trains.

when i was eight, nine, ten years old i had terrible nightmares that you would die in various train accidents. there were no trains in our quiet village; the trains ran below, in dundas, along the sculpted ridge of the niagara escarpment.

and now you actually are dead.

how can that be true.

strangers.

in a memory, i didn’t live here yet. i was pregnant and i was single and i had a terrible wardrobe. i was in love with two boys and i couldn’t bring either of them with me (if i had wanted to). i was about to give up my car, my driver’s license, my job, my friends, my life. i needed to schedule an abortion. i drank tim horton’s instead of starbucks. i depended entirely on six packs & cigarettes.

i got lost. i drove right past what i now consider my favourite place, my go-to place. i turned around at the stadium, recognizing the structure from a photograph. i made my way. and then i met you. somehow, even in a memory, i met you.

and in a memory, i worked 10 hour shifts in a basement. i dyed my hair blonde, then dark brown. i broke my phone and lost all my phone numbers and assumed a new identity. i remembered you. i went blonde again. i moved into a new apartment with hardwood floors. i played house and did the dishes and the apartment burned down. i moved again and i remembered you. i had roommates and i fell hard, incredibly in love with white wine. and i eventually tore down the life i had created and moved into a new room.

that is when i let you in, asked you in. let memories fold over realities, let the lines blur. i tried and tried to keep remembering but the only you i see is in a classroom, spilling water on the floor.

so.
i’m sure that things have been worse before. much worse. if i remember correctly. but these are only memories; i might have made them up.

back then.

when i was a little girl he played a song on a record player and the song made me cry so he’d stop the record and i’d beg him, i’d beg him to put it back on and it was “only if you don’t cry” and i’d promise and he’d play it and i’d cry and cry and then he’d let it play and then i’d beg to hear it one more time and then we didn’t go back one day and it has made me cry every time since then, and now when she sings it i am hardened and cold.

baseball.

one of my fish pretends to be asleep in the front of the tank, he is only really sleeping when he is at the back with the other side by side facing in opposite directions and it’s a trick like how when i left my bedroom to walk around the block and smoke a cigarette and think about how alone i’d like to be later, much later, impossibly later, and now, but not right now, the pendulum had stopped swinging on the clock, the perfect clock, and i made a note to myself that i would remember it later but now that i’m home it is swinging again because it does that, it starts and stops at will and sometimes i think it is gunther or the things in the room, things i don’t know about because i’ve lost track of my mugs and my towels and things are just things, i don’t know what they are can’t define, there’s too much and i looked over, it’s stopped now, again, it knows, and this is why i forget so easily and miss your hands on my throat and my fingers in yours because this is what happens, i come home and everything is different, i look again and it’s back the way it was, there is no change, we are stable, everything is stability and it breathes and evolves and spawns algae and droplets of water, and yesterday i saw a man kick violently a fish into the canal and later a dead fish and there’s no correlation these things they just happen, and i wish it was march again, not waiting by the door again, he smelled like stale beer and garbage and sweat and that was okay, he was also refreshing, like i am disgusting and silent, and lonely, i feel like i can’t get away with it or with anything or with writing like this when the snow isn’t melting and i can’t get back and i want to like i used to want to open my eyes and i used to ask for things and i used to make bargains and now! now everything has fallen apart, but i have a baseball.

baseboards.

too many bugs was
her reason for leaving, she became
by dawn a traveling memory
with my suitcase

there are signs that only
she believes in, that spaces
remain vacant and
pristine until a moment,
a kiss or question asked
over bent knees
occurs inside them, that
grids in city
planning are designed to prove
that it will work
she doesn’t trust you if your
street curves, if you
live on a dead end.

the bathrooms
and the kitchen where the
drains are, the side
door and the vents,
the ducts,
that come up from the basement
signed
sincerely