Agnes and True2019-09-06T15:17:13-05:00

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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The Barnstone Station Wagons

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 wide driveway. We all know Pulaski by sight as the coverall-clad figure who tinkers with them on weekends for hours at a time.

Otherwise, even long-standing residents of the neighbourhood know little more, except that a woman once lived there with him. Now there is only a medium-sized mutt who hovers around his legs as he bends over the inner workings of the Buicks, and that […]

September 3rd, 2019|

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 […]

The White Wolf

September 26th, 2018|

by Gary Thomson

When Vera Kincaid and her husband Wallace first saw the wolves, she wanted to paint them whereas he was eager to shoot them.

They followed the ridge line about a hundred metres back from the farm house, partially concealed by basswood trees that stood bare against the autumn light. Five of them, Vera counted. Russet and grey, walking in single line. The artist’s brush in Vera’s hand trembled like a dry leaf. Wallace held his axe at waist […]

Fort Mac

August 27th, 2018|

by Thomas Wharton

This was years before the fire they called the Beast burned up half the town and the money hose slowed from a gush to a trickle. Back then I drove one of those mammoth trucks that haul the raw ore out of the excavation pits. We were removing the forest in neat rectangular chunks, like date squares from a pan. Peeling away a soggy carpet of muskeg to scoop out what had been steeping here for a […]

Fresh Oil, Loose Stone

June 20th, 2018|

by Heather Rolland

The tar spreader lumbered up the hill, spraying a thin film of blackness on all in its path: road bed, weeds, and the occasional careless worker’s feet or Gatorade bottle. The dump truck’s gates clanged, followed by the shush of gravel, flowing like water out the back and onto the waiting tar. Raked and rolled and rolled again, inch by inch, mile by mile, the rutted old dirt road received its makeover. Julia watched from the picture […]

Thoughtful Murders

May 22nd, 2018|

by Jeannette Harvey

We are on a craggy bluff—two wind-blown women admiring the way the ocean boils and seethes on the rocks far below—when I take a quick step back to give Edna a shove over the precipice.

Sometimes I lurk in evening shadows across from her hairdressing salon. After she comes out and turns the key in the lock, I follow her into the thickening mist of the alley, take out the long-handled knife from beneath my […]

A Needle Pulling Thread

April 21st, 2018|

by J.R. Johnson

Luani scanned the new Symphony Hall with an appreciative eye. After five years of refurbishment, untold cost overruns, and the inevitable discussion of whether art was worth it (in such perilous times), the building was finally complete.

Golden Quebec beech panelling angled through the hall to maximize acoustic reflection; high balcony walls curved like the sides of a ship; and the organ’s massive pipes glittered at the bow of the room. The organist perched in […]

Lost Boy

March 26th, 2018|

by Angie Ellis

She notices everything—the dimples on his knuckles, a replaced button on his collared shirt, his blond lashes. He lifts his eyes to her briefly, then down to his bowl and back up again; his little fingers curl around the spoon and hold it for long moments before drawing it to his mouth.

She reaches across the table and places her hand on his. He flinches but leaves it there. […]

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