Summer 2023, Volume 44, No. 2


It’s the winners of the 2022 writing contests! Also featuring work from Margaret Sweatman, Cooper Skjeie, Robbie Chesick, Eric Wang & more!

Cover image by Tétro.


Jody Baltessen
Robbie Chesick
Danielle Hubbard
Claire Matthews
Suzanne Nussey
Cooper Skjeie
Kathleen Wall
Eric Wang


Alexandra G. McKay
John Van Rys
Margaret Sweatman
Margaret Watson

Creative Non-Fiction

Tanya Bellehumeur-Allatt
Kate Bird
Judith Wright

Poetry Preview

Section of “Manitou Trail Untethered”

Jody Baltessen

Boreal Aubade
As lichen rhizines. Fractured gneiss pebbled under the tent.
The citrus of pine. Interpolate my skin.

The taste of truffle. The hard bite of iron.

I caution myself to be gradual. Hold a banded rock. Its surface rough.
Folds of feldspar mica quartz. Calibrate a metamorphic time

where there is always river, flowing past tree—bur oak balsam fir
black spruce. Exposed roots scrabbling for meagre soil.

I open my lungs to lowbush blueberry, breathe the infinite sky.
All its tributaries.

My bones ache a slow awakening.

Fiction Preview

The Heart of Calcutta

Margaret Sweatman

After film class the pale boy in the lime green shirt came along to the crooked brick house the students shared in an English neighbourhood west of downtown Montreal. They darted away from campus through a foot of new snow, while the boy shadowed them warily, persistent as a moth to the flame. They’d watched Ingmar’s Bergman’s Cries and Whispers that night, followed directly by a seminar. Film Aesthetics was popular with Anglos because it was taught by a charming Jesuit priest, Father Gilles Chevrier, who’d been to the Sorbonne. The Québécois students shunned the class, they said that Father Gilles’ French was beaucoup trop parisien. The boy kept his bare hands in the pockets of the ragged suit jacket he’d thrown over the terrible green shirt, his leather shoes sliding all over, balancing himself with his elbows, like small wings. Zsuzsi led the way, walking backwards, crying out in her inconsolable voice, “Gilles! Did you bring the wine?”

Subtle and trim in a suede coat with a muskrat collar, Father Gilles Chevrier spoke to the boy’s back. “Do you see, Michael? Truly, they are wicked.” The pale boy, Michael, slid to a stop and spun to face him. Gilles looked closely at the luminous hollow at Michael’s bare throat and pronounced, neatly, “Little witches who think they are so smart.”

Creative Non-Fiction Preview

The Pain Scale

Judith Wright

We came through the winter thinking we knew what was essential. I watched the rancher’s cattle scrounge for grass on the wintering grounds. The cattle face east this morning, where the tractor or the quad will appear. They stand perfectly still—vigilant, to a creature—waiting for the rancher to come. Even the new calves, their bellies tight with their mothers’ milk, look expectantly eastward.

I called my brother in the city last night to ask about Matty. A few days ago, my niece Matty had her foot amputated, the result of an old injury. At the time I spoke to my brother, he was walking his dogs in the park near his place. I thought you might be asleep, he said. As we talked, I watched the light from the rancher’s tractor bore holes through the darkness.

It was a tough winter, and not just for my brother’s family. The whole country was in the doldrums. November and December saw floods and landslides on the West Coast; in January anti-COVID-mandate protests paralyzed the nation. February brought news of war in Ukraine. By March the world felt the bite of inflation. Here, on the prairies, far removed from the headlines, we were caught up in our own crisis. The ranchers who didn’t cull their herds last fall began the winter with hay shortages. Then came a long cold spell when the cattle needed more feed. In January, a truck blockade stopped hay transport from the States. And now, a prolonged spring is upon us, with a savage wind and no rain. Round hay bales are selling for triple the price two springs ago—and there are none to buy.

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