Issue 41: Spring 2018

Fiction.

Emissaries.

by Youssef Rakha

And he lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground… — Genesis 18:2   The first portent was erotic. My name means light, as you know. But after a knife-sharp simultaneous orgasm—I had nearly died of hyperthermia—the woman I loved took to calling me Nar: fire. In turn I called her by the pharyngeal first letter of her name, the eighteenth of the abjad, which on its own means eye and spring: Ain. The day Aisha and I talked for the first time, she said she had a wound that could be tended but would never heal. I asked her where she meant and, with the subtlest nod, her eyes pointed between her thighs. There was shyness on her lips …

Subject: Sexy Girl Clean House.

by Kathryn Lipari

  Now here’s her idiot brother Kostya pounding on the café window like she’s keeping him waiting. If he doesn’t stop he’ll shatter the glass an...

Hot Pink.

by Kimberly Nichols

It started with a middle stripe of polish on her perfect big toe. Hot pink. The color I imagined her vulva would be. The colour of all those salmon ...

Poetry.

Wrong Number.

by Heather Christle

Wrong Number   The urge to comfort everyone for what happened to them in your dream. The recurring belief that a pulled-up daisy, roots still clumped with dirt, makes for everyone a perfect gift. The impossibility of all other presents. To recognize your wife in a silhouette lineup and still to say nothing. Bookcases that are doors. A tree full of pennies for children. Dust under the covers vs. spot-lit dust. Dust as convict escaping. The souvenir trays at the fair. A magnificence of auctioneers and their sullen apprentice. The need to sweep anywhere outdoors. The need to shift the interior. Years of wisdom on forcing a bulb. The cool and the dark and what doesn’t need them. The illuminated globe of presidents. The cinema’s illuminated milk. Divorce. To intercept a wave in the produce. The strong urge to send it back.   What The …

Lily of Quito.

by Imran Khan

Beneath the sweat Of my dive-bombing seventy-year-old flesh, my cradle of rib, Destruction’s hollow Bell tolled. I begged you for safety, Tied lilie...

Obits.

by Tess Liem

Obit I bet everything old will be new again. Obit, a commute. Everything hot will get cold again. Rush hour will summon those who can take it, cloth...

Confirmation Bias.

by Ivanna Baranova

at least in our waking life most commemoration doubles as force since even the most benign zodiacal conceptions are tinged eurocentric when brown wo...

Water.

by Kathryn Mockler

  If you are feeling hopeless, then give up hope. I won’t tell anyone. I won’t tell you to put on a brave face or feel better about yourself. I...

How To Fold A Paper Crane.

by Genevieve DeGuzman

  1. I wish I could take it back, pick through dirt to find the casing to put the bullet back in. 2. Reverse engineer us. Is it like walking ba...

Subaruminant.

by Dominique Bernier-Cormier

The bison in Montana judged us like well-upholstered X-ray machines. We left them behind. Over Michigan the sky finally adjusted its glasses. Céline...

Acid Trip in a Portapotty.

by Aaron Kreuter

Plastic space ship, time capsule phone booth. Last townhouse in a row bordering a suburb of tents, a downtown of hill and stage. Blue walls, sweet c...

Essays.

The House Concert.

by Gillian Turnbull

Inside, this house is like so many other Calgary homes. Up carpeted steps, on which we discreetly wipe stockinged feet drenched by puddles at the front door. Into the main room, whose sound carries over the barrier of wrought iron slats overlooking the stairs. The room circles around into a kitchen; two separate entries so guests can flow between the drink station on the counter and their chair. I slide into the second-last row, directly beside a kitchen entry. Chairs are mashed together, legs overlapping; a couch in the back row seems comfortable, but it is too low to see the stage. I’m between a woman with a long braid and my companion for the night. We clink beer cans, lean back. I want to cross my legs but there isn’t enough room. Stifling heat inside, a blizzard outside. I can hear it howling, trying …

Interviews.

“The Atlantic is Full of Ghosts”: An Interview with Alexandra Lucas Coelho.

by Maria Meindl

I first learned of Alexandra Coelho’s work at a panel discussion she was on, called “Literature Under Authoritarianism.” It was and event put on by the Disquiet literary program in Lisbon, in the summer of 2017. The panel was on the fourth floor of the Aljube, the museum of resistance. It’s located not far from the Alfama district, a dense web of streets still preserved from mediaeval times. Aljube means “dry well” in Arabic. Built under Moorish rule, this place has almost always served as a prison, most recently housing opponents of the dictatorship that ruled Portugal from 1926 to 1974. Prisoners were tortured and murdered here. Some were kept for extended periods of time in cells called “drawers.” They were one meter by two meters in size. When I tried to get to the auditorium the elevator went down instead of up and I …

“Why not just kindness?”: An Interview with Joey Comeau.

by David Nilsen

Joey Comeau is the author of four novels and the web comic A Softer World. His work has been nominated for the ReLit and Shirley Jackson awards, has appeared in Best American Non-Required Reading and The Guardian, and he has been profiled in Rolling Stone. He lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia. I first became acquainted with Joey through the beloved A Softer World, which he created with photographer Emily Horne. The pair published the comic for 12 years, from 2003 to 2015. In those dozen years, their comics—constructions of simple photography and few words—played with themes of tragedy, transgression, mental health, friendship, vice, and impish humor, and made a lot of us feel less alone. When I read Joey’s fiction, including the horror novel The Summer Is Ended and We Are Not Yet Saved and the short story collection It’s Too Late to Say I’m …...

Reviews.

A Life Parallel: A Review of Sina Queyras’s My Ariel.

by Kasia van Schaik

  “Judging your mother is like throwing a boomerang.” This quote by the late Quebec novelist Nelly Arcan serves as the nerve centre of Sina Queyras’s new poetry collection, My Ariel. This “boomerang effect” propels the narrative structure of the book; it motivates the voices that, refracted by the frustration and exhaustion that so often accompany female ambition, reverberate between communities of women writers and their predecessors. As a writer and a new mother, the speaker acknowledges that she is “looking for role models. I cannot trust the model inside myself.” In this search, the speaker confronts her own mother, and analyzes her position in the family, with her partner and their newborn children. The speaker considers how becoming a mother prompted her to turn to Sylvia Plath, the “mother” of future generations of confessional poets and women writers—whether they like it or not. The …