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Past Issue

Cover Image: Contest Winners by Tetro Designs
Summer 2018, Volume 39, No.2
Volume 39, No. 2, Summer 2018
Prairie Fire turns 40! To celebrate, we made a BIG issue featuring over fifty writers in three sections: Our annual writing contest winners, writers from our early years and Winnipeg writers never before seen in PF! Come join the party and check out new work by David Arnason, Di Brandt, Erna Buffie, Patrick Friesen, Lorna Crozier, Kristjana Gunnars, Catherine Hunter, Margaret Sweatman & many, many more! 

Table of Contents

Matthew Hollett—Darkroom, Daydream
Eya Donald Greenland—The Bath Lottery
Christine Miscoine—Tessa
Erin Pryce—The Unsolvable Problem
Tammy Armstrong—Old Horses Make Whisper
Ben Ladouceur—The Green Carnation
Conyer Clayton—What You Actually Lost
Patricia Robertson—Questionnaire
Jagtar Kaur Atwal—Take Me Away
Suzanne Nussey—A Recent History Of Fear In North America: A Memoir
Marion Agnew—Hours Of Daylight
Robin K. MacDonald—Roadkill Heart
Gregory Grace—The Disappearance Of Children
Joanne McDowall—If We Fly
George Amabile—Panning The Narrows
Lorna Crozier—Butterflies
Anne le Dressay—Mental Health Day
Paul Savoie—Un Matin Pas Comme Les Autres
Sandra Birdsell—What I Learned On The First Day Of School
Arthur Adamson—Poetry Calling
Grant Guy—The Death Of God
Jacqui Smyth—At Fourteen
Patrick Friesen—The Discipline Of Secrets
Victor Enns—Reading Mary Oliver
David Arnason—Days And Nights In The City
Neile Graham—Petraphilia
J.M. Bridgeman—Equinox
Jim Tallosi—Walking Through A Deer
Kristjana Gunnars—The Believer
J.R. Léveillé— Erased De Kooning
Di Brandt—Lazhuward
Maurice Mierau—Olga
Catherine Hunter—The Reader
Dennis Cooley—They Come Down With A Bad Case Of Poetry
Margaret Sweatman—Sue Luvs Luc
Clarise Foster—Harder Green
Myron Turner—Meditation
J. Robert Ferguson—Two Poems
Erna Buffie—Cleaning Day
Rachel Burlock—At Victoria Beach
Graeme Houssin—The Comeback Squid
Jody Baltessen—Invasion Studies
Mela Renard—Hannah’s Bath
Christina Hajjar—Tumbleweed
Hannah Foulger—Travellers
Jonathan Dyck—On Not Learning To Speak German
Linda Trinh—Incense And Ancestors
Karla Korman—Roman Catholic Graveyard Walk, Ste. Anne, MB
Trevor Graumann—Des Trappistes
Teresa Horosko—Just Past The Alfalfa Fields
Debbie Strange—Taking The Pulse Of Winter



Marion Agnew
Jagtar Kaur Atwal
Teresa Horosko
Robin K. MacDonald
Suzanne Nussey
Linda Trinh


David Arnason
Sandra Birdsell
J.M. Bridgeman
Erna Buffie
Hannah Foulger
Mela Renard
Eya Donald Greenland
Kristjana Gunnars
Matthew Hollett
Graeme Houssin
Joanne McDowell
Maurice Mierau
Christine Miscoine
Erin Pryce
Margaret Sweatman


Arthur Adamson
George Amabile
Tammy Armstrong
Jody Baltessen
Di Brandt
Rachel Burlock
Conyer Clayton
Dennis Cooley
Lorna Crozier
Jonathan Dyck
Victor Enns
Joel Ferguson
Clarise Foster
Patrick Friesen
Gregory Grace
Neile Graham
Trevor Graumann
Grant Guy
Christina Hajjar
Catherine Hunter
Karla Korman
Ben Ladouceur
Anne Le Dressay
J.R. Léviellé
Patricia Robertson
Paul Savoie
Jacqui Smith
Debbie Strange
Jim Tallosi
Myron Turner

Fiction Excerpt
Sue Luvs Luc
BY Margaret Sweatman

I’VE COME TOO LATE TO THE BURNING WORLD. Which makes this apocryphal, which is alternative. Everything is going fast and smooth. Like eating instant noodles raw. As soon you think of something, noodles for instance, it’s in your mouth. Poisoning you. That’s the fullness of time. That’s what’s happening here, on the road with my mother.
We’re doing 120k when it’s a passing lane and about 60 most of the time because this is what they’re pretending is Canada. We don’t have air conditioning in the Honda, it broke. And I’m glad to feel something, heat or anything. What in days of yore was touch is now local anesthetic. Sensuality, nightgowns, wives asking to be tied to the bedposts. Hear that sonic boom? It broke the mirror.
It’s a beautiful planet, viewed from here on the road. We’ve had some laughs. I’ll probably always like making my mother laugh. My mother is a stolen soul. She pretends, even to herself, that she likes my music. The present times are inconclusive, a false start with reverb, which is parody. I bear my burden. I move sideways on the sands of doom. The trees are going riot, stunning. If we were to really stop and breathe it in we’d explode, which would be a spiritual thing but we’d never make it to Toronto.

Poetry Excerpt
BY J. Robert Ferguson

A friend of a friend from out west
comes calling to the verdant college town
where I live like a bandit king, where I drink
wine made from dumpstered apricots by a stone bridge
over the Speed River (or was it the Eramosa?)
I read Max Stirner, pack on
ill-gotten weight, eating stolen wheels of brie.
I’ve forged a new aristocratic, deadbeat identity
while the southern Ontario summer sprawls
leans into farmland, stretches its arms and yawns.
I have sticky fingers. I smell of rot.
I believe I am happy. I’m probably not.

Non-Fiction Excerpt
Hours of Daylight
BY Marion Agnew

This is a story of fury and furies.
The next night, Mom gets up three times to go the hallway bathroom. Each time I hear her, I hold my breath until she shuffles back to the master bedroom. I wonder whether Dad wakes up, too.
At breakfast, we sit bleary-eyed over the standard morning meal—cereal, toast and coffee, followed by a devotional reading. My father and I are never cheerful in the morning, and my mother, who once loved morning, seems unusually subdued. I decide to take Mom for a walk this afternoon, after church and lunch. Maybe that will help us all get some sleep.
Mom pushes her chair back from the table and stands up. She smoothes her skirt and heads toward the stairs.
“Here, where are you going?” Dad snaps. “We haven’t read the Upper Room yet. Get back here.”
I cringe in my chair, croaking out, “Hey.”
He yells over me. “Get over here and sit down.”
In one motion, he pushes his chair back and is at Mom’s side. I half-stand. He places his hands lightly on her shoulders and steers her back to her chair.
Mom and I sit down at the same time. She stares at her plate, her mouth drawn, and picks up her knife to sweep toast crumbs into small piles.
Meanwhile, Dad marks the devotion booklet with a ballpoint pen from the stash in his shirt pocket. Then he reads aloud.
Tension buzzes in my ears, drowning out his words. I flinch when he thrusts the book at Mom.