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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Bed Blocker

by Nancy Johnson

The words fly down the hospital corridor like precision missiles homing in on Maggie, their fleeing target, piercing her on impact.

“Keep her away. She’s abusing me!”

Maggie presses palms against ears as she escapes her accuser, the screeching woman in the corner room.

Indifference is everywhere—in lab coats, with stethoscopes, or arms laden with flowers, moving with unflinching eyes, looking ahead or downcast, but never back in the direction of the desperate cries—the wails just white noise in their daily routines. Only one person, another patient, looks with any concern towards the screams.

This isn’t the mother Maggie knows. She’s never been stark, raving mad before. And growing crazier by the minute. It must be this place.

Every one of Maggie’s arthritic bones had resisted when the call roused her from sleep three nights back. “Your mother” and “emerge” were the only words she […]

January 13th, 2023|

The Broken Village

December 15th, 2022|

by Catherine Austen

“It’s your fan belt,” the mechanic says. He has dirty hands and clean hair, a lopsided smile and good teeth. He charmed the older sister, Odelia, when he leaned over the engine and raised his pale green eyes. Young and cute—so cute he doesn’t have to be tall or rich. Odelia squeezed among the tools and grime, clearing a place for her pleated skirt. Now she sits on the counter swinging her feet, watching his […]

The Radical

November 15th, 2022|

by Julie McClement

Looking at my sister’s Instagram makes me feel hollow inside, but I can never stop returning to it—the same way I ran my tongue over the spot from a missing tooth as a kid. I tell myself I should cut back, but it’s a harmless vice, no worse than my occasional late-night drink.

Esther worships Audre Lorde, provides commentary on Beyoncé that verges on the Talmudic. These “yas queen” posts are interspersed with self-portraits of joyful […]

Antler Handle Magnifying Glass Late 1800’s, Good Condition

October 13th, 2022|

by Emily Hunt

My memory has changed everything about you. It thinks you’re perfect. I buckle under the druggy weight of the lie, sometimes. Press awkwardly against the ground, happy and stupid beneath it. It thinks that when you first walked into my shop—collapsing your umbrella between us in slow revelation, careful amongst the worthless antiques—it was love at first sight and not, in fact, aversion. My memory forgets that. Forgets that I tried to resist, first. So […]

Nonna’s Mandolin

September 12th, 2022|

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 […]

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 […]

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