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From “Threading Through Thorn-Fields”


“I thought you left town.” Lourdes' voice is steady.


“I need money.” Edna sways, then leans her hand on the wall. Her eyes are bloodshot and vacant, heavy with black circles. “Help me out.”


“I don’t have any money to give you.”


Whaddya mean? You must have a shit-load of money working here all the time. I hear you don’t pay rent. I have to help pay for gas.” Her head tilts in the direction of the idling tanker.


“I said, ‘I don’t have any money to give you.’ I have to save everything I earn for university.”


Edna straightens up, shuffles forward a step, and vaguely waves her index finger. “Oh, you’re a miss hoity-toity university student already, are you? You’re still in high school and you’re too good to help your own mother?”


“My mother abandoned me a long time ago.”


Edna says, “I named you Lourdes because you were supposed to heal my marriage. Supposed to heal me. You failed me and now you can’t even find the compassion to help me out?”


From Godsend


Lew didn’t want to end up like his father, Lewis Senior. A binge drinker who somehow scored long term disability early in his work career, his boozy abuse was all about neglect. Missing many school concerts and Christmas plays and being “sick” in bed, even for Lew’s Grade 8 farewell

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Rank 6

Rank 6

also available: eBook
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“This is what it will look like when the world ends.” The thought came suddenly to Emily and she found it both thrilling and disturbing. Maybe she should share her theory with the others. She looked around the van and noted the tension on every face, except for the jovial boy with Down syndrome. All the other campers were obviously spooked. Even Big John, the expedition leader, seemed worried. The smile that had never left his face during the classroom session earlier that morning was gone. He was middle aged, imposingly tall, and claimed to be an expert on wilderness survival.


Emily decided not to say anything about the apocalypse. Nobody would want to hear her depressing thoughts. They never did. She knew perfectly well that she was ugly and a loser, but at least she was always considerate of the feelings of others. No point in making someone else more depressed and worried than they already were.


The girl sitting next to her couldn’t even bring herself to glance out the van’s windows. Not that there was much to see anyway. The smoke was so thick you couldn’t tell if you were passing houses, farms or forest.



“This is what it will look like when the world ends.”


As Emily watched in horror the tallest flames joined together and began whirling around. It looked like a tornado made of fire.


. . . the firenado changed direction and headed straight for her. It was as if the monster had seen her standing on the shore and was determined to devour her.

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For the Changing Moon



Real Indians, the shape-shifting kind, They’re gone
now, if they ever were more than Fantasy. And that’s the tragedy
those powers lost to us, look at us now
we’re not those people, we can’t do that, we’ve only got the stories.
Well, I’ve told a few myself, from time to time
and here’s one now: my father was a shape-shifter.
He was part of the Constitutional entrenchment of Metis as a People.


That might not count. You don’t think so? Maybe
you wanted to hear it like in conversations
late at night, all shivering round the table
some smoky old story about those people
who could turn into dogs, or bears, or flying beings.
No, I never saw him
walk as a bear, or a dog or in feathers and wings
but I saw him on TV, and what about that?


Disenfranchised Anishinabe, orphaned Mi’gmaq
church school survivor went working in the bush,
broke a leg and turned into a guitarist
singer, trainer, teacher,
army sergeant, farmer, trucker
taught himself house mover’s physics
and parliamentary procedure


On TV, we spied him by his hat
that one he always wore for meetings
ironically, a cowboy hat
Dad at the tables in Ottawa in 1982
committee committed, Metis Delegation
shifting the shape of our nation.


By The Numbers




pictures pinned
on a social media account
calling to account those who have for too long
turned away, silenced
the ones who knew all along
because we were the victim pool
later, the number is raised
to the possibility
4000 and more? too many to be sure


files the national broadcaster
obtained the rights to share
so that their names, faces, known
stories of them as people
might mean enough
for it to be enough
of impunity


years after the assigned date
of the resurrection
blamed for all these works
of conquest, works of war
2014 years until
the day of reckoning, one of many
that hopes to bleed the wounds
from hands and feet and tender sides
of our body politic
the crown of thorns
first nations suicides and poverty


steps we can take.


How far will we go?

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Angela of the Stones

Angela of the Stones

Life in the Time of Revolution
also available: eBook
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“All of Cuba is a museum now. That’s what the tourists want, to see the relics of our Revolution – the tanks put out to grass behind the Museum of the Revolution in La Habana, the yacht that brought our exiled revolutionaries back from Mexico listing as the tourists file past, peering in the windows, looking for the ghosts of men who died in an ambush trying to reach the place where Celia was waiting with jeeps, guns, gasoline. We live off our old Revolution, but how much longer can it continue? Soon there will be no-one alive who remembers it. I will be 82, Fidel will be 86. My son lives in Miami, my daughter in Spain, two of my grandchildren have gone to Ecuador. My story has lost its meaning and in the annual repetition of it I have lost my true memories.”


From “Moncada” pp.19/20




It was well after midnight when they arrived on the outskirts of Santiago and began to cruise the streets, asking directions to the nearest hospital. They were sent first to the Provincial Hospital Saturnino Lora, named for one of the heroes of the War of Independence against the Spanish. After many wrong turns they arrived and waited almost an hour before being shunted on to the Hospital Clínico Quirúrgico which dealt with international patients. After another long wait they were informed by the sleepy receptionist that the cadaver must first be registered with a Santiago funeral parlor. Having roused the night watchman of a nearby funeraria and filled out the necessary papers, they returned to Clínico Quirúrgico just as dawn was breaking. Clara was by now numb with exhaustion and readily agreed to have her husband’s remains placed in cold storage while they waited for his insurance money to arrive by Global Excel so that they could proceed with his body to Havana – a journey of at least fifteen hours.


‘Why can’t the autopsy be performed here in Santiago?’ Teo inquired.


The receptionist’s heavily outlined eyelids widened very slightly in her stony face in symphony with the hint of a shrug.


Clara and her brother retreated to their aunt’s house in the suburb of Abel Santa Maria, and there they waited. After three days the insurance money had still not arrived, so Clara made her way back to Baracoa in the safe embrace of her brother.


‘It was Ronald’s last wish to be buried in the cemetery in Baracoa,’ she impressed upon the hospital officials before leaving Santiago. ‘And he wanted to donate his heart to a Cuban,’ she added.


‘Too late for that,’ Teo said.


‘But his pacemaker,’ she insisted, ‘They must remove his pacemaker and donate it.’


From “A Limited Engagement” pp.27/28

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