the city on saturday mornings is not fully awake yet
not fully recovered from last night’s dancing reckless
and loving lonely strangers and
taking midnight walks up to casa loma.
if you wander alone down spadina avenue on a saturday morning
you can forget that even in this city where neighbourhoods
bleed unnoticed into each other’s seams
invisible borders are constructed between gentrified and
gentrifying between those who say they were here first and
those who came later and
those who have been here all along
between stolen and freely given and earned for the time being.
you can forget the miles and oceans etched into your spine like arthritis
the history of leaving that lies between you and the land your grandparents grew up on.
let it all go.
you are alive and breathing the first morning air and
it is too early for the 512 streetcar but not too early
for the sound of fruit vendors shouting to each other
in a language your bones understand and
that is enough for now.
Jody Chan is an organizer, writer, and vegan-nacho-dip-maker in Toronto who writes poetry and fiction about family, mental illness, queerness, intergenerational love, and growing up in the Chinese-Canadian diaspora.
Animated illustration by Cheryl Loh. You can also find her on Instagram.
Thank you so much for sharing this poem. I found you draw a vivid picture about how the city morning look like; it remains me all the memories my grandfather and I shared together. I remembered everyday morning my grandfather wake me up and went to breakfast shop to buy breakfast for me. Sometimes the shy is still dark. I can not image how hard and cold for my grandfather to leave home early and buy breakfast for me while I still lying in the bed. Later on when I getting older, my grandfather and I went to that breakfast shop together, we always ordered that wonton soup for breakfast in my entire primary school period. So the ‘morning view of the city ‘ tastes like a wonton soup for me . Unfortunately. this breakfast shop moved when I went to high school, I did not have a chance to have that taste again. However now even if I can find that shop I may don’t enter that shop because my grandfather was no longer with me and I just afraid to recall this happy memory.