Foreign Exchange

Vincent walked to the back of the plane, to the very back where the seats didn’t properly recline, took his place by the window and hoped without much conviction that the two empty seats beside him would remain that way . . .

Grace

Gracie stands at the window, arms akimbo, and looks through her reflection to the front lawn. In her transparent body, grass sprouts where her heart should be. It’s patchy. Choked with weeds. Shifting her gaze down closer to the house, she peers through her belly . . .

Metropolis Redux

The city sometimes forgets where she lives. The streets are confused. Air of cinders and flowers, the nerves of the boulevards on edge. Parks desert themselves. The address of her future uncertain. She grabs for the world, tenants a coach house among restored Victorians, rose gardens and fountains . . .

Heels

Stephanie struggled to shove her feet into red stilettos outside the cheap-looking door she’d just closed. As her foot found its nook, toes reassuringly squeezed by reinforced satin, she thought she could hear the man on the other side of the door, just barely audible: “Fucking squaw bitch.” She expected a lot of things from the man she just left, but she was thinking more along the lines of an exasperated sigh, maybe even something whipped fast and hard at the door . . .

Annie and Freda

Freda blows back into town on a Sunday. Annie is facing away from the counter when the door opens, her sleeves rolled up, elbow deep in a batch of chilled coffee mix. She’s concentrating on stirring steadily, with enough force to dissolve the sugar but not enough to take it over the edge . . .

At the Klondike Bar

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 .  . . .

Hunger

It was a glimpse. A shadow across a busy midday street disappearing through a doorway into darkness. But twenty yards further up, in front of the No Frills he’d been heading to, Gladwyn is sure. The cards of memory are shuffled and dealt like flashes of light, and he’s certain . . .

Handicap

Mira stared and stared at her iPhone, her sweaty thumb digging into the touchscreen just below the stored text message. A victim of an “e-breakup,” she could no longer regard the phenomenon as an urban legend . . .

2 Dream in Colour

Eye use 2 dream in colour Prisms of inner eagle visions Pastel spring High Park bloom colour Rich velveteen Rouge Valley autumn colour Feathers of winged ones Bond between father sky and mother earth Eye use 2 dream in colour Prisms of inner eagle visions All my dreams are beginning to fade My days are cooler At night Jack Frost visits me Knock Knock Knocking on my window pane Driving me insane with his insidious laugh Cuz he knows our people never come back . . .  Published in TOK: Writing the New Toronto, Book 6 . . .

When Belle Walked along Spadina

Whenever Belle walked along Spadina, the shopkeepers would leap from the comfort of their worn stools to offer her the juiciest orange or the most luscious square of strawberry cheesecake. Schwartz, who owned the lady’s apparel store, would attempt to lure her into his premises by showing off his most glamorous red frock . . .

Vivek

Mr. V.K. Goswami was quite alone since his orange calico died the previous year. His studio apartment, though small and cluttered, felt vacant without her. He did sometimes think of taking a streetcar to the Toronto Humane Society, but on reflection decided another cat could never replace this particular calico . . .

A Shout from God

Lily doesn’t consider herself religious, but when her mother’s illness overwhelms her, she goes to Holy Martyrs. They have the best music of all the churches in Toronto’s west end. None of that modern stuff; it’s traditional all the way . . .