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Dream Journal and Interpretation from a Sober, Hungry Addict 

The golden arches fall. A barred owl lays eggs inside the “o” in “McDonalds.”

I ate Big Macs so I can stop using drugs. I used drugs because I could not stomach shame.

My Facebook feed, free of fast-food ads, teaches me to make Grandma’s cabbage rolls.

As a kid, I watched Grandma shake salt on everything.

As a kid, I stripped the rolls of their cabbage and ate only the rice, beef, and pork.

Restaurant debit machines ask, “how are you?” before asking for a tip.

I tip extra when the too-short legs of my table are left napkinless and free to wobble.

I tip extra when the waiter acknowledges I am dining alone.

I tip extra when my fortune cookie predicts the past.



An upgrade from a diet of aluminum foil and smoke.

Everything Breakfast

Because I consumed meals with the speed and teeth of a garburator, my nickname in treatment was “Garby.”

Triple King Burger

2018: Alan and Sam die from fentanyl.
2014: Sober, we stroll Commercial Street. Don’t spend a cent. Don’t eat a thing.


An upgrade from a diet of peanut butter.

House Salad

I will not touch a slug, even if its path leads to splat and I’m the only one who can save it.
I will not touch a house salad, even if its path leads to less trans-fat and it’s the only food that can save me.

Brownie Delight

Sweetness is (and always will be) my tongue’s preferred currency.


My continued sobriety rests on a skill testing question: “Is Pepsi okay?”

Coke versus Pepsi.
Heroin versus coke.


I shed my belly and develop cheese grater abs. Not to flex at the beach or in the bedroom. No, just to grate cheese.

If my stomach is a tool, my body is an overflowing toolshed.


I become a barred owl
and swallow one hundred squirrels.

spenserSpenser Smith is a Regina-born poet and essayist who lives in Vancouver. His work appears in The Malahat Review, Prairie Fire, Contemporary Verse 2, The Capilano Review, Poetry Is Dead, and The Puritan.

18_1coverThis poem was originally published in the digital edition of Vallum issue 18:1 Invisibility.

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