Issue 45: Spring 2019


Madame Flora’s.

by Camilla Grudova

Victoria’s menses stopped. Her nanny looked through her old diaper bustles, the ones that hadn’t been thrown away yet. It had not arrived when it was supposed to. Her nanny checked the diary she kept of Victoria’s menses (‘Light’ ‘Regular’ ‘Thick’ ‘An Odd Smell’). Each sentence was accompanied by a fingerprint of blood, from the moment little Victoria, aged 13, held up a bloody hand saying “Nanny I am dying”, to which Nanny replied that the diaper bustle Victoria had always worn was in preparation for such bleeding and that the bleeding was best called blooming and the blood best called flowers by a young lady. Ladies wore diaper bustles all the time so men wouldn’t know exactly when they were menstruating, it was less obscene that way, the constant taffeta swish swish of the diapers that accompanied women’s movements giving no indication of their …


by Shaelin Bishop

­ Flynn slipped into the Pacific and never got out. This is how it happened: Atop a craggy Haida Gwaii coastline, she hopped from stone to stone. Sh...


by Zak Jones

The leaves of the magnolia were brown and strewn across the lawn. There hadn’t been any snow or wind to hide or sweep them away, only enough to scat...


Ghazal for the New Year.

by Isabella Wang

  I try reaching my father on the landline twice, Für Elise playing on the other end. He puts me on hold, out of reach. The ground, a white she...

Two Poems.

by Annick MacAskill

Mount Pleasant In the southwest corner, near the plastic red and white lamps left on the Ukrainian graves, their translucent hearts beneath the danc...

What Are the Architects Doing?.

by Nancy Lee

Stoned on blueprint ink and Ritalin they mouth concave, convex, titter over groin vaults and flying buttresses, wrestle in sisal remnants behind the...


by K.B. Thors

  my sister helps my dad rip up planks from the deck a ship of theseus under bacon fat for birds, a question of identity I used to care about t...


by Daniel Karasik

If, in my one body, I’d a cock & pussy both, I wouldn’t use them arbitrarily, toggling back and forth on whims. Instead I’d make a calendar: my ...

Two Poems.

by John Emil Vincent

  Young cuckoo seeks nest, bring own feathers Keyed up by the Festival of Naked Youths, and having eaten a particularly suggestive fig, Sophocl...


by Barry Dempster

I find Anna Akhmatova in St. Petersburg, measuring the phrase, the black ice of death across the river from Kresty Prison. She leans back against wh...

Things I’m made of.

by Ugonna-Ora Owoh

  My name rhymes with blood. A house full of mosquitoes, I kill everything I find with wings and tiny and not beautiful like butterflies. My mo...


by Gail Jones

When my mother’s third husband died she put him in an urn with her own name on it, both of them entwined in a heart labelled “soulmates”. This doesn...


by Kit McKeown

  At three, she played the Coppertone girl. At twelve, a prostitute. Boys and men planned murders in her honour, planned to murder her in her h...


OF VICES AND REARS or Why I’ve Stopped Reading Jane Austen.

by Jeremiah Bartram

I’m sick of rereading Jane Austen. Oh, I know, she’s a great writer. I don’t dispute that fact. I’m a fan. I’ve read all her novels many times. I continue to follow the literature about her—including Helena Kelly’s recent attempt to turn her into a twenty-first century, right-thinking feminist. It’s not that I don’t admire her lively characters, and the acuity of her observations, and the way her constant irony bristles with intelligence. It’s her dirty joke. There’s only one in the entire canon. It’s a pun, and it’s still elegant and funny, two hundred years on. It occurs in Mansfield Park, her longest and most difficult novel, the subject of which, she herself says in a letter to her sister, is “vocation,” and whose heroine is wholly passive, her only freedom the dearly-bought power to say “no.” It’s delivered at a dinner party given …


“Horizontally Piled Clouds”: An Interview with Paul Herron of Sky Blue Press.

by Jennavieve McClelland

“I am living too swiftly; the fruits are falling, they are too heavy for the trees. I look at the sky, driving home with Hugo, a sky all in horizontally piled clouds, and I look through it at the infinite liberation of my feelings and my expansion.” (Incest, 242)   Creating a space for oneself is the bridge between spectral living and automation. French-Cuban diarist Anaïs Nin illustrates the tight rope of humanity through her life and work, a gamble of balance enacted by the first drop of black ink. The diary—as document—is a portal to that private river of thoughts and sensations that construct our inner worlds. Nin’s unexpurgated diaries uncover the personal mythology of a woman whose experience intersects language (English, French, Spanish), love (Ian Hugo, Henry Miller, Otto Rank, Rupert Pole), space (Paris, New York, Los Angeles), and time (spanning the entirety …

Staying with the Trouble.

by Brecken Hancock and Sarah Neville

Two old friends on either side of the 49th parallel consider Refuse: CanLit in Ruins (Book*hug, 2018), edited by Hannah McGregor, Julie Rak, and Eri...


Lost Sisters: I Become a Delight to My Enemies.

by Julie McIsaac

Sara Peters’ I Become a Delight to My Enemies is a clever, genre-blending work that portrays a complex and deeply affective picture of feminism and femininity. A largely character-driven work, the individual poems and works of short prose are threaded together by stories of trauma, abuse, lost sisters, and political and personal confusion. The collection is structured around feminine relationships, which are both contrary to and complicit with systems of tyranny. I Become a Delight to My Enemies is one of the first books to be published by Strange Light, an imprint for experimental, boundary-pushing writing from Penguin Random House Canada. This is Sara Peters’ second book. Her first, 1996, was published by House of Anansi Press. Hailing from Antigonish, Nova Scotia and now located in Toronto, Peters has an impressive resume that includes an MFA from Boston University and a stint as a Stegner …