Hello, Neighbour: Humber Shelter

This piece was selected to be part of Hello, Neighbour, a community engagement project that takes six pieces of writing from residents of Toronto, and uses them as inspiration for six new works by local artists.

Join us Saturday Feb. 23rd, 2019 2-5pm for a day of performances by the artists, hosted by Nana aba Duncan of CBC’s Fresh Air.

This event is FREE, click here to reserve your spot on Eventbrite


HUMBER SHELTER by Redgina Jean-Paul

When I walk this arboretum

it is often pitch black blistered soil

under a veiled celestial light.


Once the cyclists, joggers and other wanderers

have left the pavement barren –

silent                                I walk my shelter in hopes

a deer

or fox

                                         or fallen song sparrow nest

will whisper which way to go next.


More often than not I choose Mercury Rd. Bridge

or Goose Island                                             lay wide-eyed                           still

eavesdropping on River who makes love to

eroding rock and  grovels for Moon to take them back.


When I walk this arboretum

it is nighttime pastime fun

playing Russian roulette with my life,

taunting faith to mark me careless unlucky soul;

This is Rexdale after all.”                           a concerned man once said

from the shadow of the bus stop shack.


My Mom, always a tongue-lashing away

from keeping me homebound has never

questioned my love of these trees and this water.


We live in a glass house full of devil’s ivy,

mother-in-law’s tongue, spider plant;

we welcome nightmares wrapped in mirrors,

shelter them from Canadian winter’s scorn,

offer them jasmine tea.


It’s family tradition to let little girls

roam free at all hours                                  in glass slippers

for there isn’t a bad thing out there

that hasn’t already happened

right here.