Poem: Lover’s Request

This is one of my “weird” poems from about a year ago, which I’m not 100% sure about. There are things I love about it, and things I don’t, things that I think work and things that don’t quite hit the mark. But here it is anyway, the way it came together. At the very least, it has value because I tried something different, and got a little writing practice out of it.

Lover’s Request

I want you to linger on my mouth like curry goat

slight spice tingle on my tongue, turmeric grease around my lips, sauce grit in the grooves of my gums, strings of flesh still stuck in my teeth hours later.

I want to smell you on my fingertips after three handwashes and a shower, the way spices lodge their scents into fingerprints, invisibly pungent, impossible to ignore.

I want you to fill me up like ground provisions,

breadfruit, sweet potato, dasheen, plantain,

sitting heavy and comfortable in my belly, making me feel loved and whole and at home.

I want you to make me wince with pleasure-pain like the Scotch Bonnet at the top of the rice and peas, my lips red and wet and plump with heat.

I want you to quench my thirst for love like ice-cold coconut water on a Sunday at the beach, dripping down my chin and into my soul.

Poem: Attraction

All my flaws are flames now, drawing your moth wings in.

Your eyes dance when they see me.

You beg me to tell you more.

You say I have soft hair and a nice soul.

I can’t think of a better compliment.

Flash Fiction: The Wedding

I saw Theo before he saw me. He was the second groomsman to come down the aisle, a bridesmaid on his arm. He was smiling, genuinely and awkwardly – he’d always hated being on display. He looked good – fit, but not that obsessive revenge-body fit he’d been the first year after our breakup. He’d cut his hair short again, like when we were in school, and he’d grown his beard back, just to frame around his mouth.

He didn’t see me as he and the bridesmaid walked past my pew. He didn’t notice me watching him until halfway through the ceremony, when he glanced absently over my row and then quickly back at me. We locked eyes. He smiled. He’d never smiled at me like that before. It felt … peaceful. There was no more anger, no more pain. He had grown and healed and forgiven, as had I. I knew, without him saying it, that he understood and accepted the choice I had made now, and could finally see that it had been the right one, for both of us.

Poem excerpt: Love

I folded myself away like winter sweaters in April to love you like you’d never been loved.

I poured it into your cork-stoppered heart relentlessly, watching it splash back on my feet but refusing to give up.

I loved you.

Poem: Him

He’s Clapton and coffee and old yellowed pages.

He’s sheet music and apple pie with vanilla from a pint.

He’s steaming showers and bars of Old Spice.

He’s dark beer foam and hazelnut comfort.

He’s whiskey and olives and ink-stained palms.

He’s worn hardwood floors and hot sheets out of the dryer.

He’s Thai food and stacks of stationery and a new pack of pens.

He’s watercolours and poems and lazy Sunday brunch.

He’s long drives and new places and thoughtful conversation.

He’s warm hands and silky hair and a strong heartbeat.

He’s thunderstorms and shooting stars and freshly fallen snow.

He’s effortless ease and loose laughter and perfect possibility.

He’s déjà vu.

Poem: Counterfeit

Knight in shining armour – silver plate

riding a donkey decoy.

Chipped smile, white veneer, and eyes of grey ice,

faux bravado rock ’n’ roll.

Deception, thick like the beard he hides behind, slips through fingers and over hands like silk – smooth hands, no jagged grooves to snag lies.

Chameleon, a leather jacket of many colours,

change to match me, change to match her,

change to match.


Poem: Small

Minimize her. Minimize what you felt.
Minimize what was, what could have been.
All because you can’t admit
she was too deep, too real, too much
for you.

Short Story: Lucy

“Psychic/Medium $25” – turquoise cursive curled on a black A-sign outside a brick-walled shop.

Michelle had dragged me here because, “You never know” and “What if?” and “Come on, Lucy, it’ll be fun – if you hate it, I’ll pay for yours, too,” even though I knew I’d be paying for both of us because Michelle never had any cash on her.

Whatever. I gave in. I always gave in to Michelle because she’s my best friend and kind of like a sweet stray cat I unofficially adopted and also the free spirit part of me secretly wants to be and to be honest, today I’m just out of fucks to give.

My estranged mother died 10 years ago today and I thought it wouldn’t be a big deal because I’ve always been over it, but I woke up this morning and realized apparently it’s a pretty big fuckin’ deal.

She left when I was three – just took off one day without a word, leaving my dad to work two jobs and parent three kids – so I never had any real memories of her anyway. Then when I was 19, my sisters and I each got a hefty cheque in the mail from her estate. Apparently, she’d come from money – dad never knew about this so I guess she hid it well – and had left all of it to us and charity when she died. I never cashed the cheque. I was perfectly fine with not having any attachment to her until this 10-year anniversary caught up with me and filled me with this weird combination of raw loss and pure rage that I didn’t know what to do with – so I called Michelle, and her solution was to take me out (on my dime) for dim sum and bubble tea and a movie, and if all that failed, a drink (or four). The psychic was an unwelcome detour between bubble tea and the movie.

“Come on, you go first,” Michelle said, pushing me through a colourful bead curtain – of course there was a colourful bead curtain – toward the dimly lit backroom of an antique store.

“Michelle, I…”

“It’s a half hour of your life – you’ll live.”

We got to the backroom, half-drunk bubble teas in hand, where an old, dark-haired woman covered in rings and scarves sat laying out tarot cards at a small wooden table. Candles and crystals all over the place; incense burning on some sort of shrine thing behind her – this was like every psychic scene from every cliché movie ever – with a colourful bead curtain to boot.

“Which one of you would like to go first?” She asked, without looking up.

“She will!” Michelle shoved me forward.

The woman looked up at me.

“What kind of reading would you like?”


“I think just a general read would work for her,” Michelle answered for me. “Ya know, see what you pick up. I’ll wait outside!”

The woman and I made awkward eye contact. I gave her a forced smile.

“Please have a seat,” she said.

I sat down across from her at her table and set my bubble tea on the floor.

“What’s your name?”

“Kelly,” I lied. She pursed her lips like she knew.

“Do you have a specific question you’d like to ask?”

“Sure, how ‘bout, ‘will I find love this year?’” I winced at my own sarcasm.

“Alright,” the woman said, gathering her tarot cards into a stack. She handed them to me.

“Shuffle these and think about your question as you shuffle.”

I sighed. “For how long?”

“Until you feel they have been shuffled enough,” she said simply, not entertaining my tone.

I sighed again and took the cards, beginning to shuffle. I could feel the woman’s eyes on me.

“You know, Lucy, your mother never actually died.”