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Seven Years Old

Tommy had a Band-Aid on his nose. It made his nose sweat. It made his nose itchy and he wanted to take the Band-Aid off. The day was so hot.
Momma was in her white dress, the one with the yellow flowers on it. Her white sandals were getting old. She had her black purse already over her shoulder.
"I will not be long, Tommy," she said. "Just an hour. It will just be getting dark before I get back. It is only an hour."
Tommy did not care if Momma left.
"Just an hour. I promise," she said again, her hand on the doorknob. "Is your favorite colour still red?"
Tommy looked at the shine in her hair coming from the evening sun entering from the small window in the wooden front door. He did not say a word to her. Then when he was done looking at her, he looked across the room to Sissy, sitting on the floor.
"Want some cookies, Sissy?" he asked.
He did not watch Momma walk out the front door.

Tommy let Sissy sit on the couch with the cookies. The day had worn him out. He could not remember a longer day. He watched Sissy make a mess as she ate her cookies. He watched her smear her hands, moving the lipstick Momma had put on her earlier, across her cheek. His nostrils were filled with the heavy smell of milk drying on warm skin.
Sissy grinned up at him, all teeth with mushy crumbs pushed up against the gums.
“You are yucky,” said Tommy.
“Bath time!” Sissy clapped her hands together, cookie spewing watery bits from her mouth.
“Oh, no, Sissy, not right now,” Tommy shook his head at her.
She raised her hands up to her head, and Tommy groaned. She was getting cookie in her hair.
He raised his body from the couch and walked towards the bathroom.
“Come on Sissy. You are a brat,” he sulked.


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When I was in Ottawa, abandoned and enthralled,
breathing in the
heat waves shimmering off the people
and the cats
and that lazy raccoon that I later named Mondrian in my mind
after I saw my first one,
I did not look for you.
Nor in the malls, the halls,
the magazines, in the new towns,
or down the old roads,
on silver screens, between the book shelves, down on my knees
hands in the clover.
I took you for granted.
Oh hey.
There you are.

I know myself
Far, far, far more than I let on
I know what I am doing.

Love is such an easy word.
Besides, it's a given,
We can keep it there, easy, big, broad like the straight black painted lines, it's nice.
Effortless. Quiet. Assured.
So then, I guess that it is not the word.

Punks-Starting to Remember

Minnie is 14. She likes wearing bright red lipstick and getting high.
Right now, Tommy is arguing with her. "Vitto will be waiting for me then."
"He can wait longer," she tells him. "Tell him there was too many cops following you around or something."
"Yeah," Tommy says. "That might work. Vitto would believe that. Three different cops stopped me on the street this week."
"What?" Minnie almost shouted. "Oh, Tommy. They are on to you."
“No, they aren't."
But she knew. "For sure they are. Listen. Meet me outside the pool hall at 9:30. I'll havethe dope then, Tommy."
“No. I really should go see Vitto first.” He kisses her quickly on the forehead and then runs home to make himself some Kraft Dinner for supper.

When he walks in the front door, there is Momma with a bottle of whiskey tucked between her legs, her head rolled to the back of the couch, her mouth open.
"What the fuck, Momma?” Tomm…

Quiet Company

I've been sold, I've been sold, I've been sold, I'm being sold-out
It is torture but
I don't even care
Except to love you more, to love myself more
Those hot-burned tears for you as I rally to save my skin
wind down me and leave behind gold and green
and I don't stop looking
until I look upon you
What on earth...
I've been sold, I've been sold, I've been sold.
I'm being sold-out.

Sunlight filtering through cracks
in the sky
in the walls
fall across your skin
I fingerpaint across your chest
Every word
known to man
and found in you

Fresh snow
Our footprints mark us
You are here!
I am here!
We are here!
Turn your face upwards
Let falling snow rest on your eyelashes
(dream of me)
Let the white melt on your outstretched tongue

It's spring.
Just one word.

I'd sit across the hall
looking upwards until I saw the flicker; light on
Sit with you while your busy hands rolled over these plains, these fields
The stretches of nothing
(Look at…