ISSUE 33: Spring 2016

Fiction.

Sirens.

by Natalie Morrill

They are so like drowned women it chokes us: white-blue skin scourged; ravaged arms raking through a slurry of flaked ice for our booted ankles. We stand with cant hooks readied. A week of their wailing has tendered our ears and the whole bay now is a-ring with it: noise jailed in an arc of forest as these sirens are trapped in this slushed blowhole. If they were not so starved, we guess, they might slip beneath this plain of ice to open water. Yet they will not eat the fish we throw. Their tails shed iridescent salt-scent coins the colour of sea; these we shovel up to stop the children going for them. But the danger is less beauty and more pity. The cold has hacked their voices ragged. They shrill innuendo at us, but there is nothing seductive in it; our throats ache …

Burner Season.

by Ellie Sawatzky

  After his daughter, Lynnie, was asleep, Wiseman stood in the kitchen of his mother’s mobile home, unpacking a box labeled “Kitchen Stuff.” Hi...

Rest and Unrest.

by Adrian McKerracher

For T. N. The day after Rudo Dumisa was released from detention, he was dragged from his bed by six men who beat him in front of his family and forc...

What Have You Done?.

by Mark Paterson

  Keith’s Gum The first week of school, we dressed in our summer clothes and the teachers kept all of the windows open. An easygoing feeling pr...

Poetry.

Two Poems.

by Matthew Tierney

Brainer Loner Princess Spy An apperceptive glance stalls the wall clock’s second hand. It’s my brain, paying out change. It’ll take a moment to explain. Enter the inventor of the time machine. Nerd alert! In no time an invisible hand places a pod inside every garage in suburbia. The flung Frisbee tracks the circumference of the earth. Precisely at Halley’s Comet’s perigee I cinch the cuff links on my rented pleated shirt. It’s not as if she said anything, she said something. But that something could be anything. What we don’t catch is the catch. In between times I’m wearing a wire under my tux underneath a northeastern sky undergoing sidereal collapse.   Closer Than Far, Far Away A shame about the swallows. Twice a year I play the lotto, on my birthday and the day I’m to die. Like fat Elvis, a Tuesday. Woman, …

City of Desire.

by Lisa Grove

after Calvino The men in the bathhouses repeat the scriptures. They say the City of Desire can be reached in two ways: by whale belly or by hand, fe...

The Wet Nurse.

by Julie Eliopoulos

1. The Wet Nurse Speaks Undeliverable. You were stuck, in the inner sanctum, not winged but subterranean. There was no extracting the sliver of your...

A Long Dress.

by Anna Yin

After Gertrude Stein You try to make sense among the invisible threads. You fear to crackle Heaven with violence— the code is under the grey ground ...

2 Poems.

by Paul Vermeersch

IMMORTALITY 1 Because the geniuses are so content, the shoes that will make us faster will never be invented, nor will the bacterial reactors that w...

2 Poems.

by Bardia Sinaee

Return to St. Joseph’s Approaching Parkside from the park, I spot the cross above where, seven months ago, they took me in. Twelve hours of shooting...

Looking Into.

by Tanis MacDonald

  Audio by John Roscoe I plagiarized on my philosophy exam. I looked into the soul of the boy next to me. —Woody Allen They are writing exams a...

Might Have Been.

by JC Bouchard

  With you in the front cab, the windows up cigarette smoke filling the red canvas seats, radio turned up loud to any song by Journey which I m...

Ceiling Roses.

by Klara du Plessis

  (one) The implication if I use the noun rose in lieu of the verb rose. Never misspelling a thing, arranging arousal like flowers.   &nbs...

To a Growth.

by Lisa Richter

  Nameless before the ultrasound, you lurk in my breast, a centimeter or so from the nipple, a pit lodged in a windpipe, all smoldering acorn q...

Two Poems.

by Trina Burke

Vacation Plans Coffee or water I am dried by fire smoked meat fat gelatinous something on my plate get it off get it off in the morning. If I close ...

Food of the Gods.

by David Alexander

  “He was suddenly taken with a vision of wildly growing chicks. He conceived a picture of coops and runs, outsize and still more outsize coops...

Witnesses.

by Kelle Groom

  Rushed to my green jeep parked like a box thin black ties    their love of Jesus Jehovah’s witnesses come to knock on my carved white door  T...

Elegy with Tuba.

by Sue Chenette

  for Don Heeren (1940-2014) and  Jerry Abraham (1932-2014) So many ways to use breath— flare the tinder   cool the soup Yours sped to the flar...

Snowflake.

by JM Francheteau

  Reports that say something hasn’t happened are always interesting to me because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know ...

From the very beginning.

by Jeremy Valentine Freeman Ganem

  That you were committed to “saving the phenomena” by mathematical means, By any means necessary, by anything, anything at all that you could ...

Biography of the Gangster Uncle.

by Stephen Brockwell

  Your Montreal Pool Room combat lesson: “You have a good spear if you have a straight cue. Here, grab it palms down, thumbs up and learn to tw...

Two Poems.

by Christine Minnery

The Duff Lonely in the ting of the overhead current, the mall’s windows overflow with mannequin limbs pinned to spreading boards, pixilated jungles ...

Essays.

Washed.

by Brent van Staalduinen

July 1992       CFB Borden  The Army christens it “Final Ex.” The last exercise: a kind of graduation. Make it through boot camp to face four days in the bush. Show us what you’ve learned, they say. Constant drill, route marches, running across fields, digging shell-scrapes, shooting at imaginary enemies with blank ammunition. We sleep in five-minute batches, learn to crash anywhere. Never stand when you can sit. Never sit when you can lie down. Never, ever lie down without going to sleep. We make our ablutions in the aluminum basins we hump all over the training ground, greasepaint and dirt on our skin like a film we can peel off with our bayonets. You passed, they say, then drive us to the showers. Each of us gets five minutes—a luxury after weeks of a sixty-second limit—to stand in the spray. The water …

Interviews.

A Conversation with Rosemary Sullivan and Jeff Parker.

by E Martin Nolan

Rosemary Sullivan’s Stalin’s Daughter: The Extraordinary and Tumultuous Life of Svetlan Alliluyeva was published by HarperCollins in 2015, and has been widely praised. It won the RBC Taylor prize and the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction, among many other accolades. The book tells the story of Svetlana Alliluyeva, the only daughter of Joseph Stalin. Svetlana, as Jeff Parker suggests below, was “a fantastic heroine.” Her life is fascinating for the historical insight it provides and for unique person that she was. In fact, it is difficult to pry the two apart, for while Svetlana was surely a unique individual, the course of her life is inseparable from the grand historical forces to which she was so close. And so, Stalin’s Daughter expertly twines the two, resulting in an illuminating page-turner of a biography. Jeff Parker’s Where Bears Roam the Sreets was published by …

An Interview with Liz Howard.

by Mary Eileen Wennekers

Liz Howard was born and raised in rural Northern Ontario. She is currently a poet and cognition research officer in Toronto. She received an Honours...

Reviews.

Rhonda Douglas’s Welcome to the Circus.

by Jennifer Quist

Rhonda Douglas must have been one of the big girls already slouched in their seats at the back of the school bus when it emerged from the fog to stop for me under the Gulf gas station sign. That was Atlantic Canada for Generation X kids—Douglas was there and so was I, a little staggered in time, each of us in different east coast towns. I can hear our histories in her fiction, in the “Ferme ta bouche” of her characters’ junior high French class put-downs. They’re at once tiny and immense, densely crowded and lonely. These places are revisited—along with an African refugee camp, World War I France, and a slightly futuristic Alberta where the small town of Drumheller has a Costco store—in her 2015 short story collection, Welcome to the Circus. The book contains ten stories, a two of them winners of …

Andy McGuire’s Country Club.

by John Nyman

  In his review of Ben Ladouceur’s Otter, Stewart Cole describes “what is fast ossifying into the ‘house style’ of many younger Canadian poets (par...

Rachel Rose’s Marry & Burn.

by Laura Ritland

As its title conjures, Rachel Rose’s fourth collection of poetry, Marry & Burn, smoulders with intense lyrical energy and crackles with poetic ...

SVPPLEMENT.

Inheritances: An Introduction to The Puritan Spring 2016 Svpplement.

by Phoebe Wang

“Negotiating with the past” and “dealing with the past” have become common phrases when talking about personal and cultural legacies. The use of this kind of language—the language of transaction—corresponds to the sense of inheritances as the property and material assets left to us by our predecessors, but produces some tricky implications when used to address less tangible, less visible, and less intact legacies. This spring supplement of The Puritan includes works of poetry and fiction, essays, interviews, and an oral history that do not hesitate to leap into negotiations with myths, legends, heritages, lineages, traditions, and traits. These negotiations and dealings must remain unsatisfying insofar as they are unresolveable. There is not the usual type of give-and-take between two parties reaching a fair compromise. The past, manifesting itself in our names and faces, our families and clans, insists on us accepting its terms. Its …