Winter 2014: Issue Two


2014: The Year of Reading Women

This year, 2014, is the year to read women authors—or so declares writer and illustrator Joanna Walsh. Her campaign began modestly: a few New Year’s “cartes de voeux” with a suggested reading list and a #readwomen2014 hashtag on Twitter. The Guardian picked up the story in January, however, and readers, writers, booksellers, and literary journals have

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Never a Mother

I have never been a mother to a human child. I have never tried to become one. At one time, I thought it would be my lot in life, but this was more a gloomy conviction born in the depths of depression—I would end up an impoverished single mum—and the opposite of an aspiration, more of

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Always a Mother

No matter what I do, I am a mother. No progeny required to lavish love on my endeavours, whether I am raising eyebrows, the bar, tomatoes, or even a child from my womb, or yours, or hers. It is fine work to knead life’s pliant dough, watch it growing round, fueled by the yeast of

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He Sees the Wonder

Along the edge of the harbor a brown road wiggled its way past clusters of clapboard houses wedged between rocks. Ruth Woodford washed dishes while watching her son, Allan, pitch rocks off the wharf. His face, at sixteen, was gaunt. Dry skin tightly drawn over hollow cheekbones and pale ears like two oversized petals of

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Before Bed

If you look at a mirror in the dark, you see the devil’s face. -My best friend, Diane, at 13 Son Number Three Sitting beside the washbasin resisting squirming and I have to brush his teeth because (the dentist says) children under the age of ten, or is it six I forget now, do not

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Two Poems

Small Wonders The shuffle of her feet as she creeps to my bed, to snuggle me awake. Kissing my cheeks, and whispering, “No, I’m the lucky one.”   Leaving Listen this evening as the quiet East train rushes past streets, and fields, coffee cups, and lies. Ten Mothers say, “I have arrived.” While in the

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Hanging Out the Wash

Ma hangs the wash on the long clothesline in the backyard of our butter-yellow house. The sea rolls in the distance. I watch from my window. When the heat of high summer is a skin and the sea breathes from its deep belly, in the midst of that season heavy with close dreams, she crosses

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The Hollow

I woke into a nightmare and you were there, smiling into dark, cavernous spaces, already calling them home, translucent fingertips pressing my stretching walls and me, aware of your distant vibrations, unsettled and afraid. I cannot conceive you as reality: gauze hair, infinitesimal teeth, film of flesh, aqueous eyes–my eyes, staring back at me. I

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Early December in Toronto

Clouds heavy with snow hang over the city, not yet ready to release wonder. An occasional perfect snowflake escapes, and is suspended between sky and earth. It floats at the whim of a gust of wind, and dissolves into thin, cold air before it reaches the ground. We are gathered in a small house on

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Just Wondering

for Alex The day you turned eighteen snow froze to the ground, a patchwork of chipped ice and sienna grass. Ditches gleamed and clouds cracked to reveal shafts of wan sun, pouring bitter lemon light. Your words fell like snow, soft and cold. They penetrated my skin. “I won’t be home for my birthday next

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The Old Queen Rains

The old queen possesses a cold stare that no doubt caused those around her to tremble uncontrollably. I suspect she never smiled during what my grandmother referred to as “Her Majesty’s sixty-three year reign.” I look up at the yellowed photo hanging on the wall, finally deciding that rain is a very fitting word. She

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The Cling of a Cold Night’s Dreaming

With breakfast I read The Essential Zen carefully ordering the morning marshaling good energies admiring the brush painted circles the kiwi fruit in yoghurt the sunflower seeds in bread the fuzzy bear slippers but nothing is quite strong enough to pull me back together as the black cat sits on the mule post staring with

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Abortion

Do you remember how we talked? Words slowly formed an understanding between us— you wouldn’t come again but you would stay for awhile, I wouldn’t hold you but I would hold your spirit wandering large, looking for a place to land. And I would remember you beyond the passing of seasons. I would remember the

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Silence. Please.

I am trying to learn silence. It’s not easy. I am trying to remove clutter. That, too, is difficult. By silence I mean moments of stillness longer than a few seconds. You know: when nothing hums, beeps, whistles, dings, roars, revs, crackles, or chirps. When no one talks, cries, yells, or mutters. When I can

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A Conversation with Alice Burdick

I met poet Alice Burdick on a snowy morning at the Biscuit Eater Café in Mahone Bay. We sat in winter sun made cozy by the scent of baking, Latin tunes on the CD player, and shelves stacked high with books, including Alice’s latest collection, Holler. We planned to talk poetry and motherhood but first

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Preview: Double Pregnant

Natalie Meisner is a writer from Lockeport, Nova Scotia. She currently lives in Calgary and teaches creative writing, drama, and literature at Mount Royal University. In her forthcoming book, Double Pregnant: Two Lesbians Make a Family, Natalie describes the decision she made with her partner, Viviën, to become pregnant–at the same time. Double Pregnant will be

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