Two origami cubes made of white paper. One small, one smaller. “THE” faintly visible.
The answers turned inside, scribbled lightly in pen, hidden through the folds. Made by
lovers or a group of friends or a single person or a parent or someone in their 20s.
from Show and Tell, a collaborative chapbook by André Babyn, Sasha Manoli, and Misha Solomon, a collective finalist in the Vallum Chapbook Award contest for 2023
I wanted so badly to put your bleeding finger in my mouth,
but I wasn’t sure you’d appreciate the gesture.
You’d spent all day trying to perfect your folding technique
only for the paper to betray you, to slice the tip of your index.
I wish I had, but I’m glad I didn’t — you wouldn’t have liked it.
You cringe when I drink Bloody Caesars, say they taste like
what you remember blood tasting like, from when you’d stick
a bloody finger in your mouth as a child. I wish you’d stick
a bloody finger in my mouth. I could let you know if
your blood is redolent of Clamato. Mine isn’t.
If I asked nicely, you’d let me taste your blood,
but there’s nothing I desire less than sighing acceptance.
I watched you fold that paper for hours. Just yesterday,
you left the room while I was chopping carrots.
I am insecure from all the
fold my corners
happiness is systemic
shape me into something innocuous
the flex of shine on shit I no longer elicit colours
heartbreak hormones and cucumber I am a blur
archive safety and hint at exits
don’t fight blend
the devotion to circuitry
slowly dying off
Now Mary always takes them home at the end of the night, one deft
fold before slipping them into her purse. But in April
when I came, late, we turned the spoiled quiz sheet inside
out, folding one way along the crease then again.
Chinese lanterns—so close I can’t say which is mine.
In grade five we were overtaken by origami,
when I moved that year Anson gave me a multi-pointed star
sixteen ends, all linked
intricately, I never discovered how—until one day
I undid them, and placed them limply back in their box.
Never again to fold together, to gather, like our infant sun attracting hydrogen
swirl of nascent gas, controlled explosion.
There was also a crane. You made it, a gift, in April. I remember
how pretty it looked, wings unfolded, on Sorcha’s open palm
André Babyn lives in Montréal. His fiction and poetry have appeared in Poetry, Maisonneuve, The Ex-Puritan, The Fanzine, Grain, Bad Nudes, and elsewhere. In 2020 his first novel, Evie of the Deepthorn, was released with Dundurn Press. Quill and Quire called it “a powerful and promising debut.”
Sasha Manoli is a creative comedy producer and artist based in Montréal. Beyond her work in producing, Sasha is also a published writer and artist with work featured by Quattro Press, Yolk, and Volume. She is currently in the process of penning her first full-length book and is working on a television pitch.
Misha Solomon (he/him) is a homosexual poet in and of Tiohti:áke/Montréal. He is the author of two chapbooks, FLORALS (above/ground press, 2020) and Full Sentences (Turret House Press, 2022), and his work has appeared or is forthcoming in Best Canadian Poetry 2024, The /tƐmz/ Review, Yolk, Vallum, and Plenitude. He is currently pursuing his MA at Concordia University.