“The next time he comes over” by Julia at her desk

Saturday, March 17, 2018
5 minutes
The Possible Universe
Claire Halliday

The next time he comes by, in dream or almost, I’m going to make sure I taste his lips.
Last time the whole sleep paralysis thing got me. He came home, but I was stuck on the couch. I could feel him next to me. I asked him for a kiss. He bent down, his mouth hot near mine, and all I could do was lay there. Now I’ve had a good talking to with my brain and we both agreed we were not going to do that again. If he was showing up in my subconcious, he should get to make actual contact. None of this Nearly But Not Quite stuff. He asked me if we could rendezvous at a train station this time. I got worried, knowing me, always waking myself up before the good parts. So we decided to meet on the train itself to maximize our dream time together. He said he wanted to make love to me in the dining car. I would very much like to show up for this one. I’ve always wanted to make love in a dining car.

“seemed to love us anyway” by Julia on her couch

Friday, March 16, 2018
5 minutes
Beauty: 1976
Ruth L. Shwartz

We stole little things from her vanity-a ring, a sample bottle of eau de toilette, a hair pin. It didn’t look like she would notice them gone. There were so many more important things to notice. After she told us about the robbery and how they found Granite’s debit card being used in six different diners in two days, we felt bad. Here she was telling us about how people keep stealing from them, and we were there, stealing from them. It was so easy to convince ourselves she wouldn’t notice on account of how many stories we’ve been forced to listen to for the 60th time. People who tell the exact same story to the exact same people year after year are not the look around and see what’s new about the room kind of people. People who are so damn sad do not have time to count their broaches, or their Jean jackets.

“writing poems on placemats.” By Julia on the 99

Thursday, March 15, 2018
5 minutes
Garlic In My Ear

Jerie told me she’d only move back to Vancouver if I could find her a two bedroom apartment that wasn’t being eaten. By what she did not specify, but the easy answer would be “at all”. I first asked her to come back when Elliot got in that car crash and was put into a coma. Surely someone in a coma couldn’t work the corner office. I wasn’t hoping for him to die, just, stay where he was. Jerie said it was a shitty thing to do and wasn’t moving on principal. I hadn’t touched her skin in 5 months. I guess I got desperate. She was right. But how do you woo someone with a bachelor apartment and a bachelor salary? The second time I asked her was after I got the side job at McDonalds. I started writing her reasons why on napkins. Wrote her sonnets on the backs of greasy placemats.

“The trees around here” By Julia in her bed

Wednesday, March 14, 2018
5 minutes
Intrigue In The Trees
John Brehm

The trees around this place remind me of the book I said I’d write. If only there was time, or if Roddy wasn’t sick, or if the dog would let himself out of the flapping door.

The red ones remind me of all the vanity.
Blood beech. Not meant to be that way.
Something wrong with it. Metabolic disorder. Not enough sunlight.

Here, let’s plant the thing in a park filled with green. Keep your mind off the everyday. Give you something to hold onto. They didn’t know it is harder for the tree. It is always harder for the tree left in the middle. The example. Pose for your photograph. Backdrop perfect for the wedding pictures. And I keep wishing Roddy could choose another city to die in. I don’t want to think of him every time I see the post office. Or the sad red tree in the middle of the park. One thing sick and the rest of them fine and far away. Normal. I don’t need any reminders of that.

“God may have written” by Julia on her couch

Tuesday, March 13, 2018


5 minutes

From a quote by Nancy Cartwright

Aubrey tells me that she wishes she could sing without trying. Without crying. Without opening her mouth. She asks me to ask God what can be done about that. She asks me because I’m taller than her and therefore closer to God. She’s not wrong…

When I ask her why she wants this she doesn’t answer with words but with a look of disapproval. As if I didn’t already know. As if it needs to be spelled out.

Aubrey tells me it’s important that singing be true. She says she’s heard enough people trying and she doesn’t want to be the kind who has to push put feelings; one who tries to get it right.

Would you be okay with being wrong? I ask her, a little afraid now that I’ve pushed her too far.

She smiles then and blows her bangs out of her oval face.

“A woman came out of the farmhouse.” By Julia on Kits Beach

Monday, March 12, 2018
5 minutes
Exactly What To Say
Kim Church

In her hand she was clutching a dead chicken by the neck. From where I was standing behind the red Birch, and how its head bobbed methodically, it appeared to be still alive, merely intoxicated. Like Ariane was dragging her drunk friend home after too many jagger bombs.
I don’t know why I thought I could hide from her. She spotted me right away, a twig in these heavy woods.
I froze in my spot and then managed a wave. It was as awkward as I’d ever been. The look on her face said nothing in the world had ever disappointed her more.

“Jobs for college students” by Julia on M’s front porch

Sunday March 11, 2018


5 minutes


James got me a job working the phones at the writing centre after he heard me give an improvised tour of it even though I had only just walked into the place five minutes prior. He liked my spunk and I liked that he needed someone to replace him while he worked out or read a book to his kid over lunch hours on Mondays Wednesday and sometimes Fridays. His wife let him see her during the days because she didn’t want her getting used to seeing him only before bed. She was convinced that’s how you give a child nightmares. I presume she meant when he couldn’t make it at nighttime, as understandably, he sometimes would not. I used to steal pens and post its and I never felt bad about it. I guess I thought James wouldn’t care because I assumed he did the same thing. I felt like a rockstar scheduling students in for their one on one essay appointments. I wasn’t there enough to be invested, but I wanted James to feel validated by his instinct of me.

“as spicy or as tame” by Julia on her couch

Saturday March 10, 2018


5 minutes


Her skin smelled spicy and I couldn’t get it out of my head. The way she plucked rosemary from other people’s gardens and tucked it in her back pocket or in the bun of her hair. She needed the earth like she needed to laugh. I loved that she did not pass one bushel unpicked. She liked to roll the green between her fingers and pull them up to her nose at traffic lights. She said it calmed her. She said it made her feel like she was already home. When we’d wake, I’d find her laying in my practice baseball shirt and smelling good without the help of something bottled. When I told her she smelled spicy she laughed and said, what were you expecting, lavender?

“your inner rock collecting childhood self” by Julia on L and J’s couch

Friday March 9, 2018
5 minutes
BUNZ Trading Zone

draw a set of bunny ears on the front and the poofy tail on the back
collect enough flat rocks to draw all animals
cat whiskers and ears on the front
tail on the back
horse braid on the front
tail on the back
you get the idea
the tail goes on the back whenever there is a tail
like a coin
but you won’t be flipping these
they’ll be too heavy
you can skip them if they’re flat
there is room for some funny jokes in there
(cats not really liking the water, for a first idea)
(you can lead a horse to water…)
you can also give these rocks away
as little parting gifts
or put them in the loot bags at your child’s brithday party
they’ll think they’re getting something
like a chocolate
or an eraser
but they will get to display it on their mantle
forver reminding them
(their parents)
that you had time for your kid and then some
who doesn’t want more time
who doesn’t need more time
maybe we’ve jumped ahead and you do not have kids yet
you’re still a kid yourself
you’re still so damn young
(sorry, darn)
scrawl the name of the boy you like on the front
and write your name on the back
throw it into the water
and make a wish
they always go into the water

“If you want to go out with her or give her a bath” by Julia in the office chair

Thursday March 8, 2018
5 minutess
From a text

Lottie ain’t gonna fightcha, if ya’ll wanna take her out or give her a nice scrubbin’, be my guest, understand? She used to put up a stink, but I think the old gal has gotten tired and to be honest I think she likes the company different these days. When we first got her, boy could she kick a hole in all your hard work! The fences that Horace put up? Took him the whole damn summer. When he left for two minutes to fetch himself a congratulatory beer Lottie had already marked her exit route. You shoulda seen his face, my god. If he didn’t already feel bad for the poor thing, he mightta sold her that very day. Thing is, Lottie came from a bad group. The owners liked to use their animals for experiments in show business-Kind of impossible circus types.

“Oh my god it HURTS!” By Julia on her couch

Wednesday March 7, 2018
The Stand
Stephen King

Okay let me tell you what it’s like. On a good night? He comes home, he kisses me in the driveway, he slaps my ass and then he brings in the groceries from the car, puts them away, then sits on the couch. I give him a back massage and then I cook dinner. He does the dishes, then he reads in his chair and snacks on those chewy mints. He loves those chewy mints even though they get stuck in his teeth. He tells me he loves me. He sings in my ear. On a bad night it’s not much different. He comes home, he reads, he chews, he does the dishes. But on those days he does not kiss me in the driveway. Doesn’t tell me that he loves me. Plays the piano in the other room with his headphones in. Watches reality tv and surfs the web for funny videos in the other room with his headphones in. Doesn’t kiss me before we sleep. Doesn’t touch me in the bed. Doesn’t ask how my day was. Comes home but doesn’t want to be there.

“If you have any questions” by Julia in her bed

Tuesday March 6, 2018


5 minutes

Vancouver Yellow Cab

Ask me. Please God, ask me.

Don’t wait until the question is asking you. Don’t hold off until you think I might be ready. Ask me. In the middle of the night. In the middle of this sentence. In the seconds before a skydive. In the goodbye of our old-selves. In the presence of your heartache. In the drip of your throat. In the worst moment ever. In the 9 minute snooze meant for snoozing. Ask me. Please. Don’t wait. Don’t wish. Let me know how you feel. Let me know what you need. I will do my best to hear you. I will not make you feel bad. I don’t know how to judge you.

“shit and eggshell” by Julia on the 9

Sunday, March 4, 2018
5 minutes
My Life Smells Like This
Amy Bloom

You are no longer sleeping here-I beg the smart side of my brain to seize the opportunity: Paint the fucking thing shit brown and eggshell, a reminder of just how useless you were. The smart part of body buys the brushes, borrows a roller and a tray, sticks colour swatches to the wall. The other side, the middle sister side, sits on the edge of the bed and seizes into a chemical tear bath. The salty breath is held there like a brown paper bag was trying to keep it from floating away. Laboured. Inconsolable. The smart side of my brain has it all figured out: Leave, let leave, let live, live, leave. Do not pick up the phone. Do not keep slippers in the room that fit only the feet who walked out on you. Don’t do it. Don’t ask the other side for grace.

“The only thing I can come up with” by Julia in her bed

Thursday, March 1, 2018
5 minutes
No Idea
Dana ID Matthews

Today I told them that I didn’t know
That I want to know and that I wish I did but I don’t
No one asked to see my badge, my credentials
No one gave me a sidemouthed remark
I felt worried and then I felt honest
and the authenticity parade was loud for all to hear
Later one of them told me that they didn’t know
That they want to know, but they don’t, and isn’t that okay?
Later still one of them told me they thought it was
important to admit when we don’t know
and maybe others might want to hear that too
that life is not easy and no one knows everything
Here, take this make-shift answer, this feather
falling itchy onto my lap,
Find my discomfort and amplify it
Always remember that I lied right to your face
to save my own
I am glad that for once the only thing I could
come up with was the worthy and unveiled truth

“wedding bells at the airport” by Julia in her bed

Wednesday, February 28, 2018
5 minutes
jessie read

It was hard to sleep cause the bugs were busy burrowing into their favourite skin:
Side of the face
Baby toe
A hard glance at paranoia might
Point you directly at the mosquito
Pest that everyone blames Noah for
not killing
Every light hair lifted by wind or arm is warning sign and restless nights
A lady bug would have been a welcome replacement
You don’t have to hear a ladybug plot murder right in front of you
But the night was closing in
Big day tomorrow and everyone watching and it would take
a weak prisoner if the mind stopped chirping
The way you might forget your room is haunted when the light is on

“for what little he had left” by Julia on V, J, W, and A’s couch

Tuesday, February 27, 2018


5 minutes


Curtis LeBlanc

He had to get his hip replaced at 28. That’s too young. I shouldn’t have to say that. He shouldn’t have to know it. He lost his hair first. Before everything. Too short to get away with it. People saw. Some of them were mean. A full head of hair does not a man make. I shouldn’t have to say that. He shouldn’t have to feel it.

When they took his car away from him they clipped his wings and put him in a cage. He was helping someone else out and he still had the law trying to keep him from flying. He was helping someone. I shouldn’t have to say that. I forgot to tell him he was enough. I don’t know why I think it’s my job but it feels like it is. Like he’d listen to me. I shouldn’t have to say it. But I didn’t anyway. I really should have said it.

“A queen travels” by Julia in T’s car

Saturday, February 24, 2018


5 minutes

Winter Watch

Jennifer Elise Foerster

A queen travels in the backseat of a Honda Civic. The front two seats have zebra print covers. The heat doesn’t work. She falls asleep with her neck jammed to the right. She is mushed up, her bones all squeaky.

A queen takes her shoes off because her socks are wet from the tiny hole in her boot. She spreads herself out when she thinks she’s earned it. After reminding herself how many conversations she attempted to start; how many thick silences she endured. At the border she smiles at the man on duty. She lets the others do the talking. She shakes her head from highway sleep.

“may all the bones” by Julia in her bed

Friday, February 23, 2018


5 minutes

And if there is a day of ressurection

Todd Davis

May all the bones rest easy in their skin

stop fumbling around in the orange

light lit by the soft falling snow

May they live happy in their home of flesh and sinew

May they give their postal code with pride

Under all those baggy sweaters they have been convincing each other of the safety outside themselves

No one is watching closely, they’d say

No one is paying attention

“There is a dream I remember having” By Julia on V, J, W, and A’s couch

Thursday, February 22, 2018


5 minutes

The Wilds of Sleep

Kat Duff

I am younger than nine

I remember just fine

Not the age or the stage

But the people and the place

It’s not scary

but it’s a nightmare

I go down to tell my mom

Having a bad dream again

But it’s my dad shaving in the bathroom

And he’s smiling

And I ask where she is

And he says right here

And then my dad enters again

And my dad stands beside my dad

And my dad shaves besides my dad

As in, my mom is my dad

As In, my dad is my mom

As in, my mom has been absorbed by my dad

As in, my mom is turned into his copy

Two dads, as good as he is, is not

a substitute for one of each

My mom signs my report cards

My mom toasts my bread

My mom reads me stories

Let’s me sleep on her side of the bed

“During a rest stop” by Julia on her couch

Tuesday, February 20, 2018


The Ecology of Prayer

Fred Bahnson

When Erin got out of the truck her hands were still sticky. She told Cal to keep the engine running as a joke but he didn’t quite compute. She walked back to the passenger seat and held up her hands, then said, I’m going to be a minute. Cal got it. He could see his semen catching the light like dried glue. He watched her go into the gas station and wondered if he should be washing off too. He thought about the baby wipes Raisa used to leave all over the place, making everything smell like diapers. Erin tried not to touch anything until she reached the bathroom. She realized it was a mistake to walk along the row of Doritos.

“eat all of our food? Rude.” By Julia in N’s kitchen

Friday February 16, 2018
5 minutes
David Delisca

When Harley stays with us on Tuesdays and Thursdays cause it’s closer to the hospital
he buys us hot dogs and
orders pizza
He doesn’t want us to make him anything special simply
because he’s dying
He’d rather eat out of the garbage
can than put us out any more
than he thinks he is already
On Mondays and Wednesdays
Mitch goes out to pick up
the groceries he thinks Harley
might like to snack on when
he thinks the rest of us aren’t
paying attention
Fruit by the foot and Reese’s
Peanut butter Puffs
Organic strawberries and Oreos
We stock the cupboards just
in case

“we were in the same grade together” by Julia on the 99

Thursday February 15, 2018


5 minutes

Lesbian at a Bachelor Party

Amber Dawn

I remember him when I think about my front tooth. When i accidentally hit it with a fork, or a glass of water. The last time it was knocked out was half a decade ago by a guy turning his car when he shouldn’t be. The first time was on a snow hill when I was seven years old. This kid in my grade came at me with his rotten mitts and punched me in my mouth. I guess it was already loose, but there was still a lot of blood. When I went to the bathroom to rinse out my mouth the tooth fell down the drain. I remember I was more angry at him for making me lose out on the tooth fairy money than I was that he attacked me for absolutely no reason. How do you prove to the tooth fairy that you lost your tooth when you actually lost your tooth?

“famous for flying around”by Julia in her bed

Wednesday February 14, 2018


5 minutes

Anthony’s Glass Eye

Billeh Nickerson

Today he was wearing a giant crystal dangling on a thin leather rope. It was so close to his Adam’s apple I thought he was going to slice it right off. He told us all that his ukulele was a lesbian and that he used to be a winged thing in the life before this one.

I know that feeling. Of wanting to share everything inside my skull. But I don’t do it because I’ve seen what happens when you’re candid with everyone. They can’t handle the honesty. It makes them squirmy.

The person beside me was breathing so consistently and heavily that it started to activate my anxiety. I had to keep catching my own breath and plugging my one ear. If I had been honest I would have gotten in trouble for asking them to please try breathing with their mouth open or not at all.

“freckles on thighs and in-between.” by Julia at the studio

Tuesday February 13, 2018
5 minutes
Teachable Moment, 1986
kellee Ngan

you were the one who first told me about the freckle
on the inside of my bum cheek and I didn’t even
know it was there
I want to thank you now in retrospect for looking
as close at the inside of my bum cheek as you did
For looking as close at the inside of my chest
even when I couldn’t be happy for your happiness
or when I chose silence over words even though
you knew I knew words better
I want to thank you now for noticing then the trilion
tiny specks of me
the good the bad, the ugly ugly ugly
You were so patient until your patience bit
and when it did it took out a deep chunk
You always knew where to sink your teeth in
but that was your reward for paying such perfect
You told me once that my tongue whipping down your
throat was not sexy and I didn’t have the thought
to tell you then that I was holding tightly
to a thread that held your head close to mine
And I was not anything close to ready
to letting it go in case you went with it
One day I opened my fingers and you went with it
but I thank you now
the first

“bellies full of unborn air” by Julia on her couch

Monday February 12, 2018
5 minutes
Emily Davidson

There is poetry in everything
Sadly singing
Love songs slowed down
A harmonica player on the curb
ushering out guests from the drink heavy bar, the heart heavy
We are bellies full of unnamed protests
our oceans only clear where the sky is
crossing the street as if we were still in another country
the one we learned to walk in
eyes forward, hands clasped, unafraid
Sundays turn into Sundays last
when the news comes in
another flight this evening
taking him away

“He couldn’t get enough of sky” by Julia on her couch

Thursday February 8, 2018
5 minutes
North America’s Favourite Zoo Animal
Stephanie Bolster

This boy flies in a plane
never seen the sky from
this high up
never seen his church
from this far away
Counting stars, Mamma,
I see them all the same as
down there
Makes a wish in case
one of them unexpectedly falls
And this one can be yours too,
Mamma, we can share it
This boy wears light blue hat
with bear ears sticking out
He sleeps in the soft of his
mother after watching the pink
and orange stripes fade
The gentle lady walks by and
catches herself off guard
by his tiny perfect face

“coffee laced with rum” by Julia on the plane

Tuesday February 6, 2018
5 minutes
I’ve Fishing Crawford Lake
Kim Maltman

The coffee had been sweetened
with hazelnut syrup
There was no extra charge
and no side comments made
It was served in a tiny cup; handmade, delicate
The man ordered a cup in the morning and again in the afternoon
He joked and said he had already
forgotten the taste
It was not the coffee itself
he needed more of
-his head a jolt of unsafe caffeine
navigating foreign streets-
but the condensed milk
layered at the bottom or when lucky
whipped through, and hot
The woman took only little sips
when offered
but ached for more, quietly

“Ninety pounds.” By Julia in Hanoi

Sunday February 4, 2018
5 minutes
T is for Texas
Derek McCormack

I met a woman in the museum today
She was 90 pounds and making things
Pushing through the thick
and then
more making, more things
She won the medal for
perseverance or something like it
Not a war hero but a woman hero
and a wall climbing metaphor
She didn’t see the wall and
think there was no other way

Can’t go over it
Can’t go under it
Can’t go around it
Got to go through it
(Going on a lion hunt)
(If the lion was accomplishment in spite of)

The angle of her made her body
look big and she seemed
so very unfazed

“children dawdling to school” by Julia in Hanoi

Saturday February 3, 2018
5 minutes
K.V Skene

It’s over the hill and past the old abandoned ice cream truck.
The little ones don’t seem to
be afraid when they go by it
but I don’t like the feeling it
gives me. I don’t like what it
represents but then again I’m
old enough to remember what
happened. They skip and play
and sometimes pretend to steer
the wheel. They make believe
that they are just like the ice
cream man on a regular Wednesday in June.
The police say there might have been more than twenty bodies.
They say
they didn’t consider
digging so far back until
they had a reason to. When
you think of what all of us kids
knew back then, it makes you
wonder what their priorities were,
and what order.

“handed down mother to daughter” by Julia at Tree Hugger Cafe, Dong Hoi

Friday February 2, 2018 at Tree Hugger Cafe
5 minutes
Without Mercy
Howard Wright

The slow blink while angry
The smooth legs
The internal smile at babies
The compassion
The sometimes door mat sometimes door
The olive oil skin
The walking feet
The running instinct
The humming bone
The story teller
The clam sauce recipe
The porcini mushroom gnocchi
The onion soup
The date and walnut cookies
The open face
The open mouth
The ears
The rage
The hurt
The agency
The curiosity
The attention to details
The service to the ones loved most
The glued roots to Italy
The never ending conversation
The family first

“Should we take the pillows?” By Julia in Phong Nha-ke bang National Park

Thursday February 1, 2018
5 minutes
What Are You Thinking?
Jay Ruzesky

R-Should we take the coffee packets? Will you want those later?

A-I’m collecting them. I think they’ll be good to have on the go, don’t you

R-And should we take the Q-tips?

A-always good to have cotton swabs we didn’t have to buy in case of an emergency.

R-should we take the bag of crackers?

A-Of course I think we’ll enjoy having them as a snack in between major meals on the road.

R-And should we take the pillows?

A-well, if they will fit in our bags then it would be good to—wait. The pillows? Should we take the pillows?

R-Yes, should we take them?

A-The pillows?

R- Yes.

A-But…the pillows?

“a forest lake frozen to the bottom” by Julia in Phong Nha-ke national park

Wednesday January 31, 2018

5 minutes
Pia Tafdrup

It reminds me of the time we tried to take our leftovers home and the waitstaff who couldn’t understand our English very well didn’t know what a container meant. And so they gave it to us in a giant ceramic bowl that wouldn’t fit in our tiny fridge. They must have thought we were out of our minds. We brought the bowl to our room and some smaller bowls to eat from but we were too full to keep eating that night so we put them in the tiny fridge. The next day the giant bowl was gone but our two smaller bowls were still in there. We didn’t want leftovers until later and by the time it was later, we couldn’t eat them anyway. When we went to stick a spoon in, the top was hard as rock. It took a moment to figure out that it had frozen over-we put it in the wrong spot. This made us laugh for a while. Thinking of them coming to collect our giant bowl and saying, well I guess we’ll leave their ice noodles in the fridge then?

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

Tuesday January 30, 2018
5 minutes
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.

“it was poetry, fireworks, ticker tape” by Julia in Hue

Monday January 29, 2018
5 minutes
Bad Hand
Mallory Tarses

It was hard beds, good sleeps, wild dreams.
It was soft hands, stark words, sweet kisses.

It held us in our tiny pod, two feet from the ground and floating. Brought us to the flashing lights and the back alleys and the families of perfect chickens. It was poetry and history and a birthday song over the PA in the lobby.

It was poetry and river walks.
It was poetry as patience.

As kindness.
As covered knees in the solemn place.
As the sunrise on a boat in the Mekong Delta.

“Said she’s comin’ back to stay” by Julia in Da Nang

Sunday January 28, 2018
5 minutes
Gonna Have Love
Buck Owens

You are wearing black shorts and a white t-shirt. They might be your boxers. Your at home clothes. Your lounge wear. I don’t know that much about you yet. I don’t know that you love Buck yet. I know you’re funny. I know I’ve accidentally said your name while lying next to someone else. I know I don’t want to live with anyone but you. You are wearing black shorts and a white t-shirt. You knock on my door every night and when I say come in from my desk you come in with your guitar. You play a song. You charm the pants off of me. You make me laugh. You make me better. You are a one man show and I am your only audience. You and your black shorts, boxers, lounge wear. You and your perfect timing and your perfect face. You and your way of changing the room so the right light hits the right spot. I don’t know much about you but I am watching every part. I am studying your hands. Your knee caps. The way you don’t take anything personally. The way you sing to me.

“He’s not worthy of competing with you” by Julia in Da Nang

Saturday January 27, 2018
5 minutes
The Duel
Thomas Brasch

You can tell me you’re not competing and I will be more likely to believe you but the ones who love me most and know me best will know you’re lying. I didn’t know we were after the same horizon. I didn’t know because I wasn’t looking over in your lane.

I only ever wanted to know how you are doing your best not how to do your best. I thought we could share instruction manuals once we got them. But you hide yours from me. This has been going on for years. And it is not a compliment to withhold your gold on account of my capacity. I am big and you are big but this constant comparing makes you smaller. You do that to yourself. I don’t want what you’re after. You could spend more time expanding. You could do that instead. Because I am big. I am so big already.

“If we changed the rules of our games” by Julia in Hội An

Friday January 26, 2018
5 minutes
The Mercy Seat
Norman Ravvin

Now that we’ve changed
the rules I don’t cry as much.
As if my face can tell
you how I feel without
losing any water without
causing a drought somewhere
else deep down near the well of me
Now the well of me is full
and happy looks like patience
or a bucket
or forgiveness on the conveyor belt
switched on at high speed
You are coaching and playing
at the same time sometimes
and this is a rule you
have always known to follow
I can learn from this
I can play better too

“like a man swallowing clay.” By Julia in Ho Chi Minh city

Thursday January 25, 2018
5 minutes
Fish-Eye Marble
Sophia Lecker

Some days are harder to get through in terms of schedule and temperature and sadness and homesick and lack of nutrients and muscle aches and a belly that won’t empty. Things move slow like a man swallowing the sea or one who tries to make a clay pot in his guts. The night feels too dark, too short, too long, too distracted. The morning lies its face off about your desirability as a human. Sleep comes at the wrong time. The battery on your phone won’t last when you’re lost. The roads left unmarked shake like the devil’s in them. The eyes get heavy before it’s time.

“chimneys dress right with smoke” by Julia at Nguyen Shack homestay

Wednesday January 24, 2018
5 minutes
A Touch of Cynicism
Yannis Goumas

There’s a new chimney in my parents’ house. I’m glad because they use their fireplace a lot. They make decisions like this and then you never hear the end of it. I’m glad because they use their fireplace a lot. But then you have to hear them tell you about the guy who installed it. And then again. And then about the new handle on the new fireplace door. Because oh yeah, there’s a new fireplace at my parents’ house too. And people are allowed to be excited. That the first time in 20 years they are changing something in the downstairs area. Not the carpets or the windows. But the fireplace that they light every night. My dad even starts the fire for my mom before he leaves for work each morning. She can do it by herself but he still likes to make the house warm for her before he goes. If they tell me again about the fireplace, I will let them. I’ll ask about the guy who installed it. I’ll ask about the working chimney.

“Well, God is perfectly fair.” By Julia on the bus to Can Tho

Tuesday January 23, 2018
5 minutes
Tamas Dobozy

Middle child=fairness and unfairness

When god isn’t fair the middle child feels it. In her toenails. In her tears.
All this adding up does not equal the right sum.
Someone miscalculated.
Someone forgot to check the math. God is supposed to be good at math.
One good for you one good for me one bad for you one bad for me.
And if my turn comes today yours will be tomorrow. Yours will come and mine will come and faith and trust and acceptance and patience.
God doesn’t play favourites with disaster. That’s the rule. But what if it comes and it’s not fair? That’s the rule too. How does the middle child handle all these mismatched moments. How does god give back after all the taking.
Let’s take a bite until it’s gone. The middle child understands fractions. How to ration. How to make sure there is enough for everyone for as long as possible. You want the middle child on the boat when trouble finds you. You want the one who knows how to be fair.

“You’ll do pants today.” by Julia in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Sunday January 21, 2018
5 minutes
Summer, Winter, War
Melinda Moustakis

As we got off the plane all I could think about was my jean shorts. How long it’s been since I’ve gotten to wear them and how I will wear them as soon as we get our entrance visas stamped. Entrance visas take a long time to get stamped, it turns out. We can feel the thick weighing down the airport from inside of it. I want my legs to see the sun. I want my jeans to return to my backpack and shut up about not being chosen. Hours and hours go by because the lineups are all over the place. The taxi driver takes us the long way, round and round, before dropping us off at our hotel. The hotel staff needs to get through their spiel. Today I’m doing pants and shorts. And gratitude. And abundance.

“with that thirsty, drink-it-down look” by Julia on the plane

Saturday January 20, 2018
5 minutes
For you
Tammy Armstrong

-So should we join the mile high club?

– -I would do it, yeah.

-Oh please, don’t sound so enthused. It’s too much.

– -Well those bathrooms are so small.


– – And apparently you can get in a lot of trouble if you get caught.

-Yes, you can only join the club if you risk breaking the rules. You can’t just be in the club. There has to be danger. And earning it.

– -Okay fine let’s join then. I’m in. I’ve heard the best time to do it is when the flight attendants are trollying along with snacks.

-Oh you heard that, did you?

“She’ll use timid hand gestures,” by Julia on the 9

Friday January 19, 2018
5 minutes
Black Roses Bloom
Bill Gaston

She’ll calmly talk about her dad as if he were still alive. She’ll say he’s gone but her arms don’t quite believe it yet. Her jaw won’t accept it as the truth. She’ll stay up late in bed because the book is that good. Except it won’t be a book she’s reading. It’ll be hard to sleep with all those dreams of him. The ones of him showing up at her door with a basket of fresh picked cherry tomatoes and a couple dangerous Chili peppers. The ones of her getting a call from his cell phone but all he does is laugh and laugh when she picks up. The ones of him squeezing her shoulders when he hugs her tight. The ones of him calling her sweetie after a long time apart.

“it’s the ending that keeps me in my chair.” By Julia in her bed

Thursday January 18, 2018
5 minutes
Sue Goyette

Guess I want to know what you’ll look like when you’re eighty. What you’ll smell like. Where your smile will point. I want to know if your vocal chords will turn grey. If you’ll wear a hat or not. If you’ll still kiss like a goddamn unicorn. If you’ll still whisper nonsense into my ear to see if I’ll laugh. If you’ll still sneak white cheddar popcorn topping into our turkey pasta. If you’ll rub my feet for no reason. If you’ll tell your phone to tell me you love me so I get it in writing and in the third person the way I always secretly liked. It’s the happy, the ending, that keeps me glued to your station. It’s the last days that make we want to stick around and see what happens.

“The woods are filling up with snow.” By Julia on the 9

Wednesday January 17, 2018
5 minutes
James Pollock

Let me paint you a picture. Imagine pulling into the driveway and seeing fresh deer tracks in the snow. It’s magical. Isn’t it magical? It’s really magical. I’ve always thought that. Deers are the most magical creatures in the world. They are gentle and they are graceful and they are majestic and they are soft. Deers are so soft and magical it makes me cry. One magic moment I had with a deer, and this was three years ago, was when I was pulling into the driveway at the cottage and I noticed there were fresh deer tracks in the snow and I thought well isn’t this magical? To what do I owe this magic? Am i-Is this Narnia? Is this a Taylor swift music video? Is this pure, unadulterated magic with a spoonful of luck? Let me ask you something-you ever feel like the snow falling lightly and landing on your eyelashes is a kiss from heaven? That’s magic too! That’s the most magical magic there is.

“the amniotic brine of tears” by Julia on the 99

Tuesday January 16, 2018


5 minutes

Memo to a Self

Steven Heighton

I called my mother today and yelled and cried at her while she was helping me. I yelled emotions, not anger. Or maybe frustration and fear and annoyance. And she didn’t get mad. She was kind. She knows when I yell I’m not mad at her but feeling more than my body can handle. She knows that and says it’s okay, or I’m not taking it personally, or you can take out your anger on me. But I’m not angry. And I shouldn’t be yelling. But I am yelling and so I yell that I’m not mad. Or I yell that I love her. Or I yell that I’m afraid of dying before I get to see her again. When I yell my mother rolls a batch of date and walnut cookies. She puts me on speaker phone and forgets to tell me that my dad is in the other room with his leg up cause he can’t straighten his knee. That’s when I feel bad about the yelling. As if my dad, unexpectedly home from work, can hear how ridiculous I’m being and might think I’m an asshole. As if had I known that someone else was in the house I would have put on more of a front. That’s just as ridiculous. I don’t yell at my dad because my dad doesn’t know that I have fears of dying before I see him next.

“It’s the nicest gift anyone’s given me” by Julia on her couch

Monday January 15, 2018
5 minutes
Madeline Sonik

I still remember it even though I don’t really like to remember her.

I didn’t get into chamber choir when I was in the eleventh grade. I couldn’t read music but I could sing by ear. I was good. But I wasn’t good enough when it came to clapping out the bars. I had never felt more alone. Mrs. C had a look of pity on her face. I was sure I would never sing again. The next day K brought me a hand-bound booklet of music-reading printouts from the internet. She told me not to quit. I was moved beyond words. My friend believed in me even when I thought it was impossible to prove myself. The day after that I got the courage up to go and talk to Mrs. C and tell her that I would work hard and that even if I couldn’t read music, I belonged in the choir. She relented and let me in. I don’t remember now who gave me the idea to plead my case, but I will not forget that music booklet: the holes gathered by the cutest little sewing thread. When I think of her in my life I try and remember that version of her. I try not to let that part get swept away with the others.

“It never rains but it pours;” by Sasha at Lewis St.

Sunday January 14, 2018
5 minutes
Rhona McAdam

It’s hot as balls back here and Dylan keeps throwing prawn bits at me. Fuck off, I say, but he doesn’t.

When I first started here I was at the cold station, but now I’m at the fryer.

Chef said we’ve got some VIPs coming in tonight, but none of us ever want to know who.

We did three hundred and nine covers last night which might not sound like a lot but if you saw the size of our dining room, you’d get it.

Turns out the VIPs are a hockey player and his family, some old guy who doesn’t play anymore but is on the Sports Network now. I couldn’t give a fuck about hockey but I know more than to open my mouth in this kitchen. Dylan played AAA before having one too many concussions. He stares at the guy all night, grinding his teeth, flipping steaks on the grill.

“It never rains but it pours;” by Julia in her bed

Sunday January 14, 2018
5 minutes
Rhona McAdam

Even the sunny days get fogged out. You think you won’t be able to see the water but you can if you get close enough. You can let yourself go even if your first tongue tells you there is no point. It will help if you can remember how you thanked yesterday’s sky for being so pink. How you smiled up at the setting sun and let joy in. How you walked through a purple path of damp earth and felt alive from every tingling limb. How you felt loved. How you thought of your mother coming to Canada for the first time. How she was taught this same beautiful word in the form of a new friend’s dress. How she’ll never forget how perfect purple is and how you won’t now either. Yes, there are moments of blame. And then some following of disappointment. But they are small. And they don’t have to be the day.

“Does it not sound like shouting to them?” By Julia on her couch

Saturday January 13, 2018
5 minutes
The Sisters Brothers
Patrick DeWitt

There’s a couple down the hall-or there was a couple down the hall-who screams and screams and yells and yells and fights and fights and etcetera and etcetera. I say was because we haven’t heard fighting in a while and the more logical assumption is that they’ve moved out. I mean it’s sad that a couple has moved out of our building and we didn’t realize it until we noticed the quiet. Other people are living there now and we didn’t know that either. I say it was more logical that they moved out than that they stopped fighting because they used to fight so bad it didn’t seem like the kind of thing that would ever end. Even alone they fought, which is weird, but maybe it was on the phone so maybe not so weird. Anyway I’m certain that the whole building heard it because we heard it through the walls and over the Brahms. Over our own fights, which we were glad to realize weren’t as bad as theirs. I only know them by their loud. I wouldn’t be able to pick them out of a line up.