The Day Before (a checklist)
By Sonia Nicholson
October 15, 2022
October 15, 2022
Count. Consult. Blanks to fill and only so many hours before the list changes.
Observe the first leaves—just a few—gathered against the curb like bedsheets. Yes.
Pull needles from rosemary bunches hung from corncob-shaped clips. Sift for
wayward bits of branches. Pour the dried herbs into an empty instant coffee jar.
Harvest. Check the second fig tree, the row of grape vines: the recent additions.
Hammer stakes, secure next season’s promises with rope and twist ties.
Walk the dogs to the rhythm of the neighbourhood’s rare calm. Wait. Wait. Cross the
street slow. Watch a pair of emerald hummingbirds in the pine. Quiet. Do nothing.
Mid-afternoon. Sit at the dining table to a bowl of Greek yogurt, figs and peaches
from the yard. Drizzle with honey and top with slivered almonds. Homestead. Home.
Half-hearted sorting two months late. Last chance. Sigh. Paper the linoleum floor.
Time travel through math sheets, doodles, agendas. Days, weeks, months. The old.
Arrange painted ladybugs to hold a picnic tablecloth in place. Shuffle. Stones and
people. Sort adults and children by height. Extend tripod. Set a timer. Rapid fire shutter.
Eat bifanas, sautéed onions, red pepper paste. Potato chips. Mix Portuguese and
English. Pull camping chairs close, pass phones. Stand for hugs. Goodbye. Good. Bye.
Set alarm clocks for morning. Cup of green tea. Another. Count, and count down.
Tomorrow, welcome the new: month, faces. Routines and schedules. The first day.
Sonia Nicholson’s work has appeared in various publications including Mosaic Times, Time of Singing, the Living Hyphen podcast, Van Island Poetry Collective, Inspirelle, Literary Heist, and Pinhole Poetry. Her writing regularly explores themes of identity, family, and place. A first generation Canadian who grew up in a Portuguese immigrant household, she was born and raised in Osoyoos, British Columbia. Sonia holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in French and Spanish from the University of Victoria, and continues to call Victoria home. Her debut novel, Provenance Unknown, will be published in Spring 2023 by Sands Press.