Cliff called me Cliff

‘Are you Cliff?’

Startled, my phone stumbled beneath my thumbs. The voice burst from my blindside.

I forgot that I had changed my usual pick up spot. A delivery could come from any direction.

In the jolt, a text got sent mid stride. Someone at home thinks that ‘I will b ho_’

His name tag said Hi my name is Cliff.

In moments like this, it’s hard to think of the universe as anything other than a poetic post-it note tucked into my daily lunch bag.

A mirror full of reminders, metaphor, simile, assonance, alliteration and definitely a dash of cheeky humour.

What is it called when a moment, threads across time and space, echoes over and over, so much so
that it simply and quietly shifts from coincidence to pattern to recurrence?

Nope, not my name.
Did he just introduce himself or address me?

But those are my groceries. So I stay quiet then get lost in my own fractional back story.

For years now, new acquaintances, at some point call me Cliff. Other prodigal peeps only know me as Cliff. Some I have corrected, others I have let slide for so long that I figure- Why bother?

It’s not my name by birth, but I gotta admit it appears often enough that I gotta vibe with the fact that some higher power beholds me in this way.

Cliff Cluff.

All of this wonderment crowded out my immediate task. I should be watching the dude unload my groceries.

I must have nodded when he asked my name because when I return to my senses he is closing the hatch on my car. Nice touch, I think to myself.

15 minutes later, I’m chilling on the couch, my kids are unpacking the haul.

5 minutes more, one of my kids is asking why half of our order is missing.

5 minutes after that I get a call from Walmart. They are apologizing for the error. It was Cliff’s first day. I smile and think about his and my connection.

The manager asks if I would like the missing items to be delivered.

‘Nah’ I say because I have already requested a refund on the app. ‘Thanks though’.

Mika noticed

The first one sounds like an old timey doorbell. 

The second is more of a ‘tink’.

Then the device actually rings. A tone warbles- a pulse, laser, then a metallic clang all in succession.

It is vexatious and designed to draw attention.

‘Sorry, sorry.’ Each apology frames a stop and then restart of work.

The ringing continues even after she tries to tap tap it away.

Head down, she mutters, then sighs. ‘Some people use the app. Some call it in.’

Just over her shoulder, two different people are nestled in their cars, on their phones.

One of them stares at us.

‘S’ok’ I offer. ‘I bet you wish you could just turn off those notifications!’

Her look up is sudden and stark.

I know this look.

It’s like that moment of glancing up and seeing someone staring at you.

Or staring out your car window and gaze locking with a passing driver.

Being observed by a stranger has a nervous effervescence to it.

The woman in the blue car is still eyeballing us.

How long have they been watching?

What did they notice?

What did I just do?

It blows open the landscape between fight, flight, and freeze.

Time slows then speeds as your consciousness handshakes with reality again.

Mika dead-eyes me. ‘We are not allowed to mess with the scanners.’

The device chirps as if in agreement.

‘I didn’t mean…’ I blurt.

With a dismissive wave she turns and takes the call.

terra incognita

So much empty space
with no centre,
no start
each step might take
you closer to a point
or away from your

Each post you plant
tethers you,
each tack placed in this
only serves to show
its largeness.

Its all distraction-
a leaf,
that sky,
some sounds,
your thoughts,
and a feeling that
each glimmer is there
for you alone.

To look directly at
one specific thing
is impossible
you will need to
capture release
then capture again
to keep your attention

Inadequate luggage
carries meaning
no farther
than the next step
then it is unpacked and
repacked before moving
on somehow fuller,
wider, heavier.

Bread crumbs trail from
carry ons,
curious birds follow
chirping who are you?
and where are you heading?
but staying just
distant enough to escape
the clutch and scrutiny.

I sometimes feel
like the hunter
in a forest that
does not regard me
as a threat
in fact
it does not
regard me at all.

But lifting that rock,
even a centimetre
from the ground will
result in resistance,
small green living creatures
will tug and try
to bring that rock
back to ground.

Insignificant things
have their own gravity
and to not consider
their animus
is foolish
and greedy.

Just because
we can see each
starry pin point
in the night sky
we have no right
to reach out
and touch


the story refolded
into straight lines
molded around
better times
and even though
we know better
this letter
won't fit
in the mail
we admit
that most 
of it
never happened.
funny that
as we grapple
with constant edits
wonder who said it
one truth
becomes true
even though
both of us
have tried
to say it better
no one
ever stays
for all of 
the credits.

summer and snow

I set fire 
to a poem,
red sparks rise
and roll
into the sky,
the further they fly
from my hand.

tumble awkwardly,
left then right,
no longer my proxy,
on the night breeze.

their crispness,
the colour difference
between them
and the stars-
actual balls of fire-
confuses me.

from pages,
from life,
drift down
like summer snow
I am compelled
to accept 
the ironic
and paradoxical.

I released them
before their 
flame could
consume me.

I expect
to feel some 
of their warmth 
as they come
to ground.

when one hand
can easily wipe 
the charcoal smears 
from the other-
all the permanence
that those words
once served,
once held,
is gone.

you don’t say?

The silence,
deep and rising-
“I want.”
“I need.”
“I think.”
was never said.
“You should.”
“We should.”
“They should.”
Disguised us

The moment
begged for
but all
that we could
for sure
was that
we didn’t
more than
we knew.

I stewed.
of grew.
Became a

of quiet
would have
been better
mark my
path with
many tracks;

leave fear,
carry facts;
that we can
be beautiful
and we can
be useful
and we can
choose words,
while we
say nothing,
that might