Community

Spadina Road stretches north of Bloor, the hipster bustle of the Annex fading into a series of run-down apartments. The crush of vehicles on Bloor thins here, too; the noise of the traffic punctuated by the low rumble of the subway below. Walking north, on the left-hand side, I meet a high wall separating the sidewalk from the Native Canadian Centre, the NCC. In the evenings, smoke and song drift down to the road; sometimes there is music playing, children running barefoot along the wall. The campfire coals turn red, and then to ash, and groups of old men gather around a rusty bucket, tossing butts like horseshoes and speaking in hushed, gravelly voices.

There is a Community, just steps from my front door, of which I can never be part. But each day that I pass, the smoke and song remind me that, I too, have blood that flows red.

A Chili Reception

He slammed the pot down on the stove, sending a spray of kidney beans and ground beef flying through the kitchen. The beef hit the fridge in clods. Her face, the dog, stunned and speckled with the grey-brown meat. The kidney beans slapped on the tile in quick succession, littering the floor like fallen crabapples.

Perhaps he would be allowed to attend the Superbowl party after all, she decided, using a thumb to swipe the grease from her nose. The empty pot still clenched in his fist, he looked her right in the eyes.

She thanked God that he hadn’t yet added the tomatoes.