The French ladies were decades older
and who to call after the hospital. The man
with the forearm tattoos was making love
to his phone. An older gentleman actually
had a book in his hand. We were the only two
holding books instead of phones. I looked up
to see the color of their eyes and the
aches in their walk. Nicole walked into
the wrong waiting room, her husband chuckling
as everyone giggled, excluding me. The fear
of Alzheimer’s slowly whipping its pain
at the back of my mind. I mixed up my mess,
but clearly being Greek-Canadian has no
privilege in a French society.
Vous-etes de quelle origine?
Does it even matter? Why do politics
constantly devour our French Quebecois
existence. At Universite de Montreal,
I was the only anglophone,
wore my soul to the ground. I shaved
off my humanity, bled Allophone stories,
hung out at Andrea’s Jewish Hampstead home
and ate matzo balls. She was that perfect
bilingual student, can never detect if her
accent was French or English. I was done
with my heart, my love, my studies,
but I went back to school. I always go
back to school, too many degrees
that mean nothing, but hang in unison
in framed beauty. I take no chances on
the things I should have, but my wall
displays something that means something
to someone. Damned to question why
I never left. In damnation, in this city
that breeds devils with no horns. Hate
to stay with all these diseases ensuing my
Yes, Dr. D, I checked my breasts again
and breathe easier.
Yes, Sherbrooke 666
I walked down University,
turned Robert-Bourassa, turned down the museum
for a job.
Turn up the volume on Nirvana. It was
1993. Taught at Mont-St-Louis, made the students
recite Shakespeare and modern romance clips.
I made them shut-up for sixty seconds
to honor Kurt Cobain.
One of them said, I should be a stripper.
Oh, the things you remember when
you are in purgatory.
Waiting for my name to be called
and the stares, oh the stares,
oh, the internal chatter,
I feel it all.
Took a five hour nap.
Forgot to cook,
forgot the kids
forgot the husband.
When I woke up
it was dark,
and I was still alive.
D’origine grecque, I replied.