2015 Author Archives
Somewhere Warm, With No Snow
by Heather Debling Barbara pointed to the chicken she wanted. It would have bothered her once: the wholeness of the meat, the unplucked skin, the head lolling about, the wattle—if she looked at it hard enough, long enough—still seeming to shudder. But after her trip, she would find what was once normal to be unnatural, her stomach turning at all the headless little chicks lined up in a row at the grocery store, cling-wrap worn like a second skin, tight hospital corners to hold in the juices.
by Helen Rossiter There is a moment between sleep and wakefulness when anything is possible. You know in that fraction of a second, before your brain clicks into gear, that you are flying or dancing with the stars, or that you are alone in a dark cavern. It’s a fragment of time when the impossible and the implausible might frighten or amuse, but don’t strike you as odd.
In the Shade of the Sunshine Superette
by Gary Thomson The Chester Billings parkette gathered Clara Knox and her friends many summer afternoons when the companions were between engagements. That was Louella Dickens’ term—engagements—for part time work that paid little, and ended soon after it began. Clara was watching two gulls squabble around an overfull rubbish bin. She bristled when Richie O’Brien nodded towards her cigarets. “Give us a smoke, Clara? I’ll pay you back next weekend.” When pigs wear bow ties, Clara thought. To extend her smoking needs over several days, Clara took care when she left the parkette to leave the open packet with Ayaaz Mahmood who owned the convenience store across the road. He stowed it behind his cash counter in a plastic hold-all with his stapler and a topless ballpoint pen. The surrender of her cigarets was a moral aid towards eventually quitting.
The Red Kite
by Paula Dunning Rachel is driving the riding mower back and forth across the lawn, the first mowing of the season. It’s springtime-cool—she’s wearing a light jacket, and a bright red scarf holds back her greying curls—but the midday sun is warm on her back. As she backs up to manoeuver around the hawthorn bush, she glances across the expanse of green to the house, where the rose bushes beside the deck are just putting out leaves. When she and Tom moved onto this farm forty years ago, a small yard surrounded the house. Back then, she pushed an old mower that spewed out black smoke while the kids piled up the clippings to make hay for toy cows.
by Brent van Staalduinen Every time I see you in the spring, your hands are dark with the expensive soil you till into those waiting flower beds. It comes in big yellow bags and never sits for long—within days the shovel and wheelbarrow are out for your annual spring performance, you the director, your husband the reluctant player. But today, it’s just you. The hem of the black dress you wore to the service is hiked up, and your knees are as muddy as your hands.