We stapled your promise inside our eyelids.
Now we sleep to the image of you
with a tapered blazer and leather suitcase whispering:
if you work hard you can have this.
So we wake at 7 a.m. Cook our lunch.
Women daub makeup on their irises and men
stuff their bicep muscles with protein powder.
When the Visa bill arrives we lock it
in the mailbox until it growls so loudly
we can’t sleep. If there was a pill for hope
every pharmacy would be sold out.
We patiently await our future.
In the meantime, we skimp on TTC fare
when the attendants aren’t looking, barely
strong enough to push through the turnstiles.
Add another lie to our resumes under the receipts
for our arts degrees. Hungry until
we’re nearly transparent. Bearing our sisters’
hand-me-down dreams and inheriting
gas at a $1.30 per litre.
Sometimes we wish we could curl
(becoming as small as an oxford comma)
into a warm pothole on a busy street
and live there as part of the city, regard
the world between total eclipses
cars cause as they drive by.
We’ve scoured our wardrobes for soft cotton
fabrics to touch against our faces like surrogate
mothers. Rubbed words together like flint
for a day’s motivation. Our alarm clocks
have towered above our watered-down sleeps.
On rare occasions, we treat ourselves to fancy
cups of coffee, dark chocolate, reveries.
Sometimes we write poetry at night
with all the dust from our lives.
Yusuf Saadi’s writing has appeared in journals including Vallum, Brick, the Malahat Review, Grain, CV2, Prairie Fire, PRISM international, Hamilton Arts & Letters, and untethered. His debut chapbook won the 2016 Vallum Chapbook Award.