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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Broken Horses

by Sarah Hamill

It’s her I think of as I shovel horse shit.

My twin sister was big into horses. She wasn’t a horse girl like other horse girls—she didn’t ride. Parents couldn’t afford it. But she read those Heartland paperbacks until the books fell apart and measured everything in hands instead of feet.

When we were eleven, Dad found a pair of leather chaps for her at the thrift store up the road. They were worn down real soft at the knees and had careful curlicues tooled into the leather at the hips. Girly. She dressed up as a cowgirl for Halloween that year and every year after that. She begged me to be her horse but I wanted to be Dracula with slick black hair and fake fangs, not some filthy four-legged farm animal. She outgrew the chaps, but never horses.

Manure is […]

March 30th, 2020|

Happily Ever After

October 2nd, 2016|

by Mary J. Breen

I can’t imagine how people can go on television and tell their stories to the whole blessed world. Like on Oprah, although she does seem like a nice person.

Today I watched a show called Abusive Husbands in the Military and The Wives Who Love Them. Couldn’t have been hard to find a couple of those. When it ended, I did something I should have done long ago: I took down the photo of Richard […]

Tromba

August 31st, 2016|

by Frederick Senese

In that country, they don’t bury the dead. They pile the bodies on a criss-cross platform of logs and sticks out in the forest, so the flies can eat. The life drips off the bones until what remains is pure, pristine, perfect. Bleached ribcages scoured by the wind, seashell skulls washed by the rain.

Every seven years the People wrap the bones in fresh linen and parade them through the village. In this way the dead can watch […]

Army of You

July 31st, 2016|

by Jason S. Ridler

Dave,

I’m dispensing with formalities because it is my last day. Please, read all of what’s below. Some of it is old hat. But the truth is in the details. I want you to know the truth. To help stem the tide of what you unleashed. I’m reminded of my grandfather’s favourite saying, said every morning before he hunted for Soviet incursions with the Rangers, instant coffee in hand, not a wisp of steam. “Yesterday is ashes; […]

The Witches on Floor Fifteen

May 31st, 2016|

by Brian Rowe

The little witch sucks on a lollipop, her lips and chin covered in a pumpkin shade of orange, as she peers inside the hospital room. A tall black hat covers her hair, and her brown silk dress has a large vampire cape that stretches down to her shoes. She holds a small bucket shaped like candy corn.I wave to her from the dark, gloomy corner; and she waves back. Her upbeat smile gives this room a needed […]

Freedom’s Just Another Word

April 5th, 2016|

Jamie enters the glass-panelled Sanctuary, interspersed with shades of green; the door whisks closed behind her as she balances her matcha tea. She digs out keys for the simian rooms. Fleur watches as Jamie enters, but stays on her perch as the windows slide back. The chimp doesn’t take the offered apple.

Wormwood and Strawberries

January 18th, 2016|

By Susan Hroncek They said the old woman ate children, but I never believed it. Children disappeared; it’s just something that happened. Some wandered too close to the steel mills or the lake. Others were snatched from the park or on the way home from school. And some simply ran away. Anything to escape the taunting, the fists, the pollution that painted the sky orange and coated our world in coal-black dust.

Bloom

November 23rd, 2015|

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.

The Red Kite

July 14th, 2015|

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.

In the Shade of the Sunshine Superette

April 29th, 2015|

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.

Frostbite

March 3rd, 2015|

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.

Somewhere Warm, With No Snow

February 3rd, 2015|

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.

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