November

On the first, she handed me her notebook
and laptop. I sat down in the living room
while the waves continued to break on the rocks
outside and the creek swelled a little higher,
wrapped myself in layer upon layer of blanket,
and began to edit. A comma here, a deleted word there,
these two fragments stitched together.
 
Her life opened before me, page upon page
upon page. She offered it to me, her life,
to read and to work with. At times, she sat
with me, and coloured, and answered my questions
and added more stories, more detail.
She gave me her days, her existence, and I met healing
through the breath upon breath of her story
weeping and whirling its way across the years.

These Hands

I think it’s worth it to mention –
Before all your prejudgments settle in
And you cast me in plaster as a loose woman,
A slut, and shame me, a girl
Who just won’t get her morals together,
And then you bronze me, or
Tar me and then feather me,
And drag me through your streets,
Your sanctuary, your conversations with bae,
A pin-up girl, a poster-child for poor life decisions,
And deride me,

That I was in love, once, too.
Once twice, one hundred times, can we say? – people change,
And our love changes with them, doesn’t it?
I was in love, and he played with my fingers,
Whispered his love to me, kissed me
On the forehead, before and after,
And we stayed up laughing
Till dawn together, we held hands
And walked home from the pub in the rain together,
We danced in the kitchen to Beyoncé together,

And he was my first, but he was not
My last, because when he left, he didn’t look back,
And when he started over new,
Weeks later, before the feel of him
Had left my hands, I had to, too.
And my hands, my heart, went numb, and
All I’m doing is shaking them,
Trying to get feeling back into them.

But I don’t really know how, by myself.

The Stuff of Legends

This one goes out to all the single kids out there:
All the freshly single, always single
Single and looking, single and desperate,
Single and hotter than hell,
Single and not giving a flying fuck,
Single on Facebook, on Tinder, on Christian Mingle, single
At the bar, at the club, at all those weddings, still single
At every family reunion in Calgary with your aunts,
All the super single, single and rattled, single and shell-shocked
Heartbroken, war-torn, single and fucking depressed,
And all the single kids who aren’t sure if they’re actually still single,
Who like all the late-night texts but seem to still be single.
To the single and content, single and wondering why
People keep asking you if you’ve found someone yet
Because you know who you are, and you’re standing. right. here.
This one’s for you, you know, I been there too.
I been there, all of the above, and sometimes I thought,
Maybe I should change my situation, maybe I should
Act a little more flirty, bold, whatever, but other times I didn’t,
And those are the times I bother to celebrate.

This one’s for the girls who looked at boys, boys
Looked at boys, looked at girls,
Girls looked at girls, and everything in between,
And thought, well, maybe,
But thought, no fucking way, I can do
This
Way better on my own
And spent the next five years not settling
For any of the bullshit that paraded its way past their vision,
Or maybe it was five months, five days, hours,
Doesn’t matter, you did it,
You didn’t do it,
You kept yourself for yourself.
You defined yourself by yourself, not by some
Asshole with a ring and a mantra, or
Two tickets to the drive-in and seats that recline.
And that’s the stuff that we celebrate, that’s the stuff
Of legends.