Agnes and True2021-11-16T11:04:54-05:00

A Canadian Literary Journal

Agnes and True

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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Nonna’s Mandolin

by Dawn Huddlestone

Cyril hands me a plastic package bound with duct tape. It’s heavier than I expect. This feels like a clandestine drug deal might. My giggle is stopped short by Cyril’s quizzical look.

“Sorry,” I say. “This is a first for me.”

“Me too.” He clears his throat. “I’m pretty sure it’s flour. With maybe some gravel and a few chunks of chicken bone for good measure. In the urn, I mean.”

I nod. Nonna would have made it look as realistic as possible, just in case.

I nestle the not-flour-gravel-and-chicken-bone package next to the mandolin in my bag. Low murmurs worm their way under the door, their bony fingers grasping at my heart. I want to slap them away.

My brothers are greeting mourners the way they did opposing teams at the end of all their playoff games—a quick handshake and a throwaway platitude as […]

September 12th, 2022|

Any Time After Now

July 21st, 2022|

by Caroline Misner

When Anna was a teenager, she would look at her mother and cringe. To Anna, her mother was ancient. She had wrinkles beginning to bloom in the corners of her eyes; her hair was permanently dyed a chestnut brown to hide the grey strands that had started to sprout at her temples; her breasts drooped a little lower each year, and her waist thickened. Anna vowed that she would rather be dead than be like […]

Unmasked

June 16th, 2022|

by Betty Jane Hegerat

There were no vacant benches in the park, so I leaned against a tree. I watched the masked parents riding herd on their unmasked little bandits—no way were those kids safe-distancing on the playground equipment. I was glad Bridget hadn’t suggested a coffee shop where I’d have to take off my mask between sips of coffee. Bridget was not in my bubble.

Never in the past twenty years, had I expected this rendezvous would happen. […]

The Ideal Swing

May 18th, 2022|

by Rachelle Furney

I’ve always wanted a porch swing. The kind that you would sink deep into, and your feet wouldn’t reach the ground. They would dangle. You’d twirl your ankle, clap your flip flop to your foot, and critique the pedicure you got last Wednesday from Perfect Nails downtown. The swing would be white and hang from chains that rattled when you got off and rattled again when you sat down—this time with a cappuccino in hand. […]

Let’s Say I’m a Tree

April 19th, 2022|

by Angie Ellis

And here I sit on a chilly, pine needle morning—the trees cut black against the watery
tangerine sky. Poetic​ ​.

I’m mentally going over my speech. No, my proposal. A statement of deeply felt resolution.

“Don’t be mad, but . . . listen. How are you feeling about this?” (Gesture between us.) “Remember when we fought about which seedy bread to buy for sandwiches in Tofino? What a stupid life, right?” (I’ll laugh here because it’s stupid in […]

Blue Lines

March 17th, 2022|

by MJ Malleck

Liz knows the tattoo from one covert glance at her phone. She knows how the butterfly’s blue feelers wind around Ronnie’s wrist, how they circle the little knob bone. In the video, it seems her daughter is waving a full wineglass at the camera. If Matt’s texting her, it’s not good.

“Sorry mum, I knew she was on Twitch, but I thought she was gaming.”

Liz can’t just leave the meeting, can’t turn off her webcam to […]

Lesbians Living Alone Lonelier

February 14th, 2022|

by Valerie Free

Esther Rose was in the dressing gown that she didn’t change out of until “elevenses”—her homage to Belinda—when “Lesbians Living Alone Lonelier” loomed on her screen.

Her private pain wasn’t unique, but how much more forlorn and friendless was she than those widows, say, whose husbands swelled the morning obituaries? She double-clicked and down the Internet’s rabbit hole she hurried, her coffee tepid before she tumbled upon a new ministry for people just like her.

Before, Esther […]

Clock

January 18th, 2022|

by William Wren

He wondered if he had ever been happy. As the morning sun washed over the wooden deck, and over him as well, he thought he must have been, though he couldn’t recall when.

It was not that he was unhappy. He didn’t feel that. Apathetic is how he felt. However, Bronson also felt grumpy. He wondered if that was unhappy in a mild form.

He was sure it was the clock that made him that way. Ever […]

Doctor Knows Best

December 15th, 2021|

by Renee Lehnen

The fluorescent lights in Dr. Katherine Southey’s examination room illuminated difficult truths. Their glare lit the sallow skin of the bottle-a-day wine bibber who purported to enjoy a glass or two on social occasions, the amber stained fingernails of the only-with-morning-coffee smoker, the bruises of a child who’d “fallen” onto a fist. Secrets tumbled into the antiseptic-infused air of the windowless room as matters of routine. A few years ago, Gordon Bigelow would’ve been fascinated […]

Lift a Finger

November 16th, 2021|

by Debra Martens

In her room in the retirement home, Helen is catching up with her three visitors. During a pause in the conversation, her youngest daughter, Sarah, puts a hand on the mattress and leans forward. “Did you get out of bed today?”

Helen picks up the knitting that is lying on the ruin of her stomach and hands it to Margaret. Her second youngest opens a drawer in the chest holding all that she has left, and […]

Daughtering Is Not a Word

June 25th, 2021|

by Gargi Mehra

It wasn’t the blueness of the package that Nidhi found objectionable, but the insinuation that came wrapped in it.

Her mother knelt on the floor—suitcases splayed out on the carpet, their innards spewing out—while Nidhi stood by, her regret at throwing on a frumpy old nightgown swelling by the minute.

Even a twenty-hour flight had done little to ruffle Mummy’s outfit and hair. She wore black slim-fit jeans and a sky-blue shirt, her hair ramrod-straight. Nidhi envied […]

Eggsistential Crisis

March 9th, 2021|

by John Van Rys

Evan Mulder’s eggs were piling up. The small fridge on the porch was crammed with cartons stacked in a precise grid of rows and columns, like one of his spreadsheets. The kitchen fridge was stuffed with the overflow, to the annoyance of his wife Mae. And bowls of eggs were arranged around the family room (somewhat decoratively, Evan suggested to Mae) waiting to be cleaned and deposited in cartons. That is, if he could […]

What Debbie Wants

February 10th, 2021|

by David Holloway

Debbie stepped into the elevator and saw the new resident, Max, leaning down and whispering in my ear. She grabbed him by the shoulder and pushed until he stumbled out into the hallway.

“Sharon doesn’t want you hanging around her!” she shouted in her warbling girlish voice.

“What in the hell are you doing?” I said as the doors crept closed. The elevators moved as slowly as the residents in Denver Golden Acres.

Nobody here is in a […]

Small Change

January 22nd, 2021|

by Alexina Dalgetty

Sharon Tavares glimpsed her reflection in the liquor store window. Not bad for fifty something. Her stretchy jeans and red leatherette jacket blossomed with stylish zing and the knock-off Sketchers, fifteen bucks on sale at Walmart, were comfortable. She smiled at her fortunately proportioned face—well-boned nose, exceptional puppy-dog brown eyes, and a mouth that piqued fantasy in at least one man a day—and figured today was going to be okay.

The air smelled raw with an […]

Housing Crisis

November 9th, 2020|

by Jann Everard

Amy’s second reaction was to step to the left so that she couldn’t be seen through the kitchen window. Her third reaction was to swipe and tap on her phone until she heard it dialing Julie. The ringing stopped.

“You know it’s five-thirty in the morning, right?”

“There’s a man in my treehouse,” Amy whispered.

Julie’s laugh fluttered down the line. “Well, I haven’t heard that one before, but good for you!”

“No, seriously. Maybe I didn’t tell you […]

Moonlight with Tom Thomson

October 9th, 2020|

by Sharon Frayne

Tom Thomson winked as Marla tucked a daisy into the open paint-box on his lap. She did a double-take and stepped back. There was a discordant crash behind them; she flinched and looked over her shoulder. Her family was banging on the rainbow-painted piano in the middle of the patio outside the Civic Centre in Huntsville.

“Ma, come on, let’s go . . . we’re bored,” her son said. He waved at the colourful mural covering […]

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