by Lisa Sookraj

The penthouse apartment across the way is the only obstruction. Julie's view to the end of the city. Peter tells Julie, “You're paranoid.” Nothing has transpired in two years. He licks his finger. After dipping it in a jar of pesto. Julie stares, like always, into the unused room. A stalker in hiding watching their intimate moments? A brief obsession with documentaries about serial killers. The silent business man next door. His briefcase/mini-luggage on wheels. The mystery of vacant vessels. Full suitcases. In January. The body found in one on St. Laurent. The bodies found beneath the rubble in Haiti. 3 garbage bags of donations to Heart of the Nations. Some disasters are more natural than others. What is natural? How the sun shines right through to the other side. Of the vacant penthouse. Except for on grey days. It has large windows on three sides. In the centre, there appears to be nothing. Only the curtains, pulled and tied. Peter fingers strike the keyboard. From the kitchenette, Julie checks and double checks over her shoulder. Are the shadows stationary or have they shifted? How could such a nice room, offering multiple views of the city, be vacant? “Perhaps it's haunted. Perhaps a demon,” Julie says. As she breaks another glass accidentally while doing the dishes. She breaks new glass after glass. Loses job after job. Hair after hair. Cursed. Strands. Shards. Peter picks them all up carefully, rinses her hand under the tap water. Lays the broken pieces in an empty cardboard box.

C and B

by Lisa Sookraj

Violet hums a tune. The sky turns navy blue. Gary Numan: “I die, You die”. The precise instant the 70s turned to the 80s. Damien is on the couch. On the Cusp. Aries meets Pisces. Half-ram, half-fish. Is a crab eating chicken wrong? He wonders as he stains a piece of wood. Violet always hums. Out of tune. Often the same notes, found in different songs.

Morrisey in one of his dark castles, in Ireland. The air damp, intrusive. He licks his dry lips. In Violet's daydream. She finishes stitching the button back on her coat. Bubbles smell like mango-kiwi. While Morrissey in reality, sits in LA, with a blonde bimbo on each arm. Online, Violet sees the picture that proves it. Damien tells her he thinks it's a front for homosexuality. She prefers asexuality. Imagines Morrissey at a bus station where he's remained eternally 20. Pale, sad-faced and slim-limbed. “Is it really so, really so strange?” He sings. Over the computer speakers. He blows at a lash. Violet blows at dust. Damien blows at wood. That will soon be one of three shelves of a bookshelf. Violet brushes his hair back, up, big, with slender fingers. Her modern new-waver. Though he doesn't like new wave, he is one. In the lurid, watery mass that is her life.


Lisa Sookraj is the kind of friend who'll trek out to hear you read a short story in the dentistry faculty at the top of a mountain on a Saturday morning in the middle of winter. She hems her own curtains, à la main, no less. She writes funny things about groundhogs. She lives in Montreal, for now. Join with me in my plea to keep her out of Toronto 's mean suburban streets. Stay, Lisa.

And you say.

1 comment:

  1. I will do what I can. Awe Melissa. You are worth many treks up a mountain on a cold morning. And while I was in the dentistry faculty I had someone I passed in the hall check out the holes where my wisdom teeth used to be. So it was win win ;]