Months ago we woke snorting up brown and lime green snot We held hands and laughed about it lay beside each other in bed Took turns soaking the sheets with contagious sweat At the bleating horn of the other’s alarm on mornings he or I could have slept in Instead, grabbing at the other before the day tore away to laces undone fumbling down Livingstone Street’s steps Cold feet scalded sweetly on hot water bottles sainted long johns undershorts worn three days in a row piles of clean and dirty laundry on the floor The first night unpacked we lay on the bed looked out the window to ocean cranes The mattress didn’t spring it absorbed our shapes When he and I were in it it was hard to roll around so we pressed legs to legs licked each other like ice cream cones lost hairs in the sheets held on while we drifted off
Weeping by a fake porthole in the Hilton’s breakfast restaurant I eat seconds of bacon, and thirds My grandfather wouldn’t have minded my breaking kashrut He would have whispered “I won’t tell if you don’t tell about the cheeseburger yesterday,” and chuckled sweetly My mother is at her mother's place not listening to the sound of the phone ring— sealing saran-wrap around a sponge cake, our Friday night leftovers soggy, teetering in the pan The ocean solution looks like all of us— in bits, floating wisps of white pollution What’s wrong doesn’t drown us We are doing dead man’s float except for grandpa My sister arrives with the breakfast vouchers I get whatever I want before I figure it won’t be out of pocket I would pay for anything today even though I’ve been on boiled beans and rice for weeks had no choices to make about money Her and cousin Jer come back from the buffet with full plates laughing about something Jeremy gets on the phone calling our younger cousins to join us We all eat as much as we can
Aroused by possibility
My fingers tilt to form a magic frame
And suddenly we are not at Mel’s all night Montreal deli in Toronto
You are undoing the wrapper,
sucking the nuts
from a general store chocolate muck job
You wouldn’t usually buy that crap
but we are in the Yukon at the Klondike Bar . . .
Published in TOK: Writing the New Toronto, Book 6. Purchase the book to read the full piece.
Toronto locations referenced in this piece
“And suddenly we are not at Mel’s all night Montreal deli in Toronto . . . ” —Mel’s Montreal Delicatessen