Thursday, October 30, 2014


I want to be wrapped up in you;
enveloped like the love letters
I write on scraps.
Postage paid, I want to be dropped
in a box, bubble wrapped
and bound for your body.
fly me across the country
as fast as I can
express post, I am rushing
towards you.
I want to be tucked away,
in your warmth
and sealed safely
in your arms.
Every single night.  

Friday, July 25, 2014


He brings her the same flowers,
the exact same ones he would put in a jar
on our kitchen table, from time to time.
The petals are big, falling open and filling
the room with a faint fragrance.
I never much liked flowers.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014


I am eternally grateful to you
for being part of the best thing
to ever come from this body-
a little girl makes up my world.
But now,
I am eternally furious
to the point of no return,
and I can see my life
stretched out into oblivion in front of me,
like a road bent over a horizon
I can see it all, not perfect but still
without a trace of your face
except for in the parts that pain me,
and it's always been plain to me
that you were never meant to be a part of me,
my road, the one lined with trees, was not meant for us three.
But even after everything, I am still thankful
never for you though,
just that small bit of residue. 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

An Open Letter to Police Officers from your children

To Police Officers, 

As the child of a police officer my life has always been ripe with stories of policing, memories and realities of life on the job, behind a badge, on midnights and day shifts and afternoons. Pay duties. Rotations. Schedules and pagers.

My Dad would pick us up from kindergarten after a night shift only to care for us for the rest of the day and go back to the job that night. The cycle had to be exhausting. The change jar on his dresser was a mash of bullets and coins. The wall unit had drawers dedicated to clippings and magazines, stories from the life he led while in uniform. Awards and badges and sometimes sets of false teeth from the odd bar fight run in. Dress shoes with dust in the front closet. Police caps we would beg to wear. Tiny teddy bears with little police dress shirts. Discontinued night sticks in the basement.These were the kind of things that scattered themselves around our lives as the children of a police officer.

Sometimes my Dad would come home and I could see, even as a child, he was heavy. He walked with pain like every step sunk his entire body three feet into the ground. And sometimes he wouldn't say anything and just make us breakfast or bring us to hockey. Other times, as I got older, he would talk about the weight he carried around for weeks after telling a family their father had taken his own life. Or the sickness he would feel, to the point of being physically ill, that would find him when he had to try to make sense of the children he pulled to safety from a river because their father had put them there. He was a father. It didn't make sense. The heart ache, chest tightening, suffocating feeling of attending the funeral of a fallen officer. Needless. And he carried these burdens on his waist, with a gun holster, for years. Still he does. 

We are often reminded of the dangers of policing. Most recently, the losses suffered in Moncton have made those dangers visceral. Policing is not a 9-5. You don't clock out and leave it at the office. You bring it home and hide the worst parts in places of your life where you hope it will do the least damage.  Police officers live fractured lives that they try to piece together into something coherent, something that makes sense in some reality. It's a life where you may be part of someone's tragedy at noon but celebrating a novice hockey championship win with your daughters at dinner. Most of the time, a lot of things don't line up. And the inconsistencies breed stress, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and sleeplessness into the lives of men and women who serve. And into their families' lives.

But there were also days when my Dad would come home and you could see he felt alive. He loved his job. It was more than a job. He gave, and continues to give, everything he has and on the rare occasion it would give back to him. He overflows with pride. He knows what he does is beyond himself, but most of the time the relationship with policing is one-sided. It will take everything you can offer. You will give everything you can manage, and then some.

It's the "and then some" that as children of police officers we are most afraid of. I've watched news coverage of shootings and violence in places I knew my father was going to be. I've waited for phone calls, or more recently, text messages that "all is good". And luckily for all of us, everything was always "good". I never take it for granted. I never did.

As the children of police officers we live the job too, on the sidelines, but we're there. I'm there. And the children of the officer's fallen in Moncton are there. And their families. Their friends. Everyone is here and all we can do is say thank-you. For everything, for your service and willingness, your struggle and humanity. For being parents, for being officers, for protecting every kid like your own. All we can so is say we love you, and were here. Were here if you just want to make tuna melts and watch Lion King, or if you want to practice skating backwards. Were here for you when you get home from work, when you're on duty, off-duty. Were here when you need us, because you've always been there for everyone else when they needed you. No questions asked. And it's the least we can do.

Y. James

Friday, May 23, 2014


At one time
I was planted
deep in the earth
so that my roots
ran deep, in an effort to keep-
to keep me in place, on time, be still
stiller than the calm before a storm
timing every rush of wind, to infinity
and beyond!
but you were strong
pulling me up
into your hands, from the dirt
the space I knew left empty
I am uprooted
in your presence.
Unhinged and forever searching
for your chest rising in the East
and setting in West,
and in an instant
You lit up the expanses
of my body,
from  hips to fingertips
you set fire to my breath
consumed me,
in one fell swoop-
it was you.


Thursday, April 17, 2014


I'd like to think I am capable
of being wholly and completely lost at sea,
but I am lacking in my ability
to burn my maps, my compass
that spins me wildly in all the directions
I am least willing to go.
I can't help it, and you hate it
but I need to know, where the sun goes,
constantly keeping the horizon in sight
if only to find my way into bed, every night.

And it may be true then,
to think I am a glacial,
moving slow, calculated, melting only slightly
but in the night I remember all the millions
of years I've spent scathing by this landscape
and I thaw from the inside out, instantaneously.
Looking back, I see the deep scars in the earth
a path a mile deep, etched in stone.
It's exhausting existing like this, I am heavy.
Weighted down by my need to know.
I am focussed, committed, ambitious.
I inch closer, to the horizon, determination at its best
but Oh,
What I would give to be light, to be an iceberg
weightless and bobbing slightly in an ocean
hoping to collide every single second
that I will combust, burst into a thousand pieces,
under the impact, we could implode from within
It excites me, to think,  to feel the water embrace me,
from every angle, in every crack.
I am more than ice, I must be.

And still,
it starts to make sense
why I am always in search of the sun.
Maps and compass in hand, on the dash
a line drawn from A to B, sails drawn tight.
I chase the warmth.
Because it promises, pinky intertwined in mine-
To burn me up, dissipate me.
To lift me up, and throw me to the wind.
Evaporate me into the atmosphere
make me light, make me carefree
carry me, help me to drift weightless
to the upper rungs.
Colour me in aurora borealis.
and I want it so bad to be true.

And so I push myself, forward.
Towards a promise that I can feel.
But it's tiresome to feel like a puddle in an ocean,
when all I ever wanted was to feel electric.
Conduct myself in your presence
like lightning, setting fire
to your branches.

Thursday, December 12, 2013


His eyes are creased
Into half moons that sit
Like microscopic drops
Of an ocean atop,
a grin that stops
my heart in her tracks.
His back, is scribed in ink
And I sink, to let, I knock
to let me in-
“I’m on the steps!”
Throwing rocks at the window
Of your embrace.
Tapping you awake,
“I’m on the steps!”
Waiting at the door
of the blankets,
that have come between us
in the night, every night-
“I’m on the steps!”.
Come let me in.