She Said Relax by Laura Zacharin

Poem title: She Said Relax Poet name: Laura Zacharin Poem:          Bad things are going to happen...           ...Oh taste how sweet and tart           the red juice is, how the tiny seeds           crunch between your teeth                              						—Ellen Bass, Relax  She said relax, bad things are going to happen and she rattled them off like a shopping list, like a canon or a prayer.  And what she really said was savour the strawberry in your mouth. So, I cancelled my life insurance. Whatever, I thought, then my car and house premiums too.   If I was doing this, I was going the whole way,  bungee and all. High fibre organics that stuck to the roof  of my mouth —quinoa, wholewheat, buckwheat,  groats— gave them to the puckered lady living downstairs, behind the deadbolted door with her burglar alarm, fire alarm, smoke and carbon monoxide  detectors.  Let her have it all, I sang out as I emptied my cupboard,  my fridge— all the nuts and soynuts, dried fruits — made room for sulfites, nitrates, MSG the flavour enhancer.  Chocolate.  Loads of carbs. And bacon.  To eat with my eggs, sunny side up, fried in butter.  White toast. And all those vitamins, tacky and bitter, Enough of that!  I emptied whole bottles into the bin, I cancelled my Times, my library card, then turned on the 60  inch flat screen cranked up full blast.  Real Housewives, Love Island Bachelor in Paradise.  No more complicated plots.  No more Masterpiece Theatre or Washington Week in Review. I bought shoes with no tread, left my YakTraks  at the curb with a sign that said — Free.  Use at your own risk. No grip — slip sliding,  skidding everywhere. Ballet on ice. Said good-bye  to my clunky bike helmet.  Ugly flower pot upside down.  I want to feel the wind through my hair, pedals  spinning out, hands and feet in the air, no bell no light,  down the hill and through the intersection, in the middle  of rush hour. Mouth full, chin dripping sweet berry.   End of poem.  Credits and Bio: Copyright © Laura Zacharin Previously published in Common Brown House Moths by Laura Zacharin (Frontenac House,  2019) Laura Zacharin is the author of Common Brown House Moths (Frontenac House 2019), longlisted for the 2020 Gerald Lampert Award. In 2018 she was the recipient of University of Toronto’s Marina Nemat Award for Poetry. Her poetry has appeared in The Fiddlehead, CV2, The Malahat Review, Prism, Arc Poetry, and other Canadian literary journals.