Agnes and True2019-10-03T16:12:24-05:00

A Canadian Literary Journal

Agnes and True: a Canadian online literary journal dedicated to providing a place for the work of Canadian writers, both established and emerging.

A Canadian Literary Journal

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Broken Horses

by Sarah Hamill

It’s her I think of as I shovel horse shit.

My twin sister was big into horses. She wasn’t a horse girl like other horse girls—she didn’t ride. Parents couldn’t afford it. But she read those Heartland paperbacks until the books fell apart and measured everything in hands instead of feet.

When we were eleven, Dad found a pair of leather chaps for her at the thrift store up the road. They were worn down real soft at the knees and had careful curlicues tooled into the leather at the hips. Girly. She dressed up as a cowgirl for Halloween that year and every year after that. She begged me to be her horse but I wanted to be Dracula with slick black hair and fake fangs, not some filthy four-legged farm animal. She outgrew the chaps, but never horses.

Manure is […]

March 30th, 2020|

Mrs. Yablunsky

February 24th, 2020|

by Sarah Mintz

I sat between Mrs. Yablunsky and Mr. Marchand at my Aunt Louise’s house over Passover before the rift between Aunt Louise and Aunt Myrna. Ben and Myrna and their kids and Myrna’s mother Mrs. Yablunsky stopped coming or being invited for the high holidays; though Mr. Marchand still came, and I still sat next to him as he was an uncle or something from Louise’s daughter-in-law’s side of the family. Before the rift—which I […]

Still

January 27th, 2020|

by Alison Trottier

Black words on a white screen, black fissures in the ice, widening and cracking. I should have known, and now I know. I close the browser, then open it again, creeping back to the message like a skittish animal enticed by the possibility but afraid of the trap.

I set the trap myself. I took the test. I should have known she could be there waiting for me, but what were the chances? I had […]

Include the Plate

December 17th, 2019|

by Susan Olding

Miki is pouring rice from a bag into a measuring cup when the phone rings. Its electronic warble startles her. She slips, and translucent pellets of uncooked grain spill across the countertop. Never waste, her grandmother used to say. Okome is precious. She snatches a take-out menu from the shelf above the sink and uses it as a broom, sweeping the rice into a bowl—a task made troublesome by its near-invisibility against the smooth white surface of […]

Paint

November 6th, 2019|

by Virginia Boudreau

I locked myself in the powder room again, just couldn’t help it. Flipped the toilet seat down, and sat there. I squirted cream into my hands and rubbed them together, staring up at the ceiling, like always. The crown molding is so bright against the deep scarlet of the walls. I did all the painting myself. Chose the paint too, and still remember that day at the hardware store. That silly clerk with her clenched jaw. She had to mix […]

The Hardest Part

October 1st, 2019|

by Lori Hahnel

On an October afternoon—air clear as a bell, yellow leaves twirling down—I sipped coffee on my deck, soaked in the sun’s weak autumn rays. And got the news via Facebook.

Your sister Alma and I haven’t seen each other in almost forty years, though we “like” and “share” each other’s posts. “We are heartbroken to say,” she wrote, “that our dear brother Rob passed on Tuesday.”

Jesus. What? I took a breath before I read more, pulse pounding in […]

The Barnstone Station Wagons

September 3rd, 2019|

by Diane Lapeña

I ring Pulaski’s doorbell, and after a time he appears.

“There are complaints about your cars.” I tack on an apologetic tone. I’m not enjoying telling him there have been ugly comments. Three Buick Roadmasters have been sitting in his driveway, leaking oil, for the better part of five years. “Could you move them?”

A majority of hands at the Barnstone Neighbourhood Association meeting waved agreement to the motion that we would ask him to purge them from his […]

Kites

August 13th, 2019|

by Donna Tranquada

Adelaide sits behind a metal desk putting condoms in a large bowl. “Set aside a dozen or so for me,” I yell. Pete laughs. Adelaide shakes her head. Next to the bowl is a wooden penis for demonstrating how to put them on. As if we don’t know.

We’re in an old house on Gerrard street, that seedy stretch east of Jarvis. Pete and I are in the front room, sitting on folding chairs at a card table […]

Write me in

June 13th, 2019|

by Jane Parry

He didn’t normally do a stopover on this trip, he told her. His work brought him halfway round the world from Toronto to various parts of Asia a few times a year, and he’d always sat out his connections at Narita in the lounge. On the way in he was too preoccupied with the work ahead; and by the time he was on his way home the last thing he wanted was another day of packing, getting from […]

Werewolves

May 26th, 2019|

by Hege A. Jakobsen Lepri

There is no full moon. I look up anyway, though I tell myself I’ve stopped looking for explanations. It’s April, the bleakest of months. The empty promise of spring makes every day a disappointment. I’m cold—a heavy, damp cold forced on by a cloud cover so thick it would block out any effect of the moon even if it were full. Third time in three weeks I’ve been called here before four in the morning. […]

The Inventory

April 23rd, 2019|

by Jennifer Falkner

This room is as airless as all the others upstairs. The window is missing its screen but I yank it open anyway. There are no houses or strip malls outside, only trees and the absence of traffic noise. At least the evening air dilutes the smell. Earthy, almost fetid, reminding me of the white, pudding-like feces of my brother’s boa constrictor, his high school pet. I can hear Gabe moving around downstairs; he’s whistling and it reassures […]

Out Picking

February 24th, 2019|

by Isobel Cunningham

“Berry picking is for ladies.”  My very macho Inuk student, Josipee, told me that. I had heard the kids talking about flying to another village north of Kuujjuak to pick with their families.  I asked if he was going and he put me firmly in my place. He was used to the old burdens of kindly contempt, weary tolerance and amusement that the students must pick up with each new white teacher who comes […]

All Souls

January 22nd, 2019|

by John Delacourt

As soon as the streetlights came on, I began to prepare for All Souls. I came down to the hotel bar and ordered a glass of Greek wine. I tried, Mother, I just can’t drink the Polish. This will have to do as a kind of sacrament.

It is a strange little bar: half alpine cottage with its blonde wood tables, half village nightclub with a wall of smoked mirrors. And a karaoke machine, of course. God knows […]

Why Do People Tell Me Things?

December 23rd, 2018|

by John Jeffire

Good god, not this morning. Not now, not now, not now. Move, move, move. C’mon, kids.

“C’mon, Scotty, you need to finish that cereal. Tosha, you need to eat something. Both of you, let’s go, you’re gonna miss the bus.”

Of all days to drag their feet. Mr. Nichols from corporate is in town for his walk-through, and Sunny has to nail it. She hadn’t gotten home until after eleven the […]

Christmas Safari

November 26th, 2018|

by Rosa Lea

At last! The master of ceremonies began concluding his darn long speech—never thought I’d hear the end of it.

“The Canadian Historical Literature Association and the South African Friends of History Society would again like to thank the winners of this year’s Best Historical Writing Award…”

He looked at us in the front row and continued on some more.

“A big hand, please, to three wonderful sisters—Mildred, Dorothy, and Rita—for their jointly written memoir about their grandfather’s […]

The Witness Room

October 25th, 2018|

by Edythe Anstey Hanen

Carrie’s hand trembles on the doorknob. Stark letters are etched into rusting copper on the sign above the door. The Witness Room. She opens the door, walks into the unfolding pageant, with its motherlode of unmined possibilities. The sorrow of near-possibilities. The ragged sadness of the never-possible.

Mama Sue is dead.

She smells the lilies first, sweet and cloying. Heady, though not smelling of death as she imagines they might. Tall crystal vases hold roses the […]

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