Jen works on her days off

Tomorrow’s my day off. 
Well, my day off from here

She scans the green and red
crates with distracted ease.

I volunteer at CAMH on Mondays.
And Tuesdays I answer phones at
a respite home.

There are items missing from my
order. This has become familiar.
I will need to go into the store
to grab onions and apples.

She notices me noticing.
Onions and apples are missing.
She says.
Sorry for the inconvenience.

She hands me a blue card.
Bold script reads-

We value your business.
We apologize for the
inconvenience with your
order. Please use this
code to get $10 off your

next order.

I ask what school she attended.


She explains that the program
was good but it’s been a
challenge to find paid work.

She is bothered.
She dials up an edge of sarcasm.

Lot’s of volunteer options

A quiet space expands into
our conversation. Her sudden
story sharing has made a
transactional moment feel
like so much more.

We are caught in an eddy.

She breaks the silence.

Thanks for the chat.

I consider the service
rendered and bounce back
with a You’re welcome
that sounds more like
a question than an

animate nation

Dear Empty Coffeecup
I see you

At the end of my arm cradled in my hand tilted questioningly

A sliver of last sip smirking at me

You are in queue behind other hand raisers

Snow Filleddriveway

Overloaded Dishwasher

Ripe Litterbox

Bag of Work in the front foyer

And the Mind that Thought it wise to bring school shit home over the March Break ‘just in case’

Also needs emptying.


another message
a subject line

a flat assumption
that you are
owed my time

and a reminder
what’s mine is yours
but mine ain’t mine.

no matter
what i’ve said
or redefined

about changing our
for the thousandth time

you hear
your own voice only
saying ‘like this, is just fine.’

sometimes i need a second coffee

you may not
know this
but there’s a moment,
a cosmic
roll of the dice,
that sets up
a potentially
life altering
cataclysmic folding
of the known
fabric of reality,
just after
the last sip,
when i truly believe
that the universe
hangs precariously
in existential balance
between two possibilities-
should i have
one more cup
or not?


[for b.h.]

I spend some nights
stargazing. Maybe
star searching is
a better term for
it actually. My eyes
hopscotch and slide
between points of light
and patches of dark.
I imagine the minds
that played with the
constellations, connecting
the sparks, conjuring
bears and lions
and tigers
on the inky
canvas of night.
Effigies to calm
and protect.
Familiars to
guard and worship.
I suspect they needed
reassurance too.
Who doesn’t need light?
This happens
mostly after open
ended moments.
What the hell
just happened
What was it you
once told me
Dark moments of
And standing
out under the stars
scrying my future,
finding proof,
and accepting the truth,
that reading messages from
messengers millions
of miles away,
somehow makes
me feel that much
closer to


often, not always.
sometimes, not never.
quiet, not silent.
wise, not weathered.
careful, not cautious.
sharp, not clever.
offering, not ordering.
for now, and forever.