To Canadian Experience!

Part 1

If I am to live with you,

both of us entangled in each other’s (s)lipstream li(v)es

then I must find a way to love the

little bits of heart muscle,             (I’ve left pieces)


in two (many) basements

pavement rust,

                rat poison looks a bit like candy pop rocks

                                Children’s Services will take you away from your parents if you are not good

                                                never tell anyone you live with another family in just one room

                                                                say sorry, even if you didn’t mean to lose your mitten

                                                                                practice until you sound like them

                                                                                                lie and say you ate cereal for breakfast

survive without friends

                                                                                                never ask for anything

                                                                                eat whatever your mother makes

                                                                pretend to sing their national anthem

                                                throw out what your mother makes because kids laugh at you

                                stop bringing a lunch


                                For companionship.


                                                                                                                                                For survival.

these are the things you learn when you’re new

and need “Canadian” experience

to put on your resume.

Part 2

nothing tastes the same

after you taste yourself

in his mouth

summer bodies under covers meant for Canadian winters

make him swear out in his mother tongue

He thinks he’s flirting when he calls you brown sugar.

He thinks it’s over when he apologizes, horrified, a moment later.

You didn’t warn him,

That you were a Madras heatwave,

making him want to itch his way out of his skin
                                with the sheer memory of you months later

That you were Delhi dust,

stuffing every apology he could think of down his throat until he choked

                                                                                That you were the monsoon rains,

flooding him in his own guilt.

That you could do that all without meaning to.

                That you could be, too, a Montréal winter,

clear and sharp like a glass knife

cutting the threads to an already distant autumn, 

cutting the rot from an otherwise perfectly beautiful tree. 

That this is what forgiveness looks like.

Part 3

I must find a way to leave the

pieces of my smile, aged to an old 6, a young 23,


in two (many) basements

“you *glued* pasta?! For school ART?!  WHY?! Mad. Crazy you are, really.”

Today we had rigatoni with olives,

sundried tomatoes, olive oil, and some feta cheese,

onions decorating the rim of the bowl

the whole thing placed on the island

in the kitchen the size of our first apartment

                and I want to ask her: Art. Really. For pasta?                      

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