The Hunger


He slipped into the booth

adjacent to mine

this morning

at the coffee shop

down the street from

my mother’s apartment.


He told me his name was Hugh.

When I asked if Louie and Dewey

were coming to join him for breakfast,

he did not appear to be amused.

Perhaps he was averse to ducks –

or cartoons.


Hugh was lit from the inside

he seemed both

birthday candles

and birthday cake.


Hugh was wearing a

beaded tiger’s eye bracelet

that immediately grabbed

my attention.


I had to have one

just like his,

even though

I had long ago

given up jewelry-

even though

I had long ago

given up on men.


Hugh told me about Jasmine

who sold her jewelry

on the street

outside of his yoga studio.

Of course

he practiced yoga,

I’m sure he brought

his own mat

made out of

organically grown hemp.


After some not so subtle prodding,

Hugh gave me Jasmine’s number.

I sent Jasmine a text and

she replied instantly.

” Come over right away! I live in St Henri”

which meant nothing to me

since I am  directionally challenged

on the best of days.


“Is that far?” I asked

“I don’t have a car and I will be

walking with my dog Lucille.”

“It’s not far at all” said Jasmine

“ It should take you less

than twenty minutes.”


Except that it doesn’t take us

twenty minutes

or thirty minutes

or even forty,

but I tell

myself I don’t care

because it’s all downhill,

because it’s a sunny day,

because Lucille is happy,

because the eye of the tiger

is calling me home.


I enter Jasmine’s home

empty and parched.

She offers us

water from her well,

and invites me to sit

at her cherry wood table.


I asked Jasmine if she could make me

the same bracelet as she had made

for Hugh.

“I’m so sorry” said Jasmine

“Hugh is special and I made

that bracelet just for him”


And just like that,

with one little snap,

I was banished from the island

where hope and hearth and family

reside and I

most definitely, now never will.


My eyes immediately filled with

tears,and as I struggled

to p