Issue 1: Fall 2013

Welcome to Understorey Magazine

Welcome to the first issue of Understorey Magazine, stories of motherhood in Nova Scotia. We are very pleased to publish new writers, new works by established writers, and visual art from women around the province. Through diverse artistic styles and personal experiences, our contributors have created a full cast of women and mothers: the joyous,… Continue Reading Welcome to Understorey Magazine


I met someone. You can call her what you want. I'm going to call her biological mother for now. Jesus, we look alike. We’re a little lost. We talk and talk. Jesus, we sounds alike. We order green tea and forget to drink it. Questions, answers Questioned, answered Cheekbones, same talk talk talk Expressions, similar… Continue Reading Reunion

Remembering Marie On the Eve of the Millennium

What does it feel like to know you are going to die not die like everyone must. But die because the one who says he loves you who says he will always love you who says if you leave him he will kill you because he loves you so much he wants no one else… Continue Reading Remembering Marie On the Eve of the Millennium

At the Bookmobile: Helen Keller Gives Counsel

Suppose we live out of darkness. Are our bright words any less true? If I say the sword-flash of river or you say the streets of Paris, is it forgery? We are kin, raised by women who ran their lives against the poor house, magnolia and bog laurel pressed between the same dusty pages. Some… Continue Reading At the Bookmobile: Helen Keller Gives Counsel


Mum was up smoking at the window. Tapping ashes into the sink. Nini's dead, I told her. I put her last bottle of blueberry jam on the table. Mum took straight off past me with her cigarette. Cross the gravel in bare feet like God said it, not me. So I set about making toast… Continue Reading Catfood


She was drunk. Lip gloss stained beyond the limits of her mouth. Skimpy polyester blouse Clingy, plunging Nude push up bra, worn, faded, peeking through Pitiful cleavage She was lonely. Designer jeans not intended for a forty year old body. Flashy sequined pockets Tight, MILF-Y Jewels glistening crushed hopes and dreams Muffin top She was… Continue Reading Empty


Yes, I am a Feminist. No, I do not hate men. Yes, I believe women are still oppressed. No, I have never burned a bra. Yes, I wear one. No, I am not a lesbian, but so what if I were? Yes, I wear make-up. No, I don’t like the color pink. Yes, I have… Continue Reading Rant

Spring Poem

When I woke up this morning two birds were inside the cage of sticks I’d struck in the ground for peas. Below them, a green reception of wet vines. Weeks before I’d gone into burnt pasture and cut alders before they leafed. I plumped cold ground. I pressed cloudy seeds. I swept away little stones.… Continue Reading Spring Poem

12 Weeks Along

There you are with your comma-shaped body your ball-point eyes your scotch tape skin your paperclip limbs I put a yellow sticky-note on my belly our first game of Hide and Seek Don’t peek, little baby You’re not ready for this world yet I haven’t bought you any onesies You’d been chilly, naked baby so… Continue Reading 12 Weeks Along

On My Dining Room Table

You won’t find heirloom silver, Royal Albert China or a cut glass crystal vase—all trashed in exchange for that second-hand leather-bound copy of Nicholas Nickleby in its original ornate well-kept box. A History of Art Impressionism essential to answer her question: how do I define ‘neoimpressionsm’. A fat ragged, coverless dictionary, the ‘u’ page is… Continue Reading On My Dining Room Table

A Story Under a Story

A story. A story under a story. And a story under that, and behind that one, and—wait!—there is another, larger one. When my first child was born, the doctor threatened forceps, and so I pushed. But once out of my body, my son seemed never to want to be close again; for a decade as… Continue Reading A Story Under a Story

New Books: Milk Fever

Milk Fever by Lissa M. Cowan Demeter Press, 2013 The “wet nurse” now seems an antiquated term and obsolete profession, but only a hundred years ago wet-nursing was common throughout the world and remains so in many cultures today. Canadian author Lissa M. Cowan was fascinated by the practice of wet-nursing, particularly the long-held notion… Continue Reading New Books: Milk Fever

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