‘I Am Nine’ wins inaugural 506 Streetcar Project writing contest

Susana Molinolo, the winner of the 506 streetcar writing contest, at the Gerrard Ashdale library March 31. PHOTO: Anna Killen

The winner of the inaugural 506 Streetcar Project writing contest has been announced.

Susana Molinolo is a writer, producer, community builder, and mother of two. She is working on her first novel, The Buddha Luck. More of her writing can be found at instagram.com/foodplayground.

The contest was organized by the Ashdale Writers Group and cosponsored by the Gerrard-Ashdale Library, the Gerrard India Bazaar BIA, and Beach Metro News.

Organizers thanked writers who entered.

“The prompt of the 506 was deliberately broad and gave us everything from children’s stories to poems, with fantasy and mystery stories in the mix, too.”

I Am Nine

By Susana Molinolo

I am nine.

These things on my feet feel so weird – first

winter boots.

For my first winter in Canada.

Why are they so heavy?

Why is the snow so pretty,

but the walk to school and back home

is so mean?

I only have one friend. She is magical.

Today she is my red balloon,

floating next to me.

She is always whistling and yawning, and

every day when she sees me,

she taps her heels in secret codes

to remind me that I’m not alone.

Yesterday she was silver and gold

leaning into the afternoon sun

like a beautiful old woman

in a fancy lace shawl and a well-ironed skirt

all dressed nice, just to go across the city for

fresh bread

like my abuela.

At night she is alive, wide-awake, a crystal

ball.

I always see teenagers laughing with their

arms tangled around the poles.

So much fun inside their talking.

A shiny celebration, except sometimes I see

faces

that look like mine.

Faces staring at the street, and dark-grey

sadness pouring from the windows.

After school she is different too.

Muddy ankles. Muddy chin.

I can’t see the people behind the dirty windows.

Winter is splashing everywhere

everything is messy

especially on my tongue, twisted and quiet

because English is so hard.

Then one day, I can finally sing O Canada!

I am so happy – even inside the boiling-hot

portable.

At night the rented apartment windows are

wide open

and my English is getting better.

Is that why I can hear the streetcar, even in

my dreams?

Dear 506 streetcar friend,

Did you know then, that you were my only

friend?

You always showed up, even on the loneliest

days,

those throat-aching days

when I was so alone and I could not speak

English.

You were my magic space ship.

You were my teacher.

You were a funny clown,

always playing, hello-goodbye-hello-again.

You were there, screaming and fighting

back, trying your best to save me – when

the bullies would shove me in the snow.

I know how hard you tried, to be my red

dragon. Thank you.

I’m now a grown woman, living at the east

end of the line.

I see you from my house, kissing Eastwood

with your bright red lipstick mouth.

I have never met anyone like you.

Royal-red enigma.

Spectacular-spiced-lady.

Lady 506.


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