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Volume 13 Issue 7 March 2014

The Wildlife Issue


CONTENTS

VOLUME 13 ISSUE 7 MARCH 2014

The mountains are calling and I must go. JOHN MUIR (1838 - 1914)

POETRY

PROSE 9

Delilah

4

Homo Studentiens

10

rare Trees: April 2013

5

Wildflowers

11

Reservation

6

Osprey and Cod

16

Sonder

JANET KWON

7

Diamonds

18

Barren and Dusty

13

If Trees Could Speak

19

Corner of the Universe

14

Girl Heart

16

Feline Maximus

17

Symbol

22

Sounds of Springtime

FIORELLA MORZI

MAGDALENA MILOSZ DONNÉ MARSHALL

ALEX HANSON

JESSICA GROOM

LITERATURE 8

Whalesong

17

Crimson Becomes Green

20

Survival

21

Brutes

REBECCA FLETCHER

MEGAN PITT

JEREMY NATHAN MARKS AMANDA SCHEIFELE DONNIQUE WILLIAMS CATHERINE LUNDY ALESHA ARIS

SALLY AMOABENG

JOSEPH BRANNAN

JOSHUA HOWE

COREY COLE DEARBHAILE HOUSTON

Front Cover ALEX SHERIFF

2

CARINA RAMPELT

Back Cover

DANIELLE CALLAGHAN

Inside Back

DANIELLE CALLAGHAN


THE WILDLIFE ISSUE EDITORIAL Editor-in-Chief Fiorella Morzi fiorella.morzi@blueprintmagazine.ca

Production Manager Jessica Groom jessica.groom@blueprintmagazine.ca

Literary Editor Janet Kwon janet.kwon@blueprintmagazine.ca

Art/Photography Manager Roxanne Nicolussi roxanne.nicolussi@blueprintmagazine.ca

Promotions Manager Stephanie Lesdow stephanie.lesdow@blueprintmagazine.ca

Radio Manager Virginia Tremaine virginia.tremaine@blueprintmagazine.ca

Interns Joshua Howe, Carina Rampelt

CONTRIBUTORS Sally Amoabeng, Joseph Brannan, Sarah Deas, Alex Sheriff, Danielle Callaghan, Magdalena Milosz, Dearbhaile Houston, Catherine Lundy, Alesha Aris, Donnique Williams, Donne Marshall, Joanna Lisowiec, Amanda Scheifele, Jeremy Nathan Marks, Megan Pitt, Alex Hanson, Rebecca Fletcher, Gabriella Morzi, Zachary Sheppard

ADMINISTRATION President, Publisher & Chair Allison Leonard Executive Director Bryn Ossington Advertising Manager Angela Taylor Vice Chair Luke Schulz Treasurer Thomas Paddock Director Kate Turner Director Shelby Blackley Corporate Secretary Alexandra Abbiento

Back in June 2013, we published the Exploration Issue. This was the first time I had led the production-based aspect of what makes Blueprint the nifty and peculiar gem that it is. Its creation was made possible through technical and moral support from the Blueprint team, colleagues, and friends. In the morning I brought a veggie platter in case we got hungry and turned up 90s jams to help stir the creative cauldron. Alanis Morissette is unsurprisingly just enough angst. We began something really cool that day. I didn’t know that I would love the collaborative process or the incomparable feeling of not only contributing to arts on campus, but creating a space where voices are heard or strengthened and even connected. I’ve learned that many people create for the sake of creating, for an audience, for themselves, or in response to something they feel needs to change. What links these different motives is an inquisitively sensitive disposition to the world. Writing or drawing may not be your thing, but I think art-making is still happening somewhere else, in qualitative science, social programming, libraries, in that photo album of your parents’ wedding. Who is to say what constitutes creativity? I am convinced that creators are among us everyday, creating in ways we may not know about, ways unmapped, having little to do with the rules we feel pressed to conform to. Where does this month’s theme of Wildlife come into play? Well, spring is right around the corner, isn’t it? Finally things are beginning to bloom and take shape, returning greens and yellows to our deprived land. What grows has always interested me, so it felt like the best idea was to close my time with Blueprint on a future-building note. In addition to the friends I’ve made, I’m left with inspiration. What you’ll find in the coming pages is very much alive.

CONTACT Blueprint Magazine 75 University Ave W Waterloo ON N2L 3C5 p 519.884.0710 x3564 blueprintmagazine.ca

Fiorella Morzi Editor-in-Chief

Advertise angela@wlusp.com blueprintmagazine.ca/advertise Contribute submissions@blueprintmagazine.ca blueprintmagazine.ca/contribute

COLOPHON Blueprint is the official student magazine of the Wilfrid Laurier University community. Founded in 2002, Blueprint is an editorially independent magazine published by Wilfrid Laurier University Student Publications, Waterloo, a corporation without share capital. WLUSP is governed by its board of directors. Content appearing in Blueprint bears the copyright expressly of their creator(s) and may not be used without written consent. Blueprint reserves the right to re-publish submissions in print or online. Opinions in Blueprint are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Blueprint’s management, Blueprint, WLUSP, WLU or CanWeb Printing Inc. Blueprint is created using Macintosh computers running Mac OS X 10.5 using Adobe Creative Suite 4. The circulation for a normal issue of Blueprint is 3000. Subscription rates are $20.00 per year for addresses in Canada.

COVER Art by ALEX SHERIFF My work usually stems back to kindergarten fridge art and often adopts that playful nature. This cover plays with the idea of humans as wildlife, the tribe as the herd. There is a blur between humans and animals that doesn’t seem too jarring in the middle of the jungle and has always seemed perfectly normal in my imagination.

NEXT ISSUE Theme to be announced On stands Summer 2014

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Homo Studentiens CARINA RAMPELT

We are the wild ones, prowling the library in search of one empty study carrel, lounging by the watering hole lapping our caramel lattes, retreating into sweatpants-hibernation for the month of February, only to come to life late at night, and return sleepy-eyed to class the next morning. Our eating habits – irregular. Our social groups – intricate. Our courtship rituals – it’s complicated. Our life cycle consists of parties and school clubs and meeting friends for lunch, of readings and procrastinating, of midterms and cram sessions and late-night essay panic, of sleeping through 8:30 classes and spending entire days in our pajamas, of dreaming about the far-off promises of “winter break” and “reading week,” and of wasting our time frivolously when they finally do come. In April we grow dormant, slipping into the respectability of summer jobs and family life, only to return in September, to become wild once again.

GABRIELLA MORZI

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Wildflowers MEGAN PITT

When I was little, I believed I would live forever in a place where you could be with me, not only in the rain-soaked scent of the earth or the wildflowers I picked that always grew back, but forever, to hold my hand in Red Riding Hood’s forest, between the oaks that marked our way home. I miss you as I remember that forever, the place where the birds sing your songs, and the wind whispers comfort and promises me sunlight after the dark, and guidance if I wander too far off the trails you built. I still pick wildflowers and place them in glass jars, to press between the lines of all the words I write and words I have yet to discover. Everything I see is a reflection of what a young me saw in you.

w

DANIELLE CALLAGHAN

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Osprey and Cod JEREMY NATHAN MARKS An osprey’s ravish and a cod’s release play out against the sun:

But only in this fugacious moment have I coursed with the fugitive blood

In purple dusk the flail of the failed catch is caught in silhouette before the great orange lamp.

And become a cod. Or, for that matter, really hunted.

I have tasted cod, even dipped my feet into the frigid Strait of Belle Isle

ALEX SHERIFF

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AMANDA SCHEIFELE

Diamonds

AMANDA SCHEIFELE We put collars on nature to make it sparkle and shine; Push Mother away no. It’s mine. Diamonds to go with your eyes. Uncollared? *hair flip* Too naked, red and purple will be your demise! No! It’s mine.

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Whalesong

REBECCA FLETCHER A boy and a girl sat perched on a small, wooden raft, with nothing but open ocean for miles around. The sinking sun hit the horizon, and the sky and sea became one. They told stories to pass the agonizing hours, knowing that rescue would never come for them. “I suppose we die today.” The boy decided, stretching out over the sun-drenched boards. “I once heard a whale singing in Romanian.” The girl began. “I think you’re a liar.” “It was the saddest, most beautiful thing you could ever hear.” The girl continued, ignoring her companion. “It was such a cold day, and no one wanted to go to the beach. But I had to. I just had to. So I walked along the shore. The water was warm, and the wind made the waves taller than me. Sometimes the water came up to my waist when it moved in. It was nice. And then this great crashing wave looms over my head, and it swept me out to sea quick as lightning. That’s when I heard it. This lost little blue whale, singing for his fratii. The churning waves had separated them, just like me. They were all singing this song they’d learnt from the people on shore. That way they could hear the song, and know it was one of them, and not some other whale. Such a lonely sound.” The girl sighed, and crawled to the edge, looking down at the still, black-blue water. “I hope they found each other.” “I hope I get into heaven.” The boy replied. “I haven’t always been that good.” “Then again...if they found each other, I could never hear that song again. It was so terribly sad. I think I shall try to hear it again.”

“You’ll drown.” The girl leaned forward, and thrust her head underwater, waiting for the mournful call of the whales. One crooned, far in the distance, a pure and peaceful lullaby. A mother to her young. Beautiful, but not the song of the brothers. A little further, two voices intertwined in harmony as the lovers spiralled around one another, voices raised with songs of love and hope. And further still, so quiet it could have been a dream, four voices sang in unadulterated joy. Four songs of happiness, and reunion wove together in endless verses. The girl smiled bitterly at that. So they had found each other after all. The song that ached with loss had died. For a moment, the girl thought of seeking out the brothers. Perhaps the boy would sing for her loss. But the song had ended, and the thought slipped away. She sat up, and tossed back her head, hair glittering with salt. “They’re together again.” “If I do get into heaven, and they have all too, my family will be together again.” The girl sighed, and resumed lying down on the raft, and staring at the sky as it darkened into night-time. “I suppose we will die tomorrow.” The boy murmured, watching the moon rise. “I once heard a raven recite poetry to woo an eagle’s daughter.” “I think you’re a liar.”

ALEX SHERIFF

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Delilah

FIORELLA MORZI There is a dog in my building. She is stout and wrinkly and brown-eyed, mixed. Moving into the kitchen I pick up a call from my mother. What’s the problem? I tell myself to count to ten backwards. You were basically asking for it with that strapless top. I feel my mouth twisting into a shape that frightens me.

I am not this contorted shape. You should be glad you finally got some male attention. The quivering only happens sometimes. Delilah licks the corners of my exhausted lips. She comes up to my knees, kindly. I forget about my mother.

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MAGDALENA MILOSZ

rare Trees: April 2013 MAGDALENA MIĹ OSZ

A chance encounter with wilderness in the city reveals a sampling of ecosystems in early spring. The rare Charitable Research Reserve (http://www.raresites.org/) in Cambridge, Ontario, invites city dwellers in to experience the freedom of wilderness while protecting the former estate and farmland from the encroachment of human development and ecological degradation. rare exists at the intersections of wild and tame, public and private, rural and urban.

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Reservation DONNÉ MARSHALL

My eyes brought us to a reservation Reserved for a race of people, on barren land, a waste land But not for long Three of my knuckles created music on her hollow door She opens the door, like a fairy, there is a spark to her Her eyes a black sphere overpowering the white in her eyes Her hair a chestnut wave down her back Her smile vibrant, yet effortless Her skin a dark cream, made by a god, and a goddess Her fingers slide off the doorknob and she glides into the house The room smelt of cedar and wool Dream catchers hung from the ceiling like fallen stars Family photos barred in broken frames A bohemian quilt covered her bed, every square detailed and original She began to hum, only for a second or two Then she looked at us ‘It came to me, they came to me. In my dreams, they spoke of you, of who you are.’ She dropped her eyes to the wooden floor Then looked up at us with a sense of judgement ‘Of what you are.’ She turned her back to us again She took off her wooden heart necklace, revealing the life of her hair Then a bracelet and two rings She twirled back to face us Her dress like an upside down lotus ‘I’m ready to save my people, I’ve lost everyone close to me.’ A tear fell from her eyes ‘I am Akasha.’ She had such grace The tears from her eyes became a waterfall, she croaked and fell to the floor Dirt crumbled from her mouth Her hair fell down her shoulders, grazing the floor before they ignited into flames She raised her hands off the floor, air sprung out of them, blowing away the walls around us Then she started to levitate, her eyes turned into a black ball Fierce, yet still welcoming Then she crashed to the barren earth, shocking Tate and I, we stumbled backwards Her body was embraced by the earth, sucking her into it My throat started to itch I look at Tate Tate coughs and puffs of yellow smoke appear I cough into my hand, yellow pollen Our hands collide, our knees buckle We fall to the earth like a bullet impaled our skulls Then we explode The pollen air we became forced their ways into the people of the entire village We entered them and they all internally combusted, turning into pyramid piles of ash While the new earth Akasha created flourished It devoured every monument created and its contents The cigarettes, the liquor, the unnatural foods A dome formed, creating ideal temperatures As the land became restored The ashes began to spark like stars Young adults grew out of them, young, healthy, able, hopeful Tate and I came back into one, hot, sweaty and breathing heavily Our bodies halfway submerged into the dirt As we tried to stand up, the pollen magnetized to the soil And life already began to show its face

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SARAH DEAS

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If Trees Could Speak DONNIQUE WILLIAMS I wish that trees could speak, oh, the words that they would say! They’re time-tested-- never weak, watching everyday. They have witnessed countless horrors yet they wouldn’t testify. Our human judgment system would attempt to make them lie. So they sit silently and still they move only with the breeze. They are without freewill when you force them to their knees. So I think that if they’d speak they would only truly say that they’ve seen enough of our crap to last them anyway. For centuries they have know our ways yet they are always trusted friends. We bend and break them and we forget to commend. They take our burdens and wear the scars with pride. Because the strong and wise never truly die. And if they spoke you would know why.

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Girl Heart CATHERINE LUNDY

little girl, you erred when you thought you’d found enough slivers of eternity in priceless little things – but how could you have known that the light in his eyes would stun you, or that his voice sliding over you like water warmed in sunlight, clear and deep – how could you know that the lifeline you thought already carved into your palm could be shaped like this? You watched as he put you together, piece by brittle piece, and you shivered caught fast in a web of your own heart strings – you screamed at the wind but he played, and you thrilled to the beat he wove in and out of you, the rhythm, a place he made in you for you, and how could you know his fingertips in your hair – he played over you and inside you are humming, thrilling to the brush of strings, the steady thrum of slow heartbeats – oh you, how could you know that how whispering he wrote his love in you like a curse – girl, you may yet learn that currently, you live at the expense of allowing your heart to reside in someone else’s breast.

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DANIELLE CALLAGHAN


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ALEX SHERIFF

Sonder

JANET KWON My sister has a never ending desire to walk by the sea. She’s quite adamant that it must be the ocean. No small body of water, contained by land, will do. Swimming in it would be great, she tells us, but even if I could just dunk my feet in it, I’d be grateful. I have this picture of her standing by the shore. Her feet are being kissed by the tide. The sun is just coming up over the horizon; we had taken the train by night. She’s got her backpack on and her shoes in one hand, and she’s looking at the sky, or maybe the horizon. I’m not sure. I took the picture sitting on the rocks by the road. There’s no wind and her long ponytail lies flat against her back. I couldn’t figure out what she was thinking, or even what she was feeling. She was so quiet I couldn’t bring myself to speak. It looks like she wants to just keep walking into the water, but her arms are locked in a perfect upside down V.

been the young child that used to love tickling her nose with the ends of people’s hair? How could she possibly have been the young girl that scared me into running out of the house when she intoned in an ominous voice, what’s the password, from The Crack, a secret hiding place that we had created by pushing our beds together? How could she have been the teenager who loved to hide inside the cupboards, only her face visible, silently watching my mom and me cook? How could they all be the same person? What was the invisible string connecting them all and what wisdom had it afforded her so that she could stand open and vulnerable to the mighty ocean? I didn’t feel like her big sister in that moment. I felt like a seagull perched on top of a floating buoy, wondering whether or not to take flight, wondering when the small black dot had grown into the giant ocean liner headed my way.

I find it hard to believe that the woman staring out at the ocean could be my younger sister. How could she possibly have

Feline Maximus ALESHA ARIS

Frolic east then to the west I fear no beast I prey on pest My scurry up and scurry downs Are mind games I play to deceive the crowd That exasperating cursed red Is the only one that follies my head but soon and eager I’ll have my way And capture the being that dots my day. For I are feline maximus Conqueror of feathers and fluffy puffs And if I see it fit I’ll share my glory. I’ll relish the moment as they screech my story About the largest reptilian slayed. And I carried it to their slipper cave I are Kitty bell hear my grrr Don’t touch me there! Puuurr purr purrr

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Symbol

SALLY AMOABENG Fluid filled with filth Tamed with chlorine Daily ritual of purification Rather became a symbolic Act of cleansing When did you become A “symbol” of purity?

Crimson Becomes Green JOSHUA HOWE

Though the crimson shall become green, it shall not go. It will be unnatural, but they don’t care. I told them that I disagreed, that they should let these things regenerate on their own. There is no place for me here, it disturbs me greatly. Yet here I must stand, because I am special. But not special enough. Coughing wind snaps the brittle grass, strewing it along miles of brown, dying, dead. No clouds protect the sky from the shame, instead forcing blue eyes upon painful, undeniable truth. They don’t like the truth. I am here to hide the truth. Each step I take is green, the charred blood beneath my toes crumbling with the spread of new life. I wince because I can feel them still. Though the crimson becomes green, it is not gone. I cannot see the end. Perhaps there is no end. I certainly cannot feel an end. Yet, I am creating the end. No, they say, you are creating a beginning. What a beginning it is, to shroud heroics. Trees begin to breathe anew, leaves sprouting from crippled buds. Bark comes once more to shield soft, inner bellies riddled with bullet holes. Tidal waves of green wash over the landscape, beyond my vision, to their delight. Always it was beautiful to me, the green, the growth. But now it is sickness, the gentle hue of disease that raises decoys for all to see, hiding in plain sight the horror of horrors, made invisible by those who fear writers of history. But perhaps there shall be a stain still. Perhaps I can be the one to make it. Though the crimson becomes green, it is not gone. The flowers stretch towards the heavens, heads lifting from a deep sleep. Stems pulsating with green, that green, that is connected to this earth. But those heads are colourless yet, held in my eyes as potential saviours. They glare then, as they bloom, heads awash in red, challenging the sky. Challenging them. Miles upon miles become a sign, my sign. An army of flowers as my soldiers, faces hot with anger. Click, click. I can hear it behind me. I close my eyes with my work complete. I smile before I hit the green and red, mossy fingers curling to comfort me and take me with them. Though the crimson has become green, it has not gone.

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Barren and Dusty ALEX HANSON

DANIELLE CALLAGHAN

The office was barren and dusty. Grace, the receptionist, sipped her coffee as noisily as she could. Matt from accounting shook his leg, waiting desperately for a cigarette break. Max from HR, ignoring the sexual harassment pamphlets he’d read aloud that morning, emailed Sarah from corporate: elevator nookie? A few minutes later he heard the ding! of the elevator and watched the doors open to reveal the physique of his employer. He got up from his desk and bee-lined it over to her, trying not to attract any attention. An Aerosmith song played in his head. “Morning,” he said. Once the doors closed he was all over her. “Stop,” she said. “Why?” “You know why.” This made Max think. He thought back to the shouting and the broken glass and the phone call. “If you ever touch me again,” she said, “if you ever do anything I’ve ever told you not to, I’m filing a report and I will not imply any consent.” When the doors opened, Sarah left. Max went back to his desk.

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Corner of the Universe

JESSICA GROOM

This vast, wide open space prevents confinement. It gives us a place to run—to fly. The tracks offer evidence of excitement that has already passed through, but its emptiness in this moment makes it seem completely untouched. The blue sky offers the potential for thousands of twinkling stars floating up there at night. It is out there, somewhere, did you know? The place that you were always meant to go. This space offers a certain kind of freedom in it. It is a place to let your imagination run free—to stand still and breathe in the clear air—to clear your mind. What is it about these spaces that offer a safety net despite their vastness? This place is impossible and beautiful—ridiculous and miraculous. There is so much to see here, so much to explore. This space is one tiny corner of the universe, but also the entire universe at the same time. A deer ran over there the other day, and a child made snow angels to the right. The trees are timeless, old and young. There is so much to see here, and my eyes are wide open. My body is completely still, and I can see the mist of my breath in front of me. Everything is quiet for a moment, and then I hear it. The whoosh, the hope. The most beautiful sound in the world. JOANNA LISOWIEC

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Survival COREY COLE

The blasts could be heard a kilometer away. Nate knew he had only a few brief moments before the barrier would be breached and all hell would break loose. It was a long time coming. It was written on the wall. No – it was written in the air, Nate mused, loading his rifle and preparing for the long trek beyond the barrier towards the nearest safe zone. It all comes back to Frankenstein, Nate thought. No! – he again corrected himself—back to Prometheus, back to ancient warnings always unheeded because that’s what we do. That’s what we’re about. Nate thought maybe Canadians would be different, that we’d have a special, exceptional kind of relationship to Mother Earth that would afford us a bit of a free pass, a reprieve from the Earth’s airborne wrath. He still had an old paperback copy of Atwood’s Survival in his bunk, back from when he had the luxury of ideals and leisurely academic musings about… well, about everything under the sun, it seemed. Those were lazy days in the grass, beside his lady of the moment, while on campus gazing off towards the science buildings with merely a wry irony and a delicious self-defeatism that defeated everything in its path, and thus became impenetrable armour. But the blasts—the blasts necessitated action. A man of action—Nate repeated the phrase over and over to himself as if to will himself into a mold for which he was nevertheless woefully incompetent. I’m a man of literature, not of war. I’m as passive as they come, and not even that passive aggressive… Nate finished packing up, said a soft goodbye to his bunk, and headed out into the raging storm, rifle in a trembling hand. What was the cause? Playing God. Hubris. The same old tired story, churned out again and again by hack writers like himself, by Stephen Kings of the world preying on our basest fears, and, as it turned out, our likeliest realities. Whatever the cause, they’re apparently here to stay, and we’re to go—Nate looked for survivors

ZACHARY SHEPPARD A MICROORGANISM TRAVELLING SLOWLY ALONG WHAT I IMAGINE AS A BIOLOGICAL TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM.

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along his way out of the compound, towards the outer boundaries, but none were to be found. He could hear a faint buzzing now that the blast sounds had ceased from outside. There’s always a buzzing before… He remembered the old warnings from the intercoms in the compound, back when there were more members left. At least they give a warning, he thought, or maybe they just like to taunt us—it’s another way to exact their vengeance upon us before the last of us are swallowed whole. Nate couldn’t help but laugh. I’m not in a Stephen King book, I’m in a bloody creature feature from a 1950’s drive-in. Nate imagined the young teens in their parents’ sharply finned cruisers all lined up in front of the screen, under the night sky, cuddling and making furtive moves under blankets while enjoying the pretense of a film. I’m in a pretense of a film, Nate concluded, avoiding all fatalism with a cheap Jimmy Dean grin that restored the armour he had left on campus with his lady—what was her name?—all those youthful years ago. Now was the time: He exited the compound, put on a swagger like nobody’s business, and strolled out onto the desolate earth. Immediately coughing from the carbon-drenched air, he fell to the ground, sinking a bit in the mud, and was soon eaten alive by a buzzing creature that didn’t even have a name yet, Nate realized in his final moments. Glimpsing the copy of Survival that lay beside his belongings sinking in the mud, Nate came up with the perfect name: They’re Atwoods! This is Attack of the Atwoods!


Brutes

DEARBHAILE HOUSTON

“A girl like that needs discipline,” Robert says, as if I am not there. As if he knows what a girl needs. With three exwives, I don’t think he does. My mother sits opposite him at the kitchen table, dressing gown coming undone, head in hands. “I just don’t know what to do,” she says. The next evening Robert comes over for dinner. He brings with him a brochure for a summer camp. Teaching young women the value of self-sufficiency and discipline through hard work. I bore a hole in his head staring at him all through dinner. I imagine gutting him like a fish. The next morning my mother buys me a pair of hiking boots and insect spray. “You’re letting him send me to the gulag?” I ask. It’s not really a question though. I know my mother. “This will be good for you,” she says. I refuse to acknowledge her from then on, not even her waving figure as the bus pulls out of the car park that fateful day two weeks later. There is no hierarchy of girls on the bus. We are all here under duress. We are frizzy haired, acne’d, most likely bullied at home and at school. We have the apologetic posture of those who are used to being shouted at. Most, or all, of us have snapped from the pressure at some point or another, been sent to principal’s offices, group counselling, or perhaps a police station. This three week excursion to the woods is just another in a long line of injustices. The bus delivers us to an old camp site at the edge of the lake. We take our bags to our assigned cabins and then convene in the food hall to listen to a lecture given by a stern looking woman, who tells us about the importance of channelling our

energies differently to better our world. A line of young women stands behind us. They are our counsellors. One comes in half-way through the speech, a pair of scratched Wayfarers on her head. She takes our cabin. On her wrist is a tattoo that spells out in bleeding letters: M-OR-D-E-C-A-I. Ethel was direct and usually cranky in the mornings. She swore, and allowed the other girls to swear which enamoured her to them. But not purposefully. She didn’t care and we liked that. We knew this whole summer was bullshit and so did she. After breakfast on the second morning, she took us hiking in the woods. We stopped at a clearing of trees, beneath a small cliff on top of which stood a rickety wooden cabin. “See that piece-of-shit cabin up there?” she asked the group. “It’s our job this summer to clean it up. Let’s go take a look at what we’re dealing with, shall we?” A small trail led up the side of the rocks to the cabin. “This used to be the old fire-lookout for the campsite,” Ethel said. The cabin itself was still standing, all four walls and a scrap tin roof. The door hung off its hinges. The sash windows were still intact but covered with layers of dirt. As we walked in, the building creaked beneath our feet, the slats of wood worn but whole. The floor was covered with dust and bird dung, rocks and beer cans. It was welcomingly desolate. The next day we go back with tools and garbage bags. I like hammering the loosened slats of wood back into place, hitting them to the time of some imaginary rhythm in my head. Fuck you, fuck you, fuck you, the hammer goes. It’s Robert’s face I’m hitting, not

the floorboards. Ethel stands in the door frame, surveying our work and smoking. We like the nonchalant way she flicks the glowing ends into the dry pine needle carpet of the forest. We try to assume her posture, shoulders sloped to let the universe slide straight off of us. Another girl is sanding the skirting boards next to me. “What are you in for?” she asks, not taking her eyes off her task. “What?” I stop hammering. “Why did they send you here? What did you do?” “Oh. I beat someone up.” “Yeah? Who?” “A girl in my class,” “You break anything?” “Her nose.” “Sweet.” She smiles at me. I go back to hammering. Just then something hits the window with a thump. The cabin goes still. Ethel moves slowly from her position at the door and goes outside. We follow, taking our tools with us. Below the window, on the grass, is a small bird. A swallow or something. It looks almost comical lying there with one wing bent, eyes dull, like it should have a ring of smaller birds circling around its head. Ethel pokes it with her shoe. It doesn’t move. “I think it might be dead,” she says. She turns to the girl beside her who is holding a shovel. She grabs it and I hold my breath, because she looks as if she is going to smash the head of it down on the bird. Instead, she digs into the mossy earth beneath the window and begins shovelling. “Poor brute,” she says, as we watch her work in silence.

This three week excursion to the woods is just another in a long line of injustices.

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Sounds of Springtime JOSEPH BRANNAN SARAH DEAS

drip drip drip intermittent robin blackbird chickadee mutterings despite two feet of soggy-wool-blanket snow drip a caress of cloud-breath breeze whose hand has only slapped you since September, but now tickles drip in some mocking penitence. squelch of shoes whose rubber soles loose to the growing puddle glum drip of pent-up floods. She breathes out, Spring, exhaling the tears of Winter’s storms drip like a squalling child. She smells nice as if she were named after dish soap drip but oh the dirt and grime and crusted salt (but she tastes of bitter days before the daffodils) drip the slip and shiver of shoes as she thaws, creeps, pause freeze drip crawls into the light. drip

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SARAH HARTHOLT

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The Wildlife Issue  

Volume 13, Issue 7

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