oh, i know;

oh, i know.

i let the hours pass.

one after the other.

they passed
and in their passing
they no longer were hours.

they became other measures.

wine, music.

a bit of this and that.

i let them pass with no words between them.

i watched them go,
vaguely,
in the blind spot
of my attention span.

i figured they needed a rest.

but they did not.

they yearned for recognition.

they wanted to be used.

“used.”

made good.

so i took all the hours back.

i lay them down side by side.

i gave them fresh sheets, soft pillows.

they became a minute –

one long minute
of sacred silence
for lost time,
found again.


where you belong;

pour toi, mon amour.

***

she took a small knife and cut a green apple into four quarters, then eight pieces. she placed the eight pieces on a cracked bone china plate. she brought them with her to the living room, where she sat on her beloved couch. her cat walked over, in his quiet, slow pace. she put a piece of the apple into her mouth. it tasted like onions. she put the piece back on the plate, and fell deep into the couch, under the covers and below the throw pillows. the cat climbed onto her shoulders, crept onto her chest. he curled up into a ball between her neck and her heart, and slept.


let there be light;

you ask me if i was ever a modèle vivant; i say no. the next day, a man stops me on the street and asks me the same, jotting down the name of his group on a piece of newspaper – please join, he says.

i tell you i wish you could exorcise me; you ask me if i dream in colour. the next day, i dream of you holding my hands, your eyes summoning patiently, quietly, knowing it is on the edge of me, on the lines of my mouth, along my throat, fluttering behind my birdcage. you hold my hands with both of your hands and i begin to cry; i feel a child crawling out of my chest, my mouth, my nose and my eyes, and you smile as i thank you for hearing me.


vocal hygiene;

she stood among the stationary. she stood among the notebooks, the cahiers canada, the lined paper. she stood among the compasses and the rulers. she stood among the pens and pencils, the markers. she stood among the erasers. she looked at the little paper squares scattered around the displays that people before her had used to test things out. it was always a scribble, or it was always “bonjour.”

let me in, let me in, let me in.

on most days her hair was thick and heavy, and remnants of the morning’s song clung to the base of her neck.


are you protected;

when you press your palm against her chest and tell her to relax her heart,
she wonders how you can feel it from under her thick skin.


ne pas marcher;

nous sommes venus ici pour marcher, pourtant je suis assise. je ne sais pas combien de temps nous avons marché, simplement que ce n’était pas assez, que nous aurions dû marcher plus longtemps, qu’il faudra reprendre la route, qu’il faudra s’y remettre, pour que les jambes le sentent, pour que la lourdeur puisse s’échapper par le talon, se perdre dans le sillage de nos pas, retrouver la terre.

nous sommes venus ici pour marcher, pourtant j’écris et tu lis, et tous les deux nous buvons. nous n’avons pas soif, car nous n’avons pas suffisamment marché, mais en étant assis, il est facile d’ouvrir la bouche, de boire, de s’imaginer qu’on a besoin de faire autre chose que de s’asseoir, d’écrire, de lire, de ne pas marcher.


old room;

new challenges.


as i prepare to leave again;

the mourning dove died before she had a chance to meet her. the dove had been nesting on the living room windowsill. she had seen pictures of her before she moved and she could almost hear her coo through the photographs, but by the time she had landed in the city, the dove’s eggs had fallen out of the nest, and she had flown away.

***

she came here to forget, to push aside, to ignore for a while.

in this city, there are people everywhere, all the time. it is not just a city; it is multiple cities within a seemingly endless stretch of more cities. she cannot breathe the air; the air is grey. the air is grey and filled with noise, thundering and clamouring and making it difficult to think.

***

she thought the vertigo came from the ferry rides back and forth between the shores. the ferry rocked on the waves and her compass swerved. even as she stood very still, she felt her body move to and fro between continents. but the vertigo did not abate, not with pills, not with ginger tea. she woke up wishing she could go on sleeping, wondering if she should have done any of the things she had done or said any of the things she had said. she took to lying in bed until noon, staring at a point in the ceiling. when the point disappeared, she moved to the living room. she wondered where the sun was and why she could not see the sky from the windows. she sat on the couch and pressed her feet firmly onto the ground, anchoring herself with her hands tightly clasped on her knees.

she hadn’t left anything behind, that much she knew; only her mind whirled, her head fell in circles.

***

in her stories, there had often been communication, but no reciprocation. it had been natural to move across the world, to learn the particularities of a lofty language, to experience a new old culture, to discover a part of her that was so familiar, yet so far removed. she was a stranger here the same way she was a stranger there, but in the end the outcome no longer mattered—in between was the only world she knew, and she learned to take it with her, wherever she went.


une suite, un aveu;

je te demande pardon.

je n’ai pas pensé qu’en changeant de route, j’allais te perdre. je n’ai pas pensé qu’en m’inscrivant ailleurs, tu resterais derrière. je n’ai pas compris qu’en tissant ces mots, tu ne me comprendrais plus. ce n’était pas une fuite, ce n’était pas un silence; je n’avais pas l’intention d’ériger une barrière, de t’exclure de mon antre. je ne cherchais qu’un retour, un goût de souvenir, mon propre sang sur mes lèvres, la soif de fer que j’avais oublié, qui était partie, qui s’était dérobée de moi, comme les billes d’un sac, le sable entre les doigts, les poissons d’un filet trop large, les larmes sur le cuir, les regards fuyants dans la foule, mes yeux dans l’ombre des lumières, mes paupières sous le voile, le sol sous tes pieds.


pulling up stakes;

just ballerinas tiptoeing through the seasons.