The Shaman Queen

“One more line!” she proclaimed, her tie-dyed skirt flowing to her knees, held together against her chest by two, tightly clenched fists.

I grinned and said, “When shall we three meet again / In thunder, lightning, or in rain?”

She bit back a laugh and replied, “When the hurlyburly’s done / when the battle’s lost and won.”

The three of us cackled, the three witches of Macbeth, the Shaman Queen of Toronto, by the corner of Bloor and Spadina, where I met her, asking for change and cigarettes.

So I adopted her, the feline-inclined, the healer of all sorts of imaginary ailments, the dress that filled my couch for the longest days, browsing through Masterchef and Netflix.

I only ever tried once to ask her about her past, which spontaneously flowed into the question of, what she used to do, before home became out of the question.

She squared her shoulders, and spoke in rhyme, using alliteration and onomatopeia to sugarcoat her lies and lullabies;

Not in exact quotes, but the basic gist was this: lounged in an old man’s bed and sat around looking pretty.

She said, “I guess old, dumb rich men will never run out of young, dumb poor women.”

“You knew what you wanted,” I softened, reaching out for her hand, “so you took it.”

Taken in the form of powder-white crystals lined up in rows neatly against a reflective surface.

“One more line,” she says. This time, I don’t recite Shakespeare.