“in the plumed summers of Los Angeles” by Sasha on the couch

Wednesday June 10, 2020
5 minutes
_______ my loved blacknesses & some blackness I knew
Khadijah Queen

You sit across the table from the person you promised forever too
You remember that when you said it you felt your stomach turn
How could someone twenty five or otherwise know anything about
The hours of a whole long life?

You sit across the table and you look at the hands of the man who
Keeps saying “My client”
They are hands that have trim nails and hair on the knuckles
Hands that tie garbage bags and turn steering wheels and eat burgers

You love this man across from you the divide of oak table and sadness
Reaching across is what you want to do but you sit on your hands
Palms pressing into the tan leather of the chair
You don’t see the lips you spent days kissing in the beginning

You see lips that need water and redemption and a break
Cheeks concave under freshly shaven skin
You wish that you’d worn something beloved instead of this
New striped sweater

“white supremacy is disseminated” by Sasha at her coffee table

Thursday November 22, 2018
5 minutes
White Fragility
Robin DiAngelo

I want to know what to say
in the face of your ignorance
in the face of your pain
sat across from me at my
kitchen table.

I want to be able to make space
for your heartache and misinformation
but really I’m just haunted
by the way you see it
by your blindness to your privilege.

The conversation plays over and over
in my mind and I’m checking myself
my disconnections my rearview mirror
I’m wondering if I let myself down.

It’s not about being politically correct
It’s not about denying this kind of conversation
It’s about leaning in
Which I did not do because I was scared.

White supremacy
the tentacles reaching
backwards and forwards in time
“That’s not what this is about”
But it is yes oh yes.

“trying to teach them technology” By Julia in her cabin

Monday February 27, 2017
5 minutes
from a text

my sister turns 32 and the entire family eats
stuffed lobster tail and shrimp
they gather around the table and tell
each other some of the same stories
after hearing some temporary new ones
my siblings make my parents use cell-phones
I am the only one missing
I am the only one on an island
I am the only one in a different time zone
my mother calls me on my birthday 4 days earlier
proud that she finally got the day right
she doesn’t forget my birthday
she just doesn’t know which day it is anymore because
she isn’t forced to look at a calendar all day
she asks what I am planning and I say nothing really
then my father gets on the phone
he asks me what I’m planning and I say I’m going to the island
he asks me if it feels different being 30
when yesterday I was only 29
I tell him sort of because sort of but not more
because my eggs are getting cold
he sighs and says that at the end of the day
it’s all just soup anyway
I laugh because he is so Italian
but he has a point
he says the first bite tastes like soup
and the last bite still tastes like soup

“Mangiamo Italiano!” by Julia at Starbucks

Tuesday June 14, 2016 at Starbucks
5 minutes
The front page of the Westender

They are sitting around a long table, glass bottles filled with fresh spring water from the well down the road. They are drinking Limoncello before noon. They are cracking jokes in dialect, English, Italian, and a combination of all three. They are sprinkling extra Parmigiana on their pasta shuta, adding extra wine, cheaper than water, to their tiny cups. Some of them add sugar. Some of them fall asleep while drinking it…
They are pouring olive oil on everything, going up for seconds before there are none left, and passing the soft bread, still warm from the hands that broke it just seconds ago. They are telling the same stories that have been told for decades, still expecting the same laughs, the same response even though everyone there has heard them in rotation. They are quiet and trying not to eat as much, or quiet and trying to take it all in, or quiet because there is so much love and it speaks volumes in the moments where only faint chewing is audible.

“modern doughnuts” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Saturday December 21, 2013
5 minutes
From the Jelly doughnut store sign on College

There’ll be sushi
baked brie
figs and honey
you and me

I’m going to make you a spread like you’ve never seen before

I never thought I’d delight in setting a table
In finding an antique table cloth at the flea market
And stitching it where it was worn
In lighting the candles
And decanting the wine

I wish I’d been there when you were born
Maybe that sounds far out
I wish I’d been the one to catch you
To wash you
To see you first

“REDIRECTION” by Sasha at her desk

Monday November 25, 2013
5 minutes
The front of the bill from Rogers

I watch the fish sleep. I think about losing – teeth, love, mind, race, art. The fish swims to the back of his bowl. Losing respect, losing faith, losing generosity. My mother used to talk about how she would steal cigarettes from her family’s housekeeper. She was twelve. She’d smoke them out the window. Losing innocence. My friend has met a man that sparks her tips, lights her eyes. Losing loneliness. His mind keeps going back to running into that old friend in front of the bookstore on Bay Street, no matter how much he tells it to stay here, at the dinner table, with me. Losing perspective. The sun rises later, sets earlier. Losing light.

“Only need touchin’ up” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Friday, September 20, 2013
5 minutes
David Budbill

You’ve been tallying your wins and loses on the wall beside your side of the bed, with the pencil with the chewed on end. You count four and then slash it across. You don’t know that I know that’s what you’re doing. We both play dumb a lot.

When I found the cat hiding in the garage, wet from the rain, I called you and you said, “We can’t take care of a cat. You can barely keep a cactus”. I left him there. I still feel guilty. I think about that cat, starving, or, worse.

On my birthday you gave me a box of cherry pop-tarts. You wrapped it in tinfoil. You left for work early, before I was awake. The gift sat on the kitchen table, beside a glass of orange juice. It was the first time you’d given me a present.

“RAIN (on someone’s statue)” by Julia on her bed

Thursday February 14, 2013
5 minutes
The Vampire Cat
Robert Payne

Raining love and stuff, which is nice. It’s unusual, I’ll say that. Don’t usually feel much love on a regular basis. Not his fault. Doesn’t know how to love me. Maybe it’s mine. The fault. I’m sometimes only pretty after eating breakfast and using the mascara wand. He comes home, brings some nice love in. Some donuts, one flower. Also brings in those nine dollar steaks so I know we’re in for a treat. Put on my best dress, the red. The red one with the single bow in the middle there. It is nice. Festive. He thinks so too. Tells me I went and looked nice for him, which I did. Then just pouring out more and more love. Nice comments, which I’ll never forget. Says he is lucky, not sure if he means it. Sounds good anyway. Then sit down beside him at the table. This time beside, usually across. Not really sure why not always beside. Special occasion or something. We are eating the nine dollar steaks, and it’s so very easy. I’m blushing behind my cheeks, don’t want him to see he’s making me feel this nice. Don’t want him to get any self-conscious and stop the nice sayings.
Then he sneezes all big. He doesn’t cover his mouth, just sneezes real big. It’s all over me too now. The sneeze that’s less like love rain and more just like snotty rain.