Essential

Winter, 2019–2020 / No. 44
I used to drive to D.A.D.’S Bagels
and eat Indian food at 4 A.M.

O.K., that’s not true.
That would have been insane.

But it was essential
that I could.

They sold Jewish bagels
and freezer-burned Indian food

so spicy, I always
regretted eating it.

Open twenty-hour hours a day:
5732 Sherbrooke Street West.

The cashier often threw in
free onion bhaji so hot

they’d keep my hands warm
on the walk back to the car.

D.A.D.’S Bagels is a now a Dollarama
with birthday decorations near the cash

and a hamburger joint
that’s becoming beloved.

I never went to D.A.D.’S Bagels
to eat Indian food at 4 A.M.

but it was essential
that I could.
Joshua Levy has published work in the Malahat Review, Maisonneuve, the Puritan, and the Feathertale Review. He was CBC's 2018 writer-in-residence, and a winner of the CBC Nonfiction Prize and th Carte Blanche/CNFC Creative Nonfiction Prize. His debut poetry collection, The Loudest Thing, was published in 2019. Last updated winter, 2019–2020.