitting
busy small child hands

Swimming in the lake
as a girl
toes touching seaweed
and lake trout
diving down so deep
the temperature changed
popping back up
sunlight and gasp
laughing and falling
into dead man’s float

On Sunday I’ll be full
I’ll be lonely
I’ll be grateful
this is everything
this is nothing
this is

“The pleasures and perils of a drug-altered mind” by Sasha at JJ Bean


Thursday May 4, 2017 at JJ Bean
2:16pm
5 minutes
Vancouver Sun
Thursda May 4, 2017


Karla wears pink heart-shaped sunglasses. Sublime is playing on a beat-up boombox plugged in on the porch. Adi’s backyard sprawls long and wide, pimpled with dandelions. I’m not quite scared, but I’m not quite excited. I wonder where he got the weed, and if I’ll become addicted. How glamorous. I wonder if I’ll cough or my eyes will turn red. I wonder if we’ll laugh more than usual. Bare legs scratched by the grass, he lights up the joint and we pass it. Karla always knows what she’s doing, or is a very good pretender. I am a bit more bumbly, a bit more rosy-cheeked, a bit more novice in general. I do cough. I don’t feel high. I wait and wonder what all the fuss was about. “Lots of people don’t feel it their first time,” Adi says, laying back and stretching out, skinny legs sticking out of his cut offs, arms long. The clouds move like water. Karla puts her sunglasses on me.

“Judging your early artistic efforts” by Sasha at her desk


Thursday April 20, 2017
8:48am
5 minutes
The Artist’s Way
Julia Cameron


hours at the round kitchen table
pencil crayons building

bungalows making circles
and roofs the paper

my playmate my confidante
my lover my dreamcatcher

embroidery thread spun
into small balls

the summer of the hair wrap
the friendship bracelets

Layah and I had a store out of the living
room where our parent’s friends would

purchase anklets for a quarter

“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

“Certified manager” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Friday April 14, 2017
10:19pm
5 minutes
from a business card

Undress me with your knowing of the type of tear on my cheek. We listen to music loud because words aren’t enough, we need the melody too. And the lyrics talk about how we’ll die, how we all die, how love is light and heavy at the same time and we don’t know if we’ll rise or fall. My heart aches when we’re apart, but I like it too, like she sings, like the world sings. The wisdom of each year, the wisdom to know all that I don’t know, all that you don’t know, the mystery of birthdays and water from eyes.

“in her full out pyjamas” by Sasha in the bath


Sunday April 9, 2017
9:47pm
5 minutes
Overheard in the hallway

I want a pair of silk pyjamas. I feel very sophisticated when I put them on my Christmas list and ask my stepmother to buy me some – purple, with white pinstripes. I wear them the night I receive them. I feel like a queen, sliding into bed, the silk against my skin like a good dream. I fall asleep quickly and wake in the middle of the night in a sweat. What is wrapped around me restricting my movement suffocating my ribs and hips? Oh my god, get this shit off of me! I strip down, throwing my pyjamas beside the bed. When I wake in the morning I feel guilty. I promise myself that I’ll wear them on weekend mornings, to read and make breakfast. “They will be luxury loungewear,” I think.

“you might think she was an angry woman” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Thursday April 6, 2017
12:59pm
5 minutes
The Birth House
Ami McKay


“You’re not going to get pregnant and have to quit or something, right?” I looked down at my hands in my lap, clasped tight.

“I’m not sure if you’re allowed to ask me that?” I wish I hadn’t phrased it as a question. I wish I’d said, “You’re not allowed to ask me that.”

I wonder about my friends who are men, who are also finishing graduate school, who will also go on a series of good, bad, demoralizing, funny, awkward interviews. I wonder about these men, fine men, good, kind men, and if a man in a purple tie might ask them about their future babies?

Unlikely.

“Thank you for your time. We’ll be in touch.” A clammy handshake.

“Thank you,” a knot in my throat, brow slightly furrowed, I go into the bathroom and change my shoes.

“While I watched a yellow caterpillar” by Sasha on her couch


Wednesday March 29, 2017
11:24pm
5 minutes
Standing
Shel Silverstein


My sister had dance class on Thursday nights. My Mom would take her there. I’m not sure what she would do while my sister danced – did she read a book? Eat a chocolate chip cookie? See a friend?

My Dad and I would be home alone together. This was rare. It was treasured. The King and Queen would come for dinner. We would eat something my Mom had left on the stove for us.

Afterwards, when the food had settled and the King and Queen had left, we would go into the dining room and dance to Dire Straits. Sometimes I would dance on my own feet and sometimes my Dad would pick me up.

“bigger than my hand laid out flat” by Sasha in the TA office at UBC


Monday March 27, 2017
2:12pm
5 minutes
From an assignment

You’ve never asked me about
my appetite
my one night stands
my musical aspirations
my stretch marks
my collection of cards and crystals
my hidden chocolate

I wonder about honesty
and where it’s filmy and where
it’s white
opaque
bigger than my hand land out flat

We’ve started drinking more
and eating more potato
chips and I’m not sure if
these are
good things or bad things

I’ve never asked you about
what you write about in
your morning page journal
your one night stands

“You live on campus?” by Julia on the 4


Sunday March 12, 2017
6:35pm
5 minutes
Overheard on the 4 going west

Alex told me that if I was really considering York I should come visit him for night and get a feel for residence life. When he invited me and some musical theatre friends to come see his show I started dreaming of my new life as a university student. Alex’s dorm smelled like pizza pockets and microwaves and at eighteen I didn’t have a problem with that. He also mentioned that Rachel McAdams was an alumna from the acting conservatory but I obviously already knew that since she was the one reason other than Alex that I wanted to go to York in the first place. He and I chatted on the floor of his residence room for an hour about how he was switching from English to theatre and where the best falafel was. He told me being away from home was the best part of it all because most people from high school never left town and we’re all obsessed with Wilfred Laurier’s homecoming.

“if it must.” By Sasha at her desk


Sunday February 19, 2017
4:58pm
5 minutes
The Refusal
Jane Hirschfield


I try to lean in to you
in your stoic silence
there lives
a birch tree forest
I am sorry for all the times
I say no before
I say yes
I wish it weren’t so
but alas
it is

You wake from a dream
in which we are running
a bullet has grazed
my leg
I am slowed down
and you slow down
to match my
wounded pace

Is life a teetor
totter up is faith
and down is doubt?

Or maybe
it’s the other
way around

“I miss you.” By Julia on Lindsay’s couch


Thursday February 16, 2017
10:23pm
5 minutes
From a text

In the tenth grade I had a crush on a boy who was tall and almost perfect looking. He played the guitar. He was smart. He loved his family. I was already drafting up wedding invitations. But during the summer there was another boy. He had curly hair and made me laugh. He also played the guitar but he was the biggest asshole I’d ever met. I liked him a little but he liked me more. We spent a night together on the couch in my friend’s parent’s basement. He talked me into making out even when I told him I was scared I’d be bad at it. It was not my first kiss but it might as well have been. He stuck his tongue so far down my throat I could have sworn he licked my stomach lining. My face was gooey from the slobber he left behind. He asked me if I liked it. I didn’t want to tell him the truth because of how proud of himself he was. Instead I told him I didn’t know since I had nothing else to compare it to. I wished it wasn’t him.

“Exile” By Julia on her bed


Monday February 13, 2017
10:30pm
5 minutes
from a business card

How do I forgive something so permanent?
made me miss my bus
made me take out the trash
made me clean out the coffee filter
made me apologize for something I’m not solely sorry for
made me dinner
made me eat breakfast before leaving
made me smile
made me laugh
made me feel bad for crying
made me feel stupid for trying
made me lose my train of thought
made me angry
made me demand more of myself
made me let go
made me better than I ever was going to be
made me question

“She sees light and shapes” by Sasha on her couch


Monday January 30, 2017
9:21pm
5 minutes
From a text

When I was a child, living in a big house on a tree lined street with a yellow door, I would build tiny worlds out of branches, moss, a shell from a visit to Florida. I saw things differently then, in different colours, with different textures. I didn’t know fatigue. I knew heartbreak.

When I had friends over – Sarah, Katie, Charlotte, – I invited them into the worlds. Sometimes someone brought a pinecone or a piece of string. Before bed, after brushing my teeth, washing my face and saying goodnight to my mother, I would take the tiny world apart, bit by bit.

“can definitely travel” by Julia on her couch


Thursday January 12, 2016
10:12pm
5 minutes
from an email

Joe says he wants to tour around the country with me when I take my poetry on the road and that is the biggest kindness I have ever been given. Someone wanting and believing me to succeed so bad that they will come along with me as I pursue my dreams. What will you do? I ask him, ever the middle child worried about fairness and equality and making sure everything is balanced as it should be. I’ll watch your shows, he says, and I’ll carry your merch. We talk about getting a camper van and taking off, getting out of here, seeing this country or elsewhere, and sleeping in our car before we live too much to want to. We talk about making memories the way people talk about making money. I think if we did it I’d have so many poems. I think if we did it we’d have so many stories.

“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.

“People will say,” by Julia in her childhood room


Friday January 6, 2017
12:45am
5 minutes
from The Province

I didn’t wish you a happy birthday and people will say-probably-that I am avoiding you or doing it on purpose or trying to play games. I’m not doing any of those things-though it’s your prerogative to think that I am. To believe everyone else but me. I didn’t do it this year because I was busy and because I don’t think you’re a good person. I should clarify that I still love you somewhere deep down as the person who first showed me what borrowing my parents’ car was really for; who laughed easy to build someone else up when you knew how much that would matter. I can’t condone the rest of you these days. Maybe not for the last few years. I tried to trick myself but it didn’t work. I’m not a very good liar. Not nearly as good as you.

“Can you please bring me my water?” By Sasha on the couch at Macdonell


Sunday December 25, 2016
6:23pm
5 minutes
Overheard in the kitchen

I don’t know what to write today. I’m tired. I’m sick. I’ve overwhelmed. I’m sad. I’m full of buttery, meat-y, spicy, sweet. I don’t know what to write today. The sound of my pen moving across the page feels like shit. I’ve got nothing. I’ve got nothing.

Layah asked Oli to bring her water because she is nursing the baby. I never realized that nursing is pretty much a full time gig. I romanticized nursing, like most things. I romanticize everything. What a strange quality. Ugh. Ugh. I’m pretty sure I have a fever. I hope I don’t make everyone here sick.

“people who called themselves atheists.” By Sasha on Nadeem’s bed in Mississauga


Thursday December 22, 2016
11:35pm
5 minutes
Dust
Charles Pellegrino


We’ll go to Church on Christmas Eve, with the whole family. Mass at four, with the children’s choir singing carols. The priest will say what he always says. He’ll talk about Bethlehem and the black sheep of the family and we’ll say, “Peace be with you”, and shake hands with strangers and kiss cheeks and pat backs. I’ll sing harmonies on hymns, a small subversiveness. I’ll pray for all we’ve lost and all we’ve gained.

“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.

“the hands upraised” by Sasha at her desk


Friday November 25, 2016
11:54am
5 minutes
The back of a Buddha greeting card

I couldn’t sleep again last night. I don’t usually have this problem, toes touching the warmth of your calf, stretching into a dream. I woke you from almost-sleep, “I have the scares,” I said. We stole the line from our eight year old friend because kids are the most articulate in my books. Before I woke you from almost-sleep, before we brushed teeth and put socks and underwear into the laundry hamper, I had been edgy and grating and needy with you, asking “Why?” over and over, even when it wasn’t called for. Mostly when it wasn’t called for. Before the sixty three “Why’s” we had seen a play about a brothel in which a woman is sold into sexual slavery. Our friends were in it. On the way there, I sang along to the radio in the car as the rain slapped the windshield. We held hands. The play was really good, really painful, really vital – which is more than I can say most of the time. Maybe all the “Why’s” I threw at you were easier than the “Why’s” I really have, the thundercloud ones and the screaming ones and the throat closing sob ones. I’m sorry. You don’t have answers because there are no answers, you can’t give me the answers I need, you shouldn’t ever have to. Hands upraised, reaching for something, reaching for meaning, reaching for why, reaching for God.