“telling about the poem” by Sasha at Bump n’ Grind on Granville

Friday October 27, 2017
4:35pm at Bump n’ Grind
5 minutes
I Was Reading A Poem
David Rutschman

It’s telling when all the poems are about a broken heart
She isn’t knitting any more scarves or sweater for penguins
She isn’t going to miss another opportunity to floss her teeth
Flow chart after flow chart about empathy screenshotted on her iPhone
Isn’t getting her anywhere but deeper down

Irma wishes there was never an earthquake named after her
Makes her feel dry and hot and afraid

Her sister asks if she’s still writing and she says
“Not really”
“That’s non-committal” says her sister and
Irma knows that she’s right but she “Humph’s” and
Returns to her needle-point

“There’s a real market for the ironic stuff on Instagram”
Says Irma
Her sister isn’t listening

“Protect the blood from attack” by Julia on the 72 bus in Victoria

Thursday October 5, 2017
10:19am
5 minutes
Chinese Tonic Herbs
Ron Teeguarden

My blood is you and I will never not know this. You are my heart beat, pulsing, thriving, keeping me alive. I am yours. I am always yours. The only gift in this life that I can take with me is being carried into this world by the same love as you. In the same room. With the same light.

When the hail comes, I will know it by the stretch of my skin over yours. You will know it by the warmth of protection that comes without doubt. You are my blood and your blood is me. The only true thing that I love. The only pure thing that I know. You have always known me and I will always find lift because of it. How blue the sky tastes when the eyes are river reflecting. You will know it by the thud in my chest.

“Vampire bats also appear” by Julia on the 84

Tuesday October 3, 2017
6:52pm
5 minutes
Dust
Charles Pellegrino

Kinney and I are taking her boys trick or treating tomorrow night. They refused to go with Chet and I don’t blame them. He looks like Beetle Juice to me too. K thinks we should dress up as vampires or something. She doesn’t want to go as Mom for Halloween when she goes as Mom for everyday. I’ll wear your clothes and go as you, I tell her. I don’t want to be a bat. Fine, she says her eyes dead in thought, you give me your fishnets and I’ll go as you. I don’t wear those anymore, I say, but Kinney doesn’t care. She’s dreaming up a costume that has less to do with me and more to do with her enacting some fantasy of me. In her mind I’m the fun one. In her mind that means wearing fishnets. I don’t want to burst her bubble.

“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.

“my flight leaves for Edmonton” by Julia at Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre


Thursday June 8, 2017
9:17pm
5 minutes
overheard at Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre

“Did you pack her neck pillow, Dana? You know Mom can’t travel without it.”
“I packed it, Leigh, you can officially back off now.”
“I’m telling you she won’t even set foot on the plane if she doesn’t have it.”
“What did I just say? I’ve already got it. You left very detailed instructions. Very detailed.”
“She hasn’t left the house since Dad got sick, much less the province.”
“I know that, I will make sure she is as comfortable and distracted as possible.”
“You’re not going to slip her any of your little…pills…are you?”
“What makes you think I’m still taking those little pills?”
“Dana.”
“I’M NOT TAKING THEM ANYMORE! Why does nobody trust me around here? I can’t escort mom to fucking Edmonton, now?”
“Well maybe because you like to make things about you.”
“You are such a little cunt, Leighanne.”

“and they’ll break your heart” by Julia at her desk


Sunday May 21, 2017
6:14pm
5 minutes
trueactivist.com

My sister gave birth to a beautiful baby a week ago. It is the happiest my entire family has ever been, and I’m including the time my mom caved and let us get KFC the day we moved into our new house. My sister called her Cleo and all of us can swear we’ve never known love until her. Harper’s doing great. She has a glow. She looks as calm as if she’d been a mother her whole life. It doesn’t look as hard as I thought it would be, of course Harper has always been good at figuring things out. Cleo latched right away and seeing my baby sister stroke her daughter’s cheek as they bond there in the rocking chair–it’s all I need to see to send me into a fit of emotion. I am overcome by how beautiful it all is. Even Danya is in awe, and we never thought she’d step foot in our parents’ house since she tried to burn it down in 1994.

“it won’t matter what house I move into” by Sasha on her couch


Friday May 12, 2017
9:51pm
5 minutes
Love Warrior
Glennon Doyle Melton


Gramma takes us in after the house burns down. We move into her attic, me and Kate and Selma. Ma and Freddie McFly go to the Spencers’. Selma says that they might be swingers, but Kate and I say, “please don’t make us picture that.” Gramma never recovered after Gramps died. She doesn’t smile, or laugh, or do the crossword puzzles. She makes us toast with raspberry jam in a little bowl. No butter in sight. “We can just use jam from the jar, Gram,” says Kate. Gramma scowls. Sometimes, at night, when all the lights are out and we are three in a row in the king bed, we hear her whistling the Canadian anthem.

“What is rooted” by Sasha on her couch


Tuesday May 9, 2017
9:40pm
5 minutes
Tao Te Ching
Translated by Stephen Mitchell


“Stop calling me that!”

“What… Tuna?!”

“Nooooo!”

“Tuna tuna tuna tuna tu-na-na-na-na-na!”

“I do not smell like fish I do not!”

“Um, it’s a human thing that if you’re exposed to a smell for long enough you just start to get used to it… It’s natural.”

“Girls?!” Mom calls from the landing. “What are you doing up there?”

“Mini says that I smell like fish!”

“Min, leave her alone, okay? Go do something useful like putting away the clothes on the floor of your room.”

Mini leaves Isabelle with a glare, holding her nose as she trots away.

“There were times when nothing played back.” by Julia at the VPL


Wednesday April 25, 2017
6:13pm
5 minutes
What It Is
Lynda Barry


My sister and I used to make up songs about jello and school and Days Of Our Lives. We’d improvise them with our neighbour and choose funny nicknames and put on terrible accents. I still remember my big one. I am proud of the word play. I am proud that at 9 I was already writing songs.
wiggily jiggily wiggily jiggily wiggily jiggily wiggily jiggily
Jello can be very jiggily
jello can be very wiggily
jello can be very very cool
jello can be all sorts of flavours
jello can be all sorts of colours
Ooooooooh–
(here’s where I bopped my sister on the head and told her not to take a solo because this was MY song.)
Strawberry, cherry
lemon, or lime,
jello can be very fruity
or even the pudding kind
wighily jiggily wiggily jiggily

(I didnt say the songs I was writing were good.)

“their grass-stained skin” by Sasha in the Kiva


Wednesday December 21, 2016
11:36pm
5 minutes
So Full Of Light
Marie Specht Fisher


We thought we were sisters until we were
too old to take baths together and we started
hissing and picking the knobs off
backs instead Sometimes you’d paint my nails
a colour that I would never choose
Lavender or indigo or charcoal
I’d refuse to wash dishes those weeks
or bathe because I didn’t want the you
on me to chip I didn’t want the choices
you’d made to fall away from my fleshy form

We rubbed grass-stained skin together and
started a fire that our fathers and their
fathers fathers couldn’t put out

“I had a big fight with him” by Julia on her couch


Monday December 5, 2016
12:02am
5 minutes
from an interview transcription

According to my research of you- that I did on the interwebs, you will not be a suitable match for my sister and you will not make her happy even though you look the part and she will deny just how unhappy she is until it is too late. That is why she is not to be trusted in deciding on her own. She saw you and immediately wanted you but failed to do a basic Google search, and I’m sorry but it’s 2016 and this is protocol. This is everyday, okay? Get up, wash face, check e-mails, research potential companions for my sister, conduct a basic Google search to rule out that he is not a) an attempted murderer, b) a stalker, c) an actual murderer, and d) a dentist. I call the shots and you do not pass the test. You are still more in contact with your ex than she is with you and you have claimed, even if it was a joke or even if it did happen during your ignorant youth, that you would choose AJ over Bryan and that shit simply will not fly in my family.

“The worst kept secret” by Julia on her couch


Sunday August 21, 2016
10:26pm
5 minutes
lifehacker.com

Somebody told me once that discharge was called sperm. Okay it was my sister. We used to fight a lot. She was older. I wanted to do everything she did. I believed everything she told me. I was so confident in her that I never questioned a single thing she said. I admired her. Now we’re older and she tells me when things I believe about myself are just stories. She tells me when she hears me choosing not to love myself. I believe her. I know she doesn’t say things now to break me down. When we were young, she wanted to tease me. But maybe to see how much I could take. How much I would hear before I pushed back. It’s trusting someone outside yourself. She knows everything I’ve never told anyone else. She will always be the keeper of my secrets. She keeps the ones I like next to the ones I never will. She keeps them for me, but she forgets they’re there. She doesn’t see me through eyes of things I wish I didn’t do. She does not love on condition.

“an unexpected family thing” by Julia on her bed


Monday, July 25, 2016
8:13am
5 minutes
From a text

Annie calls me from the other room to see if I’m awake. I am. But I ignore the ring. Letting it finish its tune before I toss in bed some more to make it seem like I’m still asleep. Annie hasn’t been sleeping well on the couch, even though she says she has been. She makes sad squealing noises throughout the night but doesn’t remember doing it. I know she isn’t well but I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do. I told Jeremiah about it and he told me he needed at least eight hours sleep to get through his day and if he could sleep on the couch, he would. I told Jeremiah I would sleep on the couch if he would let my sister sleep on my side with him in the bed. He looked at me like I had just swallowed too many blue pills. He shook his head slowly from side to side and said, I don’t know, Lisa, I don’t know.
For the first time I wonder if Jeremiah is attracted to Annie. Or if he is trying to assert his power.

“Spiritual teachers” by Julia on her bed


Sunday, July 17, 2016
11:06am
5 minutes
Women Food And God
Geneen Roth


I called my spiritual teacher, Helia, because I was in a state of emergency. I couldn’t find anything to wear and I couldn’t tell if it was my inner child reacting to my adult life, or if it was sign from the universe telling me I had to listen inward, or take a risk, or write down my dreams in the journal marked “For Dreams”. Helia was on vacation in the Okanagan. She had posted a photo from Peachland so I knew she was alive, but why wasn’t she responding to my very desperate attempts at contacting her? It’s not like this was a run of the mill anxiety attack or some realization that I cannot do this alone. I already know that I can’t, and that’s what I pay a spiritual healer for. Healia said to never hesitate to reach out. She failed to mention that I should just never be in crisis during the last weeks of July and first weeks of August. So I called my sister instead and she invited me over for homemade brownies and lemonade. She said she would try to massage my left shoulder knot out and maybe I just needed some TLC from someone who used to share a room with me.

“We have a Christmas cake box?!” by Julia at Starbucks


Monday June 20, 2016 at Starbucks
7:30am
5 minutes
overheard at Starbucks

Isabel calls me from the front lawn. I can see her pacing back in forth in front of my house from the kitchen window. I watch her kick a chestnut around, her feet shuffling on what appears to be a tightrope made of dandelions. I’m not coming anymore, she says, okay? I really can’t do it this time. She doesn’t know I am watching her. My curtains are drawn just enough. Is everything okay, Iz? What’s going on? I watch my sister kick the chestnut out of reach. She would have to leave her sacred shuffling space to go get it. She stands there frozen, staring at it. Oh, yeah, I’m good! I’m great! I think my stomach is acting up. Had chocolate again last night. I couldn’t find the right wrapping paper so maybe it’s all for the best anyway.
Isabel, I tell her, I have Christmas boxes here. Do you want to use one of mine?

“the games you don’t play” by Julia at Starbucks


Friday June 17, 2016 at Starbucks
7:51am
5 minutes
What You Don’t Do
Lianne La Havas


Millie’s coming! Millie’s coming! That’s me yelling from the centre of my happiness–shouting out that my HEART is visiting me in this god forsaken shit-hole of a town! MILLIE IS COMING EVERYBODY SHE IS GOING TO BE HERE IN T-MINUS 1 HOUR CAN SOMEBODY PLEASE BUY THE CAKE AND THE SPARKLERS CAUSE I WILL BE TOO BUSY SCREAMING MY HEAD OFF AND MAKING A KILLER GUACAMOLE THANK YOU. When I told her I didn’t want her to come, that no she shouldn’t take off work, that please don’t worry about me, I’m very much fine just going INSANE, she refused to take no for an answer. Lydia, she’d say, Lydia, Lydia, why wouldn’t I want to come see my favourite sister in her most loathed living location to date? And I’d say, A) I’m your only sister and B) I chose this place, it’s not like they’re forcing me to stay. Millie always says something subtly sisterly like I’ve always wanted to visit Saskatoon! Or just put the two of us in a room and we will seriously run that town!

“not released until all” by Julia at Moksha Yoga Vancouver


Sunday June 5, 2016 at Moksha Yoga Vancouver
8:47pm
5 minutes
from the online grading centre

Mary-Beth had big dark circles under her eyes from being up for the last 72 hours without so much as a nap. She had been working the case straight through life as if that would distract her from the fact that her life at the moment, was in shambles. When Leah called her from their mother’s house to tell her that she was worried, Mary-Beth put her on speaker phone so she could keep her hands free to manipulate the evidence board. The call went something like:
Ring Ring
“Hello?”
“I don’t think she’s going to make it till Friday, M, you have to come now.”
“Oh that’ll be nice, let’s take her to the beach one last time.”
“Mary-Beth.”
“I’ll set it up.”
Click

“Anytime, night or day” by Julia at her dining table


Saturday May 28, 2016
10:33pm
5 minutes
All I Have To Do Is Dream
The Everly Brothers


Call me mouth filled with peach cobbler
I’ll come running
Call me curlers in, kettle on the stove screaming
I’ll be there
Call me moments before sleep
Or moments right after
Call me as my dreams play on
As my body drifts off to stillness
And I’ll throw on a pair of jeans and show up
Call me when you’re high
Call me when you’re low
When you know you’re wrong
When you need someone to tell you you’re right
When you want to laugh
When you need to cry
When you don’t have a reason at all
I’ll drop what I’m doing to make time
Call me when it’s my fault
Call me when it’s yours
Call me to tell me your crazy dream
Your biggest fear
Your funniest joke
Your most embarrassing moment
Your favourite recipe
Your new discoveries
Your life hacks
Your revelations
Your promises to me
Your promises to yourself
And I’ll come running
I’ll find a way to meet you
Because I know
Without a doubt
You would do the same for me

“Ready to rock?” by Julia at Poppy Salon


Friday May 27, 2016 at Poppy Salon
4:01pm
5 minutes
People Magazine
March 2016


Maggie tells me she doesn’t have time to pick me up from the dentist because she’s too busy cutting the sleeves off of her Van Halen t-shirt and to call someone else, like Mom, or Aunt Isabel. The thing is, Maggie already said she would pick me up and I’m supposed to be having a major mouth surgery that they specifically won’t perform on you if you can’t ensure that someone will be there to drive your drugged ass home. I call Maggie back and this time she answers with one of her character voices.
“Bonjour?”
“Maggie, don’t hang up, it’s me. I need you to put your fucking craft shears down and come get me after this appointment or they won’t let me do it. You can cut your shirt in the car. Or just be here for 3:30 and do it anytime else. Please.”
I can hear Maggie’s eyes rolling back in her head as she decides right then and there to either be a good person for once, or the dick that she usually is.

“We were two ships in the night” by Julia at her “New York”


Wednesday April 20, 2016
11:23pm
5 minutes
Capsized
You+Me


Arden: Elliot, where did you get that ring?

Elliot: Why, you like??

Arden: Yeah, I like it a lot. It looks expensive.

Elliot: What does that mean?

Arden: Means it doesn’t look like something you’d buy.

Elliot: What the fuck?

Arden: I don’t mean it like an insult, I’m just saying.

Elliot: Well why don’t you stop speaking in fucking puzzles? What are you getting at?

Arden: Woah, pump the breaks, I’m just saying I like your ring and I didn’t expect you to have something like that. Because you don’t have a job. And I don’t think you’re dating someone? I don’t know, Elliot, fuck, just forget it.

Elliot: You’re jealous.

Arden: No–

Elliot: You are. I fucking knew it. You can’t accept that I might have one thing that you don’t have.

Arden: That’s not true.

Elliot: No? Then I guess you won’t care if I tell you that Nanna gave me this ring.

Arden: What?

Elliot: Yeah. She wanted me to have it. She gave it to me before she died.

Arden: Why the fuck did she give it you?

“I do not lie to you.” by Julia on her bed


Tuesday April 12, 2016
9:51pm
5 minutes
from a text

When you ask me for the truth I gladly give it. Not to everyone, but to you, I don’t how not to. I remember sitting with you in a dusty bar a year and a half after first meeting you and feeling like that was the first time I actually got to know you. You said some profound shit and you were as lucid as I’d seen you. I preferred you like that. I wonder if you noticed me opening to you too. If you noticed me sharing more secrets or more weaknesses or more dreams laced in marijuana and vulnerability. We are close now like a weird combination of two unlikely flavours that you avoid combining at first because the idea puts you off, but that no longer surprises you once they’ve been mixed together and tasted and enjoyed.

So now. We’re both here: you in love with someone who loves you even more than you love him, and me in love with someone who loves me for reasons I will never comprehend, and we still have each other when we’re dying or when we’re thriving. You ask me if you think you deserve to be happy. I say yes. You ask me if you made mistakes. I say yes. You ask me if I’m happy. I say yes. You ask me if when the world ends, can we hold hands in a tulip garden. I say yes.

“Night night” by Sasha on her couch


Thursday, April 7, 2016
11:21pm
5 minutes
From a text

Hey. Can you talk? Ugh. I just hung out with Brian and it was… I don’t know – it’s just like, I like him, you know? I liked him. But then he just… I’m not gonna lie, I was thinking about him too, like, I was excited to hang out again, I had a good time the other night but… He’s weird, man… I don’t know…

Jen? What are you doing? Are you in the bathroom? No, no, it’s fine.

But, like, after what happened last time, when he ghosted, when he… I think he might be a closet player. You know those guys who just – yeah – who, like…

Did the toilet just flush again? Are you sick?

Maybe he’s one of those guys who pretends to be the caring, sensitive, easy-going, kinda, like gentle type but really he’s this weird, awkward, asshole player?

Shit, it’s the other line…

I’m gonna let you go. Night night.

Won’t you please please help me” by Sasha at Platform 7


Thursday, March 31, 2016 at Platform 7
3:47pm
5 minutes
From the Beatles song


Freddie is practically begging for my help, so I’m all, okay, okay, I’ll do it, I’ll do it. Moving sucks. I get it. Problem is, Freddie’s moved seven times in the last three years. Not even exaggerating! No wonder the guy doesn’t have any friends! But like, I feel bad for him, I really do. And it’s not just that we both only have sisters and so we have that, like, bond that dudes with sisters have… I feel bad that he’s been dealt a shitty ass hand. In more ways than one! He’s had roaches and rats and mites and maggots. He’s had bedbugs, man. That shit scares people really bad.

“Professional photography” by Julia at her dining table


Sunday, March 27, 2016
9:13pm
5 minutes
from a flyer

Abigail got my parents a professional photo session for their anniversary. I told her not to waste her money on something like that cause it would be more of a gift for her and not them. She told me that everybody likes having nice photos of themselves and that was literally the end of that. Abi can be so stubborn sometimes. She once hired a clown to entertain at her own kid’s birthday even though he’s scared to death of clowns and spent the whole afternoon crying in the bathtub. She doesn’t want to listen, she just wants to do what ever she thinks will be best. I have stopped questioning if she ever thinks past herself and considers putting somebody before her. I know the answer. She doesn’t. My parents did the photo shoot to appease her because her temper is as unpredictably violent as you can imagine, and they are the most awkward and cringe worthy photos you’ve ever seen, let alone that my parents have ever been in. I want to take her into a sound proof room sometimes and shake the living shit out of her while just screaming NO to her over and over.

“WIN $5000” by Julia at Platform 7 Coffee Brew Bar


Thursday, March 24, 2016 at Platform 7
2:36pm
5 minutes
from a nofrills receipt

Leda sends me a photo of her vagina and asks if I have the same rose-looking ‘thing’ on mine.

I send her back an image of a desert and tell her there are no flowers blooming here. You don’t use it you lose it. Pft. Everything turns to dust.

She texts back a hands up emoji, praising my perfect timing and accurate representation of whatever my sorry situation is right now.

I text her asking why she’s asking about her rose-thingy and use many ellipses to demonstrate that I have been left hanging and my curiosity is in fact sparked.

She texts back a photo of our matching tattoos and says she wanted to know if she should be worried or if we were fine.

I text Leda saying that I’ll get back to her but if it doesn’t hurt, it’s probably fine?

She texts back asking for a picture of my vagina to confirm that our genes are fine.

I text back a photo of Audrey II from Little Shop of Horrors.

“Cookie duty” by Julia on her brother’s old bed


Wednesday, January 6, 2016
1:35am
5 minutes
Overheard at Platform Seven

Marta was busy teaching herself Spanish on her new audio learning app. She had her headphones in at all hours of the day and out of nowhere she’d blurt out a “Donde esta el banio?” or a “buenas noches!” even if she was in the middle of a conversation or an activity that did not require Spanish. Marta’s little sister, Leah, had asked her to help her make cookies for her bake sale and Marta told her “me gustaria help you”. Marta pictured herself making cookies for Ambrosio, the ridiculously hot life guard at the community pool who was the reason for her Spanish lessons in the first place.

“Bowl of acceptance” by Julia in the guest suite


Thursday, December 31, 2015
5:31am
5 minutes
Overheard in the Living Room

Honouring our mother we stare deep into our blood with a little wink and a hug saying “we can only go forward now.” Your heart rests just above mine like it was designed to. You came first, you reached up to the sky where you saw endless possibilities and I reached up to you because I believed you were as high as I needed to go. Now we lead each other, honouring our mother, giving her the gift we refused to when we were young.
“Please don’t fight.” “Why can’t you two be kind to each other?” “Tell me, do you treat your friends this way?”
We didn’t know it at the time that we weren’t treating each other like anything but ourselves and we both had a lot of figuring out to do. We threw self-blame and self-hate and self-wondering because we were each other’s mirror and we saw ourselves reflected back through shades of green in a way we couldn’t understand.
I let your heart shift around on mine to find its spot. I keep you there like a stamp of time and a promise of forever.

“best learning environment” by Julia on her couch


Monday November 2, 2015
5:21pm
5 minutes
from the post for an English tutor

Ok, hi, can I ask you a favour? My sister, Mandy is in desperate need of assistance and I do not know if I alone can assist her. Maybe if I explain to you her issues, you’ll be able to better asses if you, in fact, can lend your help, or if you my know someone who is better equipped to deal with the inner workings of a twelve year old than you or I both are.
Ok, so, realistically speaking, she is unable to remember daily routine information. She does not know the names of her teachers, or if she has been using the blue toothbrush or the yellow one, even though all our lives we have had our very specific colours. She no longer enjoys watching reruns of Punky Brewster, which was her ever-living favourite television program of all time.
She also refuses to practice her times tables or eat ricotta cheese!

“Canada’s Indigenous communities” by Sasha at Benny’s


Tuesday, October 20, 2015 at Benny’s
2:21pm
5 minutes
An email from The David Suzuki Foundation

I watch as they search and I’m full and empty and nothing and everything
I help them I try to help them
Feeble attempt at solidarity
Until the sun sets and breath is visible
Until icicles form inside my ears
“Let’s call it a day,” Bruce says
and I’m grateful
“No.”
Jenny glares at me
at her father
“We have flashlights, we have tea…
What if she’s out here, freezing to death?”
Bruce goes home and I stay
Jenny and me
I’m half her size and my heart beats in my ears
the whole time
“She’s not dead,” Jenny says
offering me the thermos
“I know it.”
I nod
I drink deep
Cedar and something I’ve never smelt or tasted
“She’s somewhere.”
My sister
At home in Edmonton
Putting her daughter to sleep
Saying prayers about monsters
Kissing her nose

“entirely free of the curse” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Tuesday, September 29, 2015
10:19pm
5 minutes
a Wikipedia page

Kit doesn’t believe in fate. She shakes her head when her older sister Betty talks about this and that. They live in adjoining townhouses and have breakfast and dinner together. They trade off who prepares what. This morning Betty appears at Kit’s front door with a jug of freshly squeezed orange juice and a scowl that would scare a priest.

“Oh Kitty, I swear to you that dog is cursed!”

She pushes past her sister and kicks off her rubber boots.

“He howled all night long. Did you hear him?” Betty picks a blueberry off her bowl of oatmeal.

“Of course I heard him!” Kit eyes the clock.

“putting on sweat pants and sunglasses” by Julia on her couch


Saturday September 26, 2015
10:40pm
5 minutes
a tweet

Harley is sick again. She tells us this. She sips her “fluids”. That’s what she calls them, her “fluids” when they’re clearly as simple as chamomile tea or apple cider vinegar and honey. Harley is always sick and I stopped believing it was true about a year ago. She shows up to our meetings with sweat pants and sunglasses on, drinking her “fluids” and she doesn’t talk above a whisper.
“Why didn’t you just stay at home in bed if you’re not feeling well?”
“I don’t want to let you guys down.”
“Well you’re hurting us more than helping us. You could spread the germs.”
“I think the contagious part is over, I think I’ve tackled that part on my own already.”
“Okay, so should we get started? Harley, let’s see your notes for the–”
Harley is sick again. She tells us this. She sips her “fluids” and gives excuses for not completing her work. I don’t know why we keep her in the group. Maybe because we see that she needs us more than we need her. Maybe because she’s my baby sister and I have to make sure she doesn’t fall off the face of the planet.

“grabbed by the notion” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Tuesday, July 21, 2015
12:10pm
5 minutes
From a letter to a celebrity

I love the expansive sky across the back
Shoulder to shoulder
I love the gentle down coat
The hand that fits on waist and hip and bum cheek
Men though
Man though
A man can’t be a sister like a woman
Obvious
Perhaps
But sometimes I forget
When I look across the table and see a gaze that doesn’t understand
Humans are humans
Gender is
I don’t know
I reach out my finger and you touch it with yours
This is our understanding
A quiet moment
Your back to me
Expansive sky
My eyes searching for clouds
In bed
Your chest is my pillow
Legs and arms intwined
Enough

“grabbed by the notion” by Julia on the 505 going West


Tuesday, July 21, 2015
11:28pm
5 minutes
from a letter to a celebrity

I’m on the ocean
The waves are healing me
I’m looking deep
In the cave in my chest
I’m on the ocean
The water is curing me
I’m holding tight
To the magic underneath

I remember these words better than I remember my own address. They’ve been sung into my soul so many times that they’re practically mine, top to bottom. Grandma used to sing it to me before bed. She dreamed of the ocean, and taking me there to live with her. When Aunt Christina passed away, Grandma said she knew a place where I wouldn’t feel any pain. She asked Mom if I could go but Mom said, You’re not leaving me too, not now, not ever. And Grandma tried so long to get me there. I didn’t know how much Mom hated to be alone.

“wrote a long great piece” by Julia on her bed


Friday, July 17, 2015
2:47am
5 minutes
A tweet by Sheila Heti

Dear Edith,

Your last letter was hard to read and yet I find myself rereading it every day; sometimes twice. I didn’t know there were so many things you found unpleasing about me. After all this correspondence, I suppose two people can fight just as they would if they saw each other face to face as often. I am understanding of our closeness and though I’d like to believe our relationship is immune to the casualties of constant interaction, I see now that it is not special or unique at all. Part of me likes that it is not because it takes some of the pressures of perfection away. I know now that if you can hurt me, I can hurt you, and that doesn’t make us love each other any less. What I struggle with is the fear that you have felt this way for some time and my once beloved qualities have now added up to an amount that is undesirable to you. Please, Edith, if you would, respond in honesty: Have I been bothering you for long? Or have you just recently noticed my flaws? I wonder this for if it’s the latter then I have to ask: Is everything in the right place with you? Sometimes, my dear Edith, we see ourselves in others…

“from bridges to clouds” by Julia on Amanda’s patio


Monday, June 22, 2015
8:16am
5 minutes
theawesomedaily.com

My sister, Monica, loved a book when we were growing up: Bridge to Terabithia. I never read it but I didn’t have to cause my sister told me all about it 2 billion times and it was somehow my favourite book too. I would have favoured anything that already had my older sister’s stamp of approval. She knew good books. I trusted her. Monica also knew how to french kiss and told me to practice on the crook of my elbow. She said that space there felt the most like a mouth that I could get. She was right about that too. She was very wise and so I waited for her opinions before I gave mine. When I told Monica that I wanted to shave my head like her, she told me I should wait until the full moon to decide cause in that moment I wasn’t making the decision for me.

“shouting and laughing and throwing dirt” by Sasha on her porch


Thursday February 26, 2015
4:46pm
5 minutes
My Immortal Promise
Jen Holling


shouting and laughing and throwing dirt
our clothes are the earth’s fingerprints
and our shoes are the bits of bulbs
the new life will come soon
we can feel it between our toes
we make mud pies and sell them to each other
for three butterfly kisses
two sets of sisters
we were born to be here
naked as the days we were born
nothing of it
only bodies and unselfconscious beauty
only girls
drinking from the spout at the side of the house
puppies
painting our faces with beet greens
drawing stories on our backs with dandelion

“Ann hasn’t spoken to anyone for a month” by Julia on the overground


Sunday December 28, 2014
4:29pm
5 minutes
rom an AgeUK overground ad /em>


Oh it’s not personal, Lizzie, she doesn’t talk to anyone anymore. She’s always been a quiet girl and that’s nothing against you, okay? You’ve got to get good at not taking her behaviour as an attack on you. She doesn’t even realize it upsets you so she’s not doing it on purpose. Before was different, I’m aware of that. She would give you more room to play and joke and she wouldn’t push you away. But sometimes these things happen. You know what you could do? You could write her a nice letter. Tell her all the things you want and then just let her read it on her own time. That way if she wants to respond, she has your example letter right in front of her. It sort of gives her permission to communicate in a way that she probably hasn’t thought about.

“you can power through” by Julia on the tube heading west


Thursday December 11, 2014
6:21pm
5 minutes
from a Nurofen tube ad

Dear Hannah,
There are lights in the trees here. It’s so nice to be around a place that cares enough to put lights in their trees. Really makes you feel like you’ve found a spot worth staying. They assure you with their details. With their simple adjustment of the everyday. No snow yet! Got a bit lucky there. I know, I know, grow up, buy proper shoes. Boots! I know, I know. You would hate how cold it is without even having snow. My ratty sneaks will live to see another week!(or at least that’s what I’ve been praying for 😉 …sorry!)
I’m finally eating vegetables and drinking more water. The probiotics are helping but I still dream of salted caramel hot chocolate. Today I feel less alone than yesterday. Something in the air I guess. Trying to power through, like you said.
Talk soon?
Miss and love.

-B

“Our human lives seem to unravel” by Julia at Pigneto 41


Friday September 12, 2014 at Pigneto 41
1:22pm
5 minutes
from Thunder and Lightening by Natalie Goldberg

In any given moment Talia will be coming home. Talia likes butter on toast, then orange marmalade. When Talia’s dad isn’t looking, she sneaks the spicy nduja spread that he likes so much. She sticks her finger in the jar to lick it quickly in case he emerges from the TV room and sees her taking his favourite snack without asking. Talia will be coming home soon and she will tell us the news of Sofia–she will remind us of what we already know and that’s not to get our hopes up about her memory. Talia always tells us the same thing about Sofia but we wait for her the same, with bated breath and fingers crossed that today Sofia will remember something new. Talia isn’t even Talia to Sofia but she gets to see her because Sofia thinks she is her imaginary friend from childhood. Sofia called her Naya and used to say Naya was a trouble maker with a beautiful singing voice. Talia doesn’t sing at all but she hums to Sofia and Sofia believes. Talia hasn’t been the same since she started pretending to be Naya. But she does it so she can see her sister every day.

“mostly tiny sungrazing comets” by Sasha at her desk


Wednesday, July 16, 2014
11:48pm
5 minutes
from the Sun Wikipedia page


When we barbecue on the porch in the rain, it reminds me of being ten on the Island. My grandmother would send my sister and I bus tickets. They’d come the week before we were set to leave. There’d be handdrawn postcard with the three of us and her husky, Farley. She’d meet us at the ferry dock, raspberries and dark chocolate in her hands. She’d kiss us on the mouth and hold us at arms length to take in each of the changes. “Nadine, you’ve got an extra freckle on your cheek!” “Odessa, you’re one eighth of an inch taller!” Farley would lick our toes as we giggled and shook our heads. She’d leave her old station wagon on the other side, and when we piled into the back there’d always be a fresh beach towel and a peach for each of us. We’d drive, windows down, Bruce Cockburn on the tape deck, until we arrived at her cottage by the sea.

“we dare be brave” by Julia on her couch


Wednesday, July 2, 2014
10:36pm
5 minutes
Touched by an Angel
Maya Angelou


We dare to be brave
me writing this in front of you
me exposing my skin
me going in for a kiss when you might not kiss back
We dare
oh we’ve seen it
on subways
on bilboards
on front yards of your neighbours, your sisters, your dentist’s boss
we dare to
with passion
with ease
with openness
we dare to be brave
me letting you hear one of my songs
me laughing so hard while wearing the worst socks
me burning the chicken the second night in a row
we have to. we have to dare to dare.
that’s where the truly beautiful parts hide.
that’s where the honest, raw, and flawed thing lives.
We want her to feel safe. We want to let her out.

“1 Eastside” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Friday June 13, 2014
9:12am
5 minutes
The front of a bus in Sault St. Marie

Lucie’s been humming that song about going down to the river. We’re only in Sault St. Marie, so it doesn’t bode well. “Hey Luc!” I say, “Want some curly fries?” She doesn’t respond. When she found Simon, he was splayed out on the floor, his front paws facing up. “I don’t know how it happened,” she kept repeating, lifting his calico body onto a piece of wood from the backyard, that I’d dug up while she whispered into his ear that she loved him and she always would. I called our stepmother Cathy that night. “Simon died,” I whispered into the phone, “Lucie is losing it… She’s gone almost catatonic. I can’t even get her to eat cantaloupe!” Cathy said we should drive down to Saskatoon to see her and our Dad. “Take a road-trip,” she sing-songed. “It’ll get her mind off that cat and your mind off yourself…”

“Income tax services” by Julia at her kitchen table


Sunday May 25, 2014
12:16am
5 minutes
A sign on Queen St. West

HI, my name is HOLLY and I will be your PERSONAL ROBOT. I’m a robot I’m a GIRL ROBOT.
Just kidding. I hate robots. Like hate hate hate.
I just thought it would be a cute joke, you know, those kinds that you tell over the internet when someone e-mails you and begs for your help and you’re like, what am I a freaking computer? What is this, New Years?
That’s something my boyfriend says. What is this, New Years? I stole it, whatever. No big D.
Taryn asked me to help her do her taxes and I’ve been doing her taxes since 2009 and I’m pissed about it because it would cost her $50 freaking dollars to go to H & R Block but she’s my sister and she has a pouty face and insecurity issues and inferiority issues and self-esteem issues so I help her because I would really rather she didn’t use not knowing how to do her own taxes as a personal excuse to stop living.
Like not in a suicidal way—she’s not depressed. Not that I know of. Not that everyone who is depressed offs themselves, but like, you know what I’m saying. Whatever I’m tired, I’ve been sitting at this computer for far too long and all the words are crumbling or disappearing and I’m on my way to sleep land anyway.
I don’t know when Taryn’s going to finally just do herself a favour and open the internet to research how to do this. It’s not like she has to read a book or anything.

“Heavy duty” by Julia at the Marriott in Providence RI


Friday May 2, 2014
11:45pm
5 minutes
from the sponge wrapper

Papa used to get so mad at me when I’d track mud through the house–told me, Deirdre, could you for once stop playing like a little piggy? And I’d say, Papa, I’ll just take them off, it’s easier. He’d smile and say, Sure, sure, Dee Dee, and I’d smile back and say, You’ll miss me to the moon when I’m gone.
I didn’t quite know what that meant but I had heard Lucy-Bell say it to her boyfriend when they were having a big fight out on the veranda. She’d run in screaming just to scream and told me to stay out of her way or she’d yank every blonde hair out of my head one by one. I’d sit by the front window and watch her boyfriend, Dillon, with his hands in his jean pockets and his eyes closed, just sighing at the night and all its bigness. Probably at Lucy-Bell in all her bigness. I didn’t want Papa to think I wasn’t good at listening, I just always forgot to do what he told me cause I’d get so caught up in the fun of it all.

“Don’t make the same mistake twice” by Sasha on her couch


Friday April 18, 2014
11:21pm
5 minutes
Overheard on Queen St.

“Don’t make the same mistake twice, Shirley,” my sister, Emma, said, as she squeezed a slice of lemon onto her salmon. We sat in our parent’s backyard. We were both home for Easter, our stepmother Veronica’s favourite holiday. “I don’t plan to – ” I heard the Finn barking, our father pulling into the driveway. “If you move again, who is to say that the same things won’t happen?” Emma lined up the tiny bones along the edge of her plate. “”Wherever you go, there you are…”” It’s like she thought that suddenly she was wiser, now that she was a property owner and was even leasing-to-own a Jetta. Shit. “There are opportunities in Halifax,” I said, hearing our father baby-talk Finn in the kitchen. “Hey girls!” He called, “I’m going to take a shower and be right out to join you!” “Okay!” We called, at the same time.

“the good life” by Sasha in a taxi on the way home


Monday April 7, 2014
12:15am
5 minutes
from a GoodLife Fitness sign

The clock on the stove reads eleven fifty three. Marge wasn’t able to make the book club today because Bruce was in the hospital with pneumonia. That just left Irene and Nina. They’d never really liked one another, these two women, with greying hair and slender frames, but they respected their differences and were civil and friendly. “But we aren’t friends,” Irene told Brent, as she folded the laundry and he ironed his ties. See the three ladies of the Iroquois Falls Book Club, Marge, Irene and Nina, were married to the Morningstar boys – Bruce, Brent and Bobby. If they were going to be sisters, they might as well connect through the one thing all three of them truly loved – books. They took turns choosing which book they’d read each month – Marge gravitated towards quirky stories of redemption, Irene preferred non-fiction with a political bent and Irene was partial to historical fiction. They’d grumble through the first chapters of a book they thought they’d hate, but then, part-way through, each would realize they had something to learn from it they had something to learn from one another. They took turns hosting, although between May and September, the Book Club often ended up being at Irene and Brent’s place, as they had the nicest garden, buzzing with bumble bees and smelling of wild flowers and lavender. In the warm months, the three women would sit outside on the deck, shawls over their shoulders so they didn’t burn, sunglasses perched on their noses.

“MADE IN CANADA” by Sasha on her couch


Monday March 31, 2014
11:03pm
5 minutes
the hotel shampoo bottle

Before I knew it we were drinking champagne and taking off our pants. Shirts stayed on. We just weren’t there yet. You’d been given the champagne as a birthday present from Glen. “It’s nice,” I said, the bubbles going up my nose. You’re wearing undies with purple flowers, boy-short style. I’m wearing a thong, black, a bit stretched out, but I don’t feel weird. “I wish I had Dad’s ass…” You said, and what you really meant was mine, but I have his so… There you go. We laughed. “Don’t fart on the couch,” you said, and I rolled my eyes. “Let’s order pizza!” You were a bit tipsy, you hardly ever drank. “Pizza! It’s friggen Canada Day! Let’s get poutine!” You wrinkle your nose.

“Stacking wood” by Sasha on her bed


Sunday January 19, 2014
1:03am
5 minutes
Stacking Wood
Mimi Lipton and Thorston Duser


Charlie and I stack wood in the late summer. She’s in her cut off Nirvana shirt and wrap around sunglasses, with grey cargo shorts. I’m in a floral sundress. It’s how we do it, me and Charlie. When she built the Yurt she was still coming to the city on weekends, but not anymore. The noise makes her hands shake. The light, street-lamps and signs on a higher voltage than the moon, gives her bad dreams. I come a few times a year. I bring things she can’t get in the town of three hundred that’s twelve kilometres away. Like chia seeds and tahini and heirloom tomato seeds. We don’t talk a lot, she mostly gestures, and occasionally reads me a passage from whatever book she’s reading. It’s disorienting to think that we shared a womb.

“the bomb” by Julia on her couch


Thursday December 26, 2013
2:12am
5 minutes
from the cover of NOW

I wished you were coming with us Auntie Di! Please change your mind and stay with us for just a night!
Allie was begging her aunt with the best puppy dog eyes she could muster.
Pleasepleaseplease! I’ll be your best friend!!
I want to, Allie, I really do. But I can’t this time. It won’t be a good idea. Can you trust me when I say that, sweetie?
Dianne crouched down to look into Allie’s eyes. She stroked her hair and smiled reassuringly.
I trust you. But I want to know how come Auntie Di!
Dianne kept smiling even though he didn’t believe herself when she did it.
Baby, it’s complicated. Your mommy doesn’t want me to stay.
Allie furrowed her brow.
She’s mad at you? But I’m not mad at you!

“You’ll always be older than me” by Sasha on the Queen streetcar going West


Tuesday December 17, 2013
12:03am
5 minutes
From a birthday card

Dear Allison,
I want to be mad at you. I want it like SAT scores and peanut butter cups. But I’m… not. I look at you and I see our effing grandmother. I see the photograph of her wearing the red hat and black coat. Your face is shaped just like hers – like the moon. You’ll always be older than me. You’ll always have a birthday in January and I’ll always have a birthday in August. Aquarius and Leo. Those should be our names. Who needs “Allison”! Who needs “Suzie”! I want to be mad at you. You left me here with the depressed dog and our Father, who would rather be playing hockey than making me dinner. I hope University is really great. I do. I really do. I hope you’re kissing lots of attractive boys and that you’re wearing a great pair of boots. I hope that the food isn’t making you hefty. Joking. Joking. I love you, Al. I miss you. See you at Thanksgiving.