A Thing or Two

You call my curiosity a demon,
Say there’s no place in this world
For a girl like me.
A girl who questions,
Who thirsts for knowledge,
And seeks it out at every turn.
But don’t worry –
My curiosity and I don’t need this place.
I’ll take my books and my desire to learn,
And with my face turned towards the sky
I will set off to reach the sun –
And even if I never make it
I’m sure alone the way I’ll learn a thing or two.


A Thousand Beating Hearts

I came to realize long ago
that I am the sum total of
everyone who I have ever loved
and all those who have loved me in return.
I am a mosaic of a thousand beating hearts.

A Love of Comfort (or I Hate Mornings)

I hate mornings.
I hate morning people.
The way one minute they’re so deeply asleep you catch yourself waiting for the tiny inhale of air that let’s you know they’re still alive, and next they’re wide awake, refreshed, exuberant, and ready to face the day ahead.
I suffer from a love of comfort; to be curled in bed, to sleep ten more minutes, to ruminate in that expanse of time before my dreams fade away.
I am addicted to being comfortable, content and cozy in all aspects of my life.
I love the comfort that comes from doing absolutely nothing for an entire weekend but drinking tea and reading books.
I love the comfort that comes immediately after sex – when he pulls me close and holds my hand and for a moment nothing is wrong between us, everything about it feels right and fated.
I love the comfort that comes from looking at old pictures, of getting lost in memories so vivid you feel as if you’re there again, reliving those moments of pure unadulterated joy that you temporarily lost in the grind of everyday life.
I love the comfort of my old university sweatpants, eight years of excessive wear and tear and they are still holding on.
I love the comfort of my once soft baby blanket, it has witnessed so many of my triumphs and griefs and I could not imagine my life without it.
I love the comfort that comes from my first cup of morning coffee, or a hot chocolate on a cold winter night, the physical feeling of being warmed and awakened.
I love the comfort that comes from being back in my mom’s house during the holidays, staring at a tree full of ornaments we made as kids.
I seek out comfort in the most fleeting moments and intangible ways, because those moments of comfort also bring me peace.
I seek comfort in everything I do and I hate mornings.

For the Love of Reading

Something happens every time you sit in your favourite coffee shop reading a book: you find yourself thinking unfamiliar thoughts, and when you raise your head to watch the people passing you see things differently. You notice the sadness etched in a strangers face as they shuffle by with their head down – shoulders hunched – looking defeated by the world. You notice the young couple, so content to be hand in hand they fail to notice the annoyance of those who are forced to veer around them. When the barista clears your cup from the table in front of you, you find yourself snapped back and then suspended in time with the realization that you’ve never felt the breeze caress your skin just so, or noticed how comforting the smell of coffee can be. You feel that all these things – the sights and smells of a place you know so well – are suddenly foreign, but you’re okay with it. The places you thought you knew, you don’t really know at all. Suddenly everything is mysterious, romantic, filled with a sense of newness you don’t have to search for or travel to find because it has already come to comfortably inhabit your subconscious. You long for it to wash over you, to fill you with that sense of limitless possibility that makes you believe you can do anything in this moment. Even if only for a few more pages.

After turning the last page you get up and start your journey home and on the way you can’t help but notice the way the shafts of sunlight fall across your skin enveloping you in their warmth. You see the way the grass bends to the will of wind. You swear you can taste the brilliance of summer as you turn your face up to the bright blue and the vibrancy of the golden light that holds the world in place. You see, as if for the first time, the people who inhabit your world without ever knowing, remaining completely anonymous even as they become a piece of your story. You feel anonymous yourself, and it makes you more forgiving, more patient, more reflective. In this moment you believe everything is possible and yet you also think everything possible must already exist. You’re struck with this idea you somehow already knew: that the book finds the reader. That stories arrive in our lives to tell themselves, as relevant in the moment we discover them as they were to the author when they wrote the words. And you marvel that you can experience this kind of majesty every time you open a book.

anyone but me

I’m loud, full of love and laughter, and just the tiniest bit broken. Sometimes my emotions get the best of me, often I trip over my own insecurities. I need to be wanted, demand attention, and long for passion. I retreat into books when the world overwhelms me, even though I have a deep desire to be overwhelmed by all this world has to offer. I am a collector of words, but often words fail to encompass the depths of my emotions. I love limitlessly and without expectation; and even though I’m flawed, restless, and a little too blunt at times I wouldn’t want to be anyone but me.


I want to live a life of pure simplicity.

When it’s raining outside I want to curl up by the window with a good book and a warm cup of tea.
I want to write for pleasure, not to prove to someone that what I have to say is important.
I want to be attune with my body’s need and wants, to fall asleep when the sun is still high,
and to wake up to the calm of night, bathed in the glow of moonlight.
I want to live free of the constraints of society.
Forego the concepts of time and wealth and materialism we impose on ourselves.
I want to measure my life’s success in laughter and happiness.
I want to spend my days being sated on words until I find a place of inner peace.

I want to live a life of limitless simplicity where the edges dissipate and I feel infinite.

Chasing Shadows

What I’m trying to tell you is that you should call me back.
Because you’ve set a precedent. Created a routine.
Because you’ve become the voice I need to hear before I go to sleep.
Because you’ve made it impossible for me to get through my day without your insight.
Because when you realize you’ve made a mistake my phone might be dead
And I’ll never know,
Never get to ask,
If you want to stay and chase shadows with me for a little while longer.

People Talking Without Speaking, People Hearing Without Listening

“People talking without speaking, people hearing without listening.”

There seems an abundance of that in my life lately. It’s made it so important to seek out, and be with, the ones who speak meaningfully and listen with both their heads and their hearts; who understand accurately what is between the lines, as well as what is actually being said and felt. We all need at least one person like that in our lives, even if at times it’s not who we expect. So I’m waiting for what I know I need and not settling for what feels right in the moment. I’ve been experiencing a challenging period of change since January, but it’s gradually been getting easier in the weeks since I’ve moved to Toronto. I’ve spent a lot of my time walking through the city anonymously, and finally I’ve been able to breathe deeply and enjoy the peace that comes from inner silence. It feels safe and comforting. I feel inexplicably connected to this city, like it’s home – where I’ve always belonged without even realizing it. The city has embraced and accepted me, as broken as I’ve felt these past few months. There’s a peaceful quiet this city seems to create for me, a perfect way to keep the world at bay.


twenty years from now
i don’t want to be another girl you dated
twenty years from now
i still want to be a part of your life
twenty years from now
when you run into an old friend on the street
and they ask how you’re doing
then bring up my name
twenty years from now
i don’t want you to say
“oh god, I haven’t seen that girl in ages”
twenty years from now
i want you to say
“i’m on my way home to her right now”

After a While (You Learn)

this right now:

After a while you learn the subtle difference between
holding a hand and chaining a soul.

And you learn that love doesn’t mean leaning,
and company doesn’t always mean security.

And you begin to learn that kisses are not contracts,
and present’s aren’t promises.

And you begin to accept your defeats
with your head up and your eyes ahead…

With the grace of a woman,
not the grief of a child.

And you learn
To build all your roads on today,

Because tomorrow’s ground is too uncertain for plans,
and futures have a way of falling down in mid-flight.

After a while you learn that even sunshine burns
if you get too much…

So, you plant your own garden,
and decorate your own soul…
Instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.

And you learn that you really can endure…
you really are strong,
you really do have worth.

And you learn, and you learn…
with every goodbye,

You Learn…

© Veronica A. Shoffstall 1971