‘Eclipse Year’ by Jeff Parent

keep the kids at home
I’ll do the walking today

quest the coronal landscape
where we used to walk and where those walks led

for what’s there that ages
but never seems to leave

Everlasting Gobstoppers telephone booths
the fundamental cling of narrative

which I’ve been assured is illusory
and should be chalked up to experiments with a new pen

but anything can be an ingredient
if you stir it in long enough

mealy-mouthed day-campers troubling the Metro
sure as furniture in the dark

uncles-in-law spilling from the Haraiki Pub
turned insubstantial by the sudden lack of context

a breed of budgerigar prone to tumours
falling to the steps of the Madre Dei Cristiani

some misplaced version of God
pulling it all together with eyes closed


JEFF PARENT is a dad, comic book enthusiast, and some kind of poet. His poems have been published by The Fiddlehead, Words(on)Pages, Lemon Hound, and The /tƐmz/ Review, amongst others. Jeff is currently enrolled in a Creative Writing MA at Concordia University and lives in Sherbrooke, Québec.

Copyright © 2019 by Jeff Parent. All rights reserved.

‘Between Seasons’ and ‘Butterflies’ by Ksenija Spasic

Between Seasons

Fall is what happens to you.
Spring is what happens after you.

When snow lets go of dead things
and summer hasn’t collected them yet
in all its chitiny claws and mouths,
you see the heron’s wing-workings: tendon, bone and feather.
You know it.
You know it, but the high
of all the white sucked up
explodes in blue immortality.

And every year, you outlive yourself,
until you don’t.

The world is parched:
swamp blazes azure,
chalk-green lake withdraws,
exposing shores of shells – ghost riches,
fields of undead grass
rise up in hissing gold.

Don’t hasten sleep.

Take stock.

This is the gap, the sandbar
gasp in the flow.

The trees are tinder;
grit your heart – make fire!

Before the rain falls.

 


 

Butterflies

When the sun hits the poplar, it chimes
and there is a sky meringue brewing.

So what if some of the blue is tense
and a little snow falls?

So what if the sting of being is a little blunted?

I spent the day talking to my mother about adultery,
her green and violet eyelids like wilted butterflies.

I know where I’m headed;
doesn’t stop me wanting
to tear through your chest into the day still ringing hard with winter.

 


KSENIJA SPASIC is a poet, English professor and visual artist who is trying to keep her heart susceptible and her words agile.

Copyright © 2019 by Ksenija Spasic. All rights reserved.

 

 

‘Mothers’ by Judy Fischer

I decided long ago to be a mother
To have a baby of my own
The woes of motherhood, obscured
The trials and tribulations unknown
The tiny thing, so pink and soft
Instantly captured my heart
Emotionally and mentally
I was invested from the start
Clinging for safety and nurture
The baby gripped my breast
From morning to night
Comfortable in my arm’s youthful nest.
With a tender touch I was the guide
Through scrapes, bruises and fears
Failures and successes
Boyfriends and tears
Driver’s license, new car
Graduation and cheers
And the years passed with speed
The once clingy baby
The product of my seed,
Was ready for life, and left
Into the world far away
Never looking back
To see if I was okay.
I stand alone now
The cord ripped from my womb
Will I be useful again?
Before they place me in my tomb.
Maybe one day my child will understand
When a baby will appear in her heart
The role I played in her life
Was my life’s best part.
And, as the circle of life
Will become clear and shear
When her child, too, walks away
I pray to God
She will be okay.

 


JUDY FISCHER is a Montrealer by love and choice. She is the author of He Fell from the sky and Missy Loves René, two books published in the last two years.

Copyright © 2019 by Judy Fischer. All rights reserved.

‘For You’ by Sohini Chatterjee

Writing a poem is like reaching across scalding history for you
Skin peeled off flesh, bereaved, mourning archived scars for you.

Writing a poem is like turning sunshine to amber, memory too hollow
Weighted sorrow, failed metanoia, ossified guilt in letters for you.

Writing a poem is like taming fire in full regalia, jumping off the cliff
Holding my breath 90 seconds too long, heaving ashes in ink for you.

Writing a poem is like courting ornate melancholia—waiting for meadowlark
Absent songs, so replaced with grief, laughing at amnesia, starves symphonies for you.

Writing a poem is like petals a plenty forgotten on the third line in the fourth book
Holding secrets in ignis fatuus, searching for the ringlet, so many scriptures were burnt for you.

 


SOHINI CHATTERJEE holds an MA in International Relations which does not explain her literary inclinations. She is from India and her poems have so far appeared in Coldnoon: Travel Poetics, Rag Queen Periodical, Café Dissensus Everyday, Quell Bell and Whisper and Roar: A Feminist Literary Collective. Chatterjee identifies as a feminist and dabbles in writing and research focused on gender and politics.

Copyright © 2019 by Sohini Chatterjee. All rights reserved.

‘us’ by Jeanne Perreault

not a cry for help,
it’s a resolved, half-choked sob.
it’s raking through my body,
i feel it running in my blood, ripples coming at the surface but
never breaking the skin.
it stays deep undersea,
beside sunken thoughts and fears;
it shrinks from the surface,
we form a great pair.
they can see the ripples on my skin
as a mildly disturbed river,
vindication, they cannot see the tumultuous sea beneath,
where the waves crash against one another
violently, dark like blood;
this is how the single tear forced out
finds its way into the vessels –
troubling the whole body – never letting
it rest.

 


JEANNE PERREAULT is an undergraduate student at McGill double majoring in English Literature and Latin American Studies. They enjoy writing poetry, going to museums and reading about strong women.

Copyright © 2019 by Jeanne Perreault. All rights reserved.

‘DAUGHTERS’ by Lynda Lesny

In ten years or so
The daughters of some of the men
Perched at a crowded patio on a busy city sidewalk
Sipping payday beer
Will be old enough to become body parts.
Meat to be graded on a beauty-pageant scale of One to Ten
Evaluated for worth based on the “Would-You-Bang-Her?” chart.
But right now family is the furthest thing from the minds of these men.
And they’ve forgotten all about “checking their boys.”
The drinks are working their magic.
The credentials between their legs have once again taken charge of the situation
And like so many times before
They’ve let themselves get caught up in performing for each other.
Each of them is totally absorbed in seeking approval
Scoring points
From the very same gaze that they aim
Laser-like
At all the invisible women
Daughters of other men
Passing by their section of the world.
Just for fun
They shout out crude catcalls
Empty echoes of what they think the other guys want to hear.
They spread their privilege like subway legs
Comment loudly on the shapes and sizes of female body parts
Walking by.
This is just another one of their spectator sports
Locker-room immunity attached
Another one of those pissing contests that they use to establish dominance
To broadcast chest-beating masculinity.
They’re just having fun.
Later on
Once they’ve parted company and made their way back to their respective homes
Maybe there will be a daughter waiting
A little girl who will run and greet her daddy at the door
Happy that he’s made it home
Back from wherever
Long used to the smell of beer on his breath.
Maybe the man will take a few minutes to ask his little girl about her day
Once he’s showered off the world and some of its ugly dust
Home being where the heart is
And all of that.
And maybe he’ll wonder if now is the time that he should finally let his little princess know
That soon
Very soon
The inherited gaze of posturing males will reduce her to a plaything
To a few cuts of meat
An assemblage of parts built for performance
But that everything will be okay
Because Daddy will always be there to protect her.

 


LYNDA LESNY lives in Sudbury, ON, and has had her poems published in The Pendle War Poetry AnthologyTalent NorthSulphurUnderstoreyThe Silver Birch PressThe Windsor Review, among others. In 2018, her poems, “Flight” and “Reconnect” were included, respectively, in the Greater Sudbury poetry projects Raining Poetry and Poetry on the Trails. She continues to attend local Open Mic events and to submit her work to Canadian and international publications.

Copyright © 2019 by Lynda Lesny. All rights reserved.

‘Women I Know’ by Danielle Wong

Sustenance in Bread
To my Mom

Flour flies on her face
as she throws more
onto the dough she kneads.
With precision and imperceptible speed she packages the dough
into bread pan after bread pan.
She dances around the kitchen
pulling out fresh bread
from the oven
and replaces them
with new ones
loaf after loaf
kneaded
packaged
thrown in the oven
pulled out of the oven.
Flour flies
and lands
on the ceiling
the floors
in her hair.
The last loaf finally baked
she takes it out
like all the other loaves.
Bare-handed.
Flour-handed.
She smiles.
We sit at the table,
milk and brown sugar ready.
She slices one loaf.
She sits with us.
After school treat.
Maybe this feast will be dinner.

 


 

Calling

I watched her dance
with every step
up and over
rocks, twigs, and roots
and heard her thank
the trees, the rocks, the earth for guiding her. I heard voices
familiar and unheard before:
my mother, her father, and his. They danced alongside her
and sang, and skipped, and smiled as deeper into the woods we went. I watched her dance
while I was pulled up and away, torn between staying with her
and joining them.

 


DANIELLE WONG is a poet and author of short fiction. She has a collection of poetry about life with a child with special needs titled Bubble Fusion. Some of her other work is found on Soft Cartel and in various anthologies, such as Lean InThe Way Through, and Overture. She showcases some of her work on her website, https://daniellewong.ca, as well. She was born and raised in Saskatchewan, but now lives in Montreal.

Copyright © 2019 by Danielle Wong. All rights reserved.

‘Empty’ by Preeti Vyas

I thought of making some tea last night,
To fill my empty body up,
With something warm.

But you know, everything is dead cold inside,
I couldn’t feel the warmth,
The tea dripped in the hollow chamber within me.

I couldn’t feel it moving,
It dripped down my throat, hitting the abyss,
I have lost the sensation.

My legs are shivering,
My fingers are numb,
My eyes are sunken.

I need someone to prepare the fire for me
To heat up my feet and my whole body,
It’s icy cold, I am telling you.

 


PREETI VYAS is an engineering graduate student from India studying at McGill University, Montreal, Canada. You may call her an amateur artist or poet. You can frequently find her in old bookstores in Montreal reading her recent poems about life, work, nature, and love. Sometimes, singing them in melody. She is a jolly, optimistic person who often gets overwhelmed by the intricacies of life and channels her thoughts through words or colors. She maintains her work in her personal poetry blog called Zenith.

Copyright © 2019 by Preeti Vyas. All rights reserved.

‘Dido’s assertion if she had exiled Aeneas from Carthage’ by Sofie Athanasia Tsatas

do you really think I needed you,
that I would cry and weep and let you stay,
my kingdom has prospered again since your exile –
the cobblestones sang when your horses hooves left their place upon them,
the pillars grew taller,
the people smiled and laughed, and celebrated your absence,
the air smelled fresher, no more of treachery,
and I, Queen of Carthage,
never felt more powerful,
than when I kicked off your boat
to the next land
that would ruin you.

 


SOFIE ATHANASIA TSATAS is an aspiring writer and music historian currently pursuing her Master’s degree at the University of British Columbia. She received her Bachelor’s degree from McGill University and currently spends her time between Montreal and Vancouver. Her love of reading and writing poetry came to her in a moment of self-struggle with mental illness and so it has helped her to heal and move forward. She hopes that her poetry can do the same for others, and she one day plans to publish books in both poetry and music history.

Copyright © 2019 by Sofie Athanasia Tsatas. All rights reserved.

‘Floralscapes’ by Emily Sweet

The Keeper of Calla Lilies

She grows into the garden she tends,
Wind streaming through her hair.
Bluebells stirring in response,
Startled by the sudden gust,
Rubbing together in reassurance.

Harnessing the rush of the hose,
Gnarled hands,
Receiving cold refuge from the tired sun,
Legs sturdy as sunflower stocks.

Haphazard Hair,
Toppling as wild leaves,
Springing from a hedge of neglect,
She abandons the bush for a flower plot,
Spiking her hair as a guilty tribute,
A reminder of sprouts once shaped.

Cala lilies clamor,
Pale petals brush,
Softer than a tender lover’s touch
Poppies blush red in jealousy
Stems sway
Brittle seeds cluster
An escalating envy
The weather warms their fire
Bloodlust.

She sits amidst the outrage
Her cheeks flush with hope
Dirt clumps to her clothes
Not wanting to leave her side
In return
For housing grains of ground
She is given garden wisdom.

Powerful as a tree trunk
Rooted in gentle insight
She sprinkles spring water
Quelling parched spirits
Rivalries depart
Rising as warm steam
Daisies reach out in thanks
Vines overlap
As seamlessly as conjoined notes
Words softly rustle from her lips
Shivering in her throat before breaking into air.

“My vibrant flowers float in my mind,
Even as the moon distorts their shades,
With my garden I am entwined,
So as the world around me fades,
With my marigolds outside, with what shall I fill my head?
I could wind up my mind like ivy,
But I end up in a garden of wonders instead.”


 

Life Beneath His Sole

My dream house.
Full of flowers,
Devoid of flies.
Filled with laughter,
Starved of lies.

Vines hug the sandy walls
Crawling slowly, carefully.
Flat feet some call leaves
Pitter patter protectively

The neighborhood watch comes to town,
Peering eyes and rules abound
These weeds adorning your fence,
Don’t look appealing for potential residents

The dandelion heads,
Held high and true,
Have supported me long before you.

Pull them up, they did say,
Or our new gardener will head your way

I spied a man of the straggler sort,
The gardener tromping in.
He’s victim
To the beck and call of nosey neighbors.
He’s cloaked
By wisps of dawn
The grim reaper of dandelions

The man they sent to uproot my weeds,
Didn’t have the pleasure of witnessing their fruition from seeds.
The sprouts added color to snow covered ground,
Telling me that hope could always be found.
Reaching heavenward, they found the sun
Turning yellow to match its shade
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

He began to tug, pull and huff,
Floral leaves fell from their communal centers.
The petals settle in sordid soil
By the worms they are eagerly engulfed
Yellow splashes of sunshine:
Dandelions fashioned from their ancient idol, sun,
Were trampled under cheap plastic work boots.

Life decays fast
human-made waste is built to last
Decades after my dandelions disappear
Those repulsive work boots will still be here

What is more of value…
A fleeting wonder or a lasting disgrace?
Moments of life are encapsulated in time
Through the gaze of my hapless dandelions
So pure and innocent
Hardly lasting as long as I.
When they are old and gray,
In one breath I can blow them away.
My exhale scatters their seeds,
Sending future generations into the breeze.
Their life has passed us by.

Yet long after I am dead,
When in the casket they lay my head,
The plastic in the gardener’s boots will outlive me,
For years after I’ve been laid peacefully.
My dandelion friends,
Once with a complexion of cheer,
Are dust in synthetic treads
The device with which they met their demise,
The murder weapon.
These boots survive my cries.

The shoes protected the gardener’s feet
Ensuring it would be over soon,
As he snuck to my gate at dawn
Removing the “weeds” at last

Beautify the neighborhood
Increase the wealth, by any means
Shrugging as the chainsaws scream
We need more things and less of the living!

But my so-called weeds still loved me,
They held firm in the ground
Wanting to stand tall.
Live beauties,
Playing tug a war for my love,
With a sigh they gave way to the gardener’s glove
Hands skilled in the art of removing life
Clumps of their bodies lay still
Upon the newly-paved road
Laid in the breeze to ease the journey of new tires
Enticing new buyers
Buy, buy, bye.

Goodbye to my yellow friends,
Who now lay flat,
My sunshine trampled.

A streetlamp was soon erected
See, a better bet than weeds
But all I see are the dark shadows he leaves
Casting pale yellows into darkness
No cheery bright hues
But the mosquitos were sure enthused
He’s the sun’s sickly rival,

He rudely intrudes through a bare window,
Shining his light where he’s not welcome
Peeking through my eyelids
Prodding me to react
Reminiscent of the street-wide sea
Of clipped lawns,
Drenched in a shade of chemical green.
Prime pickings for a potential purchaser
Snuffed out,
Like my hopeful dandelions,
Was the light inside of me
And my hope for a world joined in serendipity.


EMILY SWEET is an award-winning poet. She enjoys writing articles and has most recently been published in Reader’s Digest and Goodlife Fitness Magazine. Emily is an English and Philosophy student at York University who wishes to be a teacher. Her love of nature, which enhances her appreciation for life, coaxes her to create.

Copyright © 2019 by Emily Sweet. All rights reserved.