17

The overwhelming ache in your stomach
of missing a memory in real time:
summer camp planetarium
status: away from keyboard
phone left at home
sorry, no wifi
looking for: validation
arising from stoking my own flame

August night, northern town
guided telescope
they told us using red flashlights
keeps our night vision unhindered
and boy, could I ever see

Salt shaker, spilled
stars, meteor shower
car splashes pothole
stars like mud splatter on my jeans
and I’ve become the canvas.

An archive of my life spent
trying to get sons
to like me
that starry summer, I prayed
those dead suns were proud of me, instead

Boys used to tell me I gave them a hard time, boasting,
“I’ve never met a flame I didn’t like,”
but they didn’t know I was fire
or maybe I was that red flashlight
doing exactly what was needed,
on my own terms.

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16

The anatomy of confidence:
be as brave as wolves
who call out in the darkest nights
when they know they need help.
Grasp loneliness by the reigns
and never bring it home.

Trudge the unpaved paths
grab your tools from the shed
and build your own defences.

Be unapologetic and call it
self preservation.

You don’t have to be a soft blanket
others find refuge in
when they’re too cold.
You’re allowed to be knitted of the same
kind fibre fabric
and also be brash to those who
kick you off the bed once they’re asleep;
who only hold you when they need you.

Wear your past and shortcomings as a quilt
you remove when it gets too hot.
You are a nation of white blood cells
defending yourself until your dying day
So tuck into your own blankets
put your phone on silent
ignore your door, knocking
and fall back asleep.

15

Pivoting personalities
doing your best to be everyone
for everyone.
Mother, daughter, wife
cook, cleaner, companion
putting on apron after apron but
never having time to dirty your hands.

A revolving door of weak, disappointing men
men who don’t pick you up from the airport
or pick up after themselves
those who demand recognition for chores
while you silently scrub the stove.

You’ve become the saddest slaughterhouse
a pair of hands, a mind to boggle
he asked for your opinion,
took it to the office, but still to his colleagues you are
boardroom businessman and wife.

May your tears turn to windshield raindrops
your daughters and nieces chase
for the rest of their lives.

May you be a maternal role model
of every girl’s massive mind.
May your apron be smeared by the tears of all the narrow men
who never believed in the strength
you always knew you possessed.

14

“If you were still here,
we could’ve become something.”
“I know.”
“I could’ve made you happy,”
“I know.”
step on my feet,
slow dance

We walked together everyday
after school stroll
cobblestone cul-de-sac
I went the long way
so I could match your stride

We walked each other home
our whole lives
but as we grew older, we never
walked into a home
we shared.

So let us toast
the saddest speech:
to all the childhood loves
who loved each other,
but never at the same time.

13

A measure of success:
family to love
feast to feast
warm cable-knit hugs
mistletoe, misty eyed

Overflowing guests
pouring in the front door
wreathed in balsam scent
nose hairs sharp
breaths puffed.

H’or d’oeuvres line the linen
pine tree, immaculate
tangled twinkle lights
creaky bathroom door
dinner bell ding.

The first quiet when all the guests
kiss goodbye
the nice China plates back in
the nice China cabinet.

I want this
the din of tinsel and bulbs
like December twenty-six
to twenty-nine
when I’m too happy to
take the tree away
when we have
no where to be, but
in our house, with each other.

 

 

Thank you for over 500 subscribers.
Thank you for nearly 3 500 visitors in only three months of being live here at elleguyence.
Thank you for providing a creative medium for us to share our lives with each other.
May your holidays be blessed with softness, kindness and health.

Love,
Elle

12

Missed connection
two cups on the ends of the thinnest string
dial the tone, set the mood
the scent of pine tree sap
strong against my blue nose.

Cold colours control
evening’s fireplace warmth
we welcomed December
as kind as we could
but still we sit,
frozen.

Sometimes, I think
your scarf is wrapped too tight,
you need to let yourself breathe
more than you need to fear the cold
seeping into your duvet seams.

Please, come in
(you’ve been here before)
soggy toes versus
fireplace crackle

“Home has always been here,
as long as you are, too
you can always stay
I’ve always wanted you
(to stay)”

The coffee machine’s stubbornness
to not burn the coffee
just once, please
please, just once

9

“Say ‘lettuce’ and spell ‘cup.’”

We see those photographs of us as children teasing each other and we call them keepsakes. A time we can’t return to, snapshots of the smallest versions of us literally experiencing everything for the first time in our lives.

Does that suggest that, because we are recycling the same emotions again and again, that we are not actually becoming bigger versions of ourselves, but the same tiny kids experiencing mutations of the same things—some stronger, some weaker?

“Stretch your mouth and say ‘pirate ship.’”

I’m taking pictures everyday. The way the wineglass sweats on the nightstand, the sun peeking through peonies, drunk spills at the bar. I used to be enamoured by the thought that a picture could keep a memory alive, and capture the people inhabiting it in a moment where they will never be the same people again. But I’ve come to realize that, upon flipping through old albums, these glossy photographs haunt me with everything I have ever lost, and all the people I used to be.

I remember a childhood April afternoon, when we flooded in from recess and my blond crush stood by his locker across the hallway and mouthed that he loved me.

“Stick out your tongue and say ‘apple.’”

But I have played these games before, and I knew if you thought about the words and warped your mouth in your mind for long enough, you’d never be bullied again.

I turned away from his smile and headed for class, because I understood that even the ones you want to love will always fit into elephant shoes.