“conducted his own laboratory experiments” by Julia at her mom’s dining table

Monday May 13, 2019
2:51pm
5 minutes
The Flouride Deception
Christopher Bryson

In the laboratory (kitchen) my mother is filling
the espresso machine with more beans.
She is on the phone with her sister in Italy,
speaking in dialetto and switching to English
when it’s easier to explain. I am conducting my
own experiment about which Animal is aligned
with my authentic essence and which medicine
I should take care to recognize as an offering
to the world who needs it. I am asking which
animals do I reject? I asked her earlier, and she
said snakes. In Italy there are snakes all over
the place. I saw my first one in the mountain town
where my mother grew up and where my nonna lived.
There are a few more experiments to participate in,
the animal of my family, the tribe that I belong to.
I’ll have to ask more questions, write down more
findings and one day draw a map with all the right
tree roots connecting. We all have a specimen to
study. Some inner worlds become one and when they
do I want to be able to notice them. I want to
vibrate buzz with the truth reflected around me. I want

to arrive and stay arriving with my heart out, collecting.

“My mother, who lost her teeth” by Julia on A and W’s couch

Friday June 15, 2018
9:29pm
5 minutes
What We Lost
Brenda Peynado

I’m praying to anyone who will listen but also to anyone who has the follow through. Not sure if god gets how deeply uncomfortable it is to have a uterus, so I’d rather talk to someone else. I catch myself calling out for my Nonna. She knew how to live with discomfort. With pain. With problems. She was a freaking magician. A soldier. A person with no teeth and the strongest gums you’ve ever seen. Flapping words around her mouth like weapons. Like violin lessons. She kept her dentures in a yellow cup over night. She once moved her entire living room around with a broken arm because “it had to get done.” And no it did not have to get done. Nothing did. Everyone told her to sit down and rest for once. I’m calling on her now because she didn’t have an off switch. She’s probably making god’s bed while god is still laying in it. She did not let anything stop her. Not even a little bit.

“the holy monkeys and the colourful birds” by Julia on the bus to Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng

Tuesday January 30, 2018
8:39am
5 minutes
You
Anna Margolin

In the morning before we said goodbye to Ann, the tiny blue bird with the long beak that I had seen in my half sleep from the bus reappeared. It cradled a thin branch near the water with its feet and stopped the world from stepping. I tried to tell you that it was a sign. You couldn’t see the blue and told me it was probably some other bird. It was the same one and I knew by the way it sat. Its stillness was a perfect one. I would know it anywhere. I managed to quiet my heart beat long enough to hear. To sense the strength or the message or the absence of expectation. I heard it like the humming of my Nonna, her voice soothing while she used to mend my favourite sleep shorts. I would know that sound anywhere. I would.

“where she curled, suspended, gathering” by Julia at her parents’ house

Wednesday January 3, 2018
11:55pm
5 minutes
the woman who married a bear
Anne Haven McDonnell

Nonna used to ask me if she could style my hair after I had already finished doing it. When she was young she used to curl my mom’s into sections by wrapping it around a pencil. I told her no sometimes. But on other days I didn’t have the heart to tell her that she was hurting me; yanking and twisting all the pieces wrong. I know it meant a lot to her to play with my hair. She’d sing quietly as she did, and I choked back some painful yelps so I wouldn’t interrupt her. She used to get her hair done for everything. Had one of her five daughters put her dyed blonde hair in curlers for the baptisms, communions, confirmations, weddings, funerals, barbecues, walks around the block.

“Paragraphs of information” by Julia on Nicole’s balcony


Thursday July 13, 2017
12:15am
5 minutes
from a syllabus

Of course I didn’t ask for the ring with the gold flower when she died. I had wanted it since I was small enough to fit in her arms. But I got something better. When I spritzed her perfume in the bathroom I thought I was getting away with curiosity. Turns out my curiosity was too big to ignore. It was the first time she held me. She brought me out of the bathroom with love while I was embarrassed at being caught. Then she gave me the bottle of perfume I had tried on. Just gave it to me. You like it? Here, it’s yours. I cherished that bottle. I kept it in my closet. I didn’t know anything about her-there wasn’t a book about her, not paragraphs of information written about this woman. But I knew the smell of her young skin. I knew the size of her generosity. I knew the way her quiet was her prison. And how she wished she could have given me more.

“I lied all the time” by Julia at her desk


Thursday May 11, 2017
10:04pm
5 minutes
from a quote by Louis C.K
Sunbeams of The Sun (May 2017 issue)


five years old, Nonna visits,
leaves her face creams tubed in the upstairs bathroom
curious, five years old, sneaks into the upstairs bathroom
counts the black tile, counts the white,
opens the cream, smears it on, five years old,
closes it, runs away to pretend that nothing is out of the ordinary
mother, thirty-five years old, yells at all of us
because one of us, five years old, left the tubes partially open
Nonna wants to know who would, since she wouldn’t
five years old wants to blame it on the upstairs bathroom ghost
thirty-five years old asks flame on lips for the last time,
shoots missile from eyes, no prisoners
five years old, scared, ashamed, caught, decides to lie
blames it on the upstairs bathroom ghost,
learns guilt, confesses
one hour later

“senior’s line dancing” by Julia on her couch


Wednesday November 4, 2015
9:13pm
5 minutes
theseniorshub.org

Nonna doesn’t stop talking until you ask her to talk about herself.
In fact, that is how you get Nonna to stop talking.
It was an accident that I found that fact to be true, but it’s true none the less.
I asked her once to tell me about when she was younger.
“Tell me about the dancing! Tell me about you and Nonno dancing or kissing or both.”
“Oh, we were young, yes, a long time ago. We did some dancing.”
She tells me this, in Italian, as she lays the tomatoes out to be sun-dried.
“No, Nonna, I mean tell me about your dancing. What kind of music did you like? What kind of necklaces did you wear?”
But she doesn’t want to tell me, or remind herself, and instead she trails off in a way that makes her sound like she doesn’t quite believe the sound of her own voice.
“Okay Nonna, tell me about the tomatoes.”
“Oh, these tomatoes? I picked these tomatoes. All by myself. This morning. I hurt my joints because I picked them so long.”

“Really cute, bright (near markets)” by Julia on the train to Bologna


Friday September 26, 2014
2:21pm
5 minutes
Julia’s apartment research

Hi, I’m looking for this tiny little human? She’s the size of someone’s nonna but in a super cute way not a shrivelled way? Like, she’d be the type to put olive oil on her skin as a moisturizer and as perfume and you’d be in love with her because of it. Only this tiny human I’m looking for is not someone’s nonna, she’s just small like one. And cool in the way that she gave her last fuck away to someone who wanted it more than she did–the way you throw away crusts from a sandwich–like, fuck this sandwich! When you just don’t care anymore? She’s cool and tiny and I met her once and she was carrying this neon tote bag so I thought she’d be easy to describe but clearly you’re not getting it. Oh! And I’m pretty sure she’s a Scorpio. It’s weird cause I always seem to meet Scorpios and then right away I fall in love with them. I’m not sure what it is but something magic, I’m assuming. That’s all I know about her–I wish I could just draw you a picture but I don’t think I really even saw her face. I was obviously too busy looking inside her.