“turning to the little girls” by Sasha at La Merceria

Monday, February 10, 2014 at La Merceria
5 minutes
Under the Lilacs
Louisa M. Alcott

I wasn’t feeling grateful when I got home and the house was dark and the walls were quiet and the bed was cold. I wasn’t feeling grateful when the cat was thirsty and the garbage was full and the toothpaste was empty. And, still, it’s Thanksgiving. I text you: “WTF?” I wait. Nothing. I get up to pee at twenty past two and I check my phone and you’ve responded. I should make you a flower crown. “Exams” is all it says. I wonder where things went wrong. Was it your (s)mother? Was it deciding to go straight to University after High School? Was it your older brother’s MDMA problem? In a fit of middle-of-the-night sleepy rage I too type a single word. I am not better than that. I will speak your language. “Shit.” I write, hoping you don’t catch on to my gargantuan caring, to the balloon that was formerly known as my heart, growing daily in my chest.

“my oblivious affinity for pies” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Friday November 29, 2013
5 minutes

This year, Celeste isn’t making the pies. My brother, Earl, and I had talked in hushed voices at her birthday in late September. “Should we offer?” We wondered. “Should we ask?” Earl had decided that if you didn’t want to make them then she could tell us so, that we shouldn’t undermine her matriarchal act but simply usurping the duty. I got a phone call late last night, proceeded by a text. “Are you up?” Asked Celeste. I texted back a moon. Celeste had married our father when we were in our late teens. She had re-ignited our father’s love of brewing beer, of collage, and of family brunches the final Sunday of each month, rotating the host so that the work was spread around evenly. Celeste had arthritis that made her sixty six year old body appear much older. She’d had to leave her job at the Newspaper. She’d had to hire a cleaning lady. Celeste called right away, upon receiving the moon. “Honey,” she said, “I don’t think I’m up to the pies…” I smiled. “We were waiting for the word! Earl and I are happy to do it…” There was an anchor in the silence, weighing us, holding us. “But,” said Celeste, “I’d love to be there when you make them?” I could hear Earl chuckling about back-seat cooking. “Of course,” I said.

“Use in Cranberry sauce” by Julia on the subway going east

Friday, May 24, 2013
5 minutes
from the back of the cloves spice jar

I never thought the sounds of babies and small children laughing would ruin me so much. Today, on this particular morning, every single one of them is a twisted blade into my skull and I don’t want them to be happy. I don’t want them to point out the fire trucks on the side of the road, their little minds telling them when to shriek in excitement when they realize they know what it is they’re looking at. I don’t want them to hold each others’ hands and skip across the street singing in unison. This is not my everyday. This is my today. Nothing sounds beautiful. The only thing that would save me is a note from you telling me the same thing I told you yesterday. But instead all I see when I come back is the napkin phone conversation with my mother when we talked about making the cranberry sauce for thanksgiving. It’s scratched out, and that gives me hope, but you didn’t write anything in its place.