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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Disappearing

by Brian Moore

Gerri was about to bring the meeting to a close when the woman at the end of the room said, “I don’t think I can stand any more of this.”

Everyone froze.

The group sat on a ring of chairs around two long plywood tables that had been shoved together endways. The woman had fanned photographs of her daughter across one of the tables; she touched them with her fingertips, making tiny adjustments in their positions. Some pictures were eight by tens of the girl in a graduation cap and gown, holding a scrolled diploma like a baton, each with a small variation in the pose of her head and the placement of her hands. Others were family snapshots that included the daughter—picnics, birthdays, vacations, weddings of relatives—taken over several years. In the most recent pictures she was tall and confident, […]

April 29th, 2020|

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. […]

Coconut Oil

November 21st, 2017|

by Sonal Champsee

“Your Ammaji is coming tonight,” said Mom. “Your grandmother.” She’d been counting down the days for me.

I was excited because I’d learned all about grandmothers in school. We were doing a unit on family trees. I had a green, construction paper tree—the trunk split into two branches, and then each branch split into two more. Eight branches. In the middle, where everything came together, was me. I was happy there was no room for my brother Amit on this […]

Burning Rubber

September 11th, 2017|

by Jennifer Marr

“Well, aren’t you turning into a little lady.” The doctor glances at my chest, then makes note of something on his pad. He turns to my mother. “Have you given any further thought to sterilization?”

“My husband and I wonder if maybe we should hold off until she gets her first period? See how we handle it?”

“In my opinion, it’s easier to get it over with now.” The doctor grabs my legs and stretches them out like a […]

Twelve Days

August 7th, 2017|

by Karin Aurino

I have this perfect life—a perfect husband, three happy children, a beautiful home in the City of Angels—even the neighbours are nice. So why am I hiding in my bedroom? Because everything that was good, has somehow turned bad. So I’ll stay upstairs. Problem solved.

Downstairs, my husband will be drinking a glass of wine while making dinner. It’s his turn to cook and he’ll be half into that bottle already. He’ll pour me a glass of red […]

Mildred Mendelson

April 19th, 2017|

by Naomi Lakritz

“How are we doing today?”

I’m fine. However, I can’t answer for you. You’ll have to decide for yourself how you are. I’m no judge of that. What’s your name? I can’t read it. They make these name tags so tiny nowadays.”

“Kayleigh.”

“I cannot imagine a future populated by people named Kayleigh or Breanne or Jayden. Those are names for perpetual children. My name is Mildred Mendelson. […]

No Fairy-Tale Ending

March 9th, 2017|

by Hege Anita Jakobsen Lepri

The lights in the interrogation room had been dimmed, making the laminate table look almost like real wood. She wasn’t quite sure when that had happened. Probably they’d done it in tiny increments so she wouldn’t notice. They knew how to transform a situation here.

It was the good cop’s turn if her calculations were right. She was thirsty but hopeful that the detective would bring water, maybe even coffee. She didn’t need to […]

Angel Food & Rhinestones

February 8th, 2017|

by Carol Jones

The worst part of purging the contents of my parents’ house was that my parents weren’t dead. Gone but not yet dead, I repeated, forcing myself to tackle another box, another closet, another drawer.

My husband and I piled the things we wanted to keep in the living room, the things to sell in the family room, and the things to donate in the garage. Everything else would go in a dumpster after the yard […]

Birds of Paradise

October 31st, 2016|

by Lisa Morriss-Andrews

Mother calls out for my oldest sister, Miranda. Her voice bleats into the sterile silence like a lost child, startled from a nightmare. Death is a nightmare . . . for my mother. An extraordinary and unexpected event. “How terrible . . . how could this possibly happen!” she would exclaim, each time someone strayed from the fold of the living.

The living are in the fold outside of the hospital’s ICU right now. As they go about […]

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