The New Combini

by Sara Truuvert

Sara Truuvert is a Japanese-Estonian writer from Toronto. She completed her MLitt in Creative Writing at the University of St Andrews. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in PRISM international, Arc Poetry Magazine, Bat City Review, and the Literary Review of Canada, among other publications.

 

At last
they open the doors in May,
Mr. and Mrs. Tanaka from Japan.
It’s called a ‘combini’ – a convenience store?
Their son Kenta runs the register
and wants me to call him ‘Ken.’

Soon
the combini is packed all day.
How did they get it all?
The fragrant teas, the packets
of plum candy, noodles, rice cake,
octopus that people line up to eat.

Then, winter
makes the city stand still.
Tanakas are taking over –
the whole block smells like a combini.
I hear their rice cake made a kid sick.
It could have been a Juice Press!

Slow spring.
Less plum candy is eaten.
By a 7-Eleven, someone shoves an Asian man.
He dies on the concrete.
There’s a clearance on fragrant teas.

Summer.
Spadina is quiet.
The octopus sells, modestly.
Kenta, delivering pizza,
bikes down the block.
He still insists I call him ‘Ken.’


Sara Truuvert is a Japanese-Estonian writer from Toronto. She completed her MLitt in Creative Writing at the University of St Andrews. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in PRISM international, Arc Poetry Magazine, Bat City Review, and the Literary Review of Canada, among other publications.

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