I write, paint, and watch Netflix in Toronto with my husband (also a writer) and my fierce little parrot, Riff Raff. I am the editor-in-chief of The Quilliad, a Canadian literary and arts journal, as well as the founder of The Quilliad Press. My writing has been published in Third Wednesday, Chrysalis, and Poetry Nook, among others. For more information about The Quilliad Press, visit thequilliad.wordpress.com.
49 Dingwall Avenue
We worshipped with beeswax and sore backs.
I pretended to sleep too long sometimes
and we’d miss the first half of the interminable standing.
(You yelled and I ran away to pray.)
We folded thin sheets of dough. I learned to like spinach.
We ate your concoctions, though once you said maybe not this time.
We iced gingerbread, sprayed snow on windows.
We lit candles on a tree so small he said it was a fire hazard.
(They could tip off and burn our house down.)
He revolutionised sandwiches, to the benefit of all three
of us, where before you’d made them with too little fuss,
just bread and a slice of meat.
(I remember you fighting in the kitchen.)
He worked late. He left his shoes jumbled.
I was proud to be of service, making a paired line
to keep your thoughts straight,
though I never really cared about the zigzag myself.
(My room was more twists and turns and piles than angles.)
I remember Easter, the three of us part of a parade
around the church, the banners and the glow of candles,
later falling asleep on the wooden benches, stockings digging into my waist.
(But love is not a victory march.)
We both fell asleep, you singing me lullabies
‘til you’d lulled yourself with sheep.
He promised mockingbirds and I got Cohen and Dylan
—singers, but not, by any stretch, songbirds.
Perfect pitch isn’t everything.
©2016 Sarah Varnam