Credo Espoir Issue 3

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Issue 3 January 2019




CREDO ESPOIR Letter from the Editor The Oxford dictionary defines mountain as “A large natural elevation of the earth's surface rising abruptly from the surrounding level; a large steep hill” or “A large pile or quantity of something”. As this latest issue was put together, I found many parallels between it and this definition of a mountain. As Credo Espoir matures onto its third publication, we find ourselves establishing our own niche, growing from a small collection of passionate teenagers to a wider community of people who believe in hope; from a small hill to a mountain. While there’s still plenty of room to grow, we are proud of how far we’ve come and we hope to go even further. Mountains aren’t formed in the serene setting we imagine them in, rather we see many chaotic events like rockslides and avalanches. Indeed we were not without our own avalanches, bringing us to the second definition of a mountain. As the members of the editorial staff continue their journey through college, we found ourselves overwhelmed with mountains of work in our personal lives. Just as we were able to overcome these mountains, we are sure all of the authors and artists who submitted pieces conquered their own mountains. A mountain is truly one of the most beautiful feats of nature, with its serene majesty masking the harsh environment. They provide a sense of protection yet can pose a challenge to overcome. They can be climbed one cliff at a time till the peak is reached, and then the beauty of the entire world lies below for miles on end. I hope that as you turn the pages of this magazine you can experience the beauty of this mountain we call Credo Espoir. - Shehzad


Majesty by Fabrice Poussin


Table of Contents Mountains ..............................................................................................................1 Molecular Geometry ............................................................................................3 The Moment Before ..............................................................................................5 High Plains ............................................................................................................9 Unremembered Memory...................................................................................11 Breakfast at Lunchtime ......................................................................................12 Sinkholes ..............................................................................................................13 Cousin May .........................................................................................................15 You Come In........................................................................................................17 Her Home ............................................................................................................19 Toronto Life .........................................................................................................21 A Long Way Away .............................................................................................31 windows of Madrid ...........................................................................................33 No Temptation ....................................................................................................34 Student Section ...................................................................................................35 Sound of Zero ......................................................................................................36 Dream ...................................................................................................................37 The Mountain Pass .............................................................................................39 Guardian Angels ................................................................................................40


Table of Contents

Contributors ....................................................................................................... 41 Staff ...................................................................................................................... 45


Mountains DS Maolalai I have never climbed mountains but I've conquered other things the snores rumble like dropped rocks in caverns and over your gamy side and through ripples of canyons and valleys, the gentle erosion of sharp-shouldered peaks worn down into roundness with time. its 5am. if we were on a hill the air would be cool, the gnats awake,

the air shifting in the grass like a cat yawning. I like it here, resting at this basecamp. it's warm rolling sideways on my battered mattress and tumbling down against the gentle rest of you, born as you were with organs and arms and elbows everywhere pared down to just something I like to have next to me and sweating lightly against the bed. a mile away the lake is lapping the shore with a wind, mewling and knocking over sandcastles and outside the light is coming accompanied by early morning sounds. we were both just in a bar the same night one night


and now you piss and talk out loud while I use my toothbrush and shower and neither of us worries about anything. you paint pictures and I type poems quietly, you sleep late while I wake up early and hear you. the cliffs are lonely this morning wolves pine in pine forests and old goats struggle to get around patches of grass.

I shift my weight, warm and sleepy, and hug your back against my chest hoping to warm them up.


Molecular Geometry John Grey She keeps dreaming of molecular geometry, three dimensional atoms fused into the building blocks of life. Beyond the polarity and reactivity, there's those simple fat round balls bonding to their heart's content. She goes to bed with nothing on her mind more than the travails of ordinary life,

but then her subconscious gets to work, turns itself into a display in a science museum, with parts labeled, functions explained, but whose ultimate fascination is in its cartoon coloring, audacious shapes. So maybe someday she grows up to be a physicist, or an artist, or perhaps someone who sees

everything for what it really is numberless components of matter.


Or could be she'll just wake up in the morning like the rest of us, sun on the sheets, rubbing eyes, stretching arms into a yawn, the random application of a particular arrangement.


The Moment Before Lisa Fox On a crisp winter’s eve, a young man named Darius traipses down a well-traveled path with Saint Peter. Ice-sheened gravel crunches with each step; it shimmers like diamonds, reflecting the dying fire of a December sunset. “Where are we going?” Saint Peter asks. Darius stuffs his hands in his coat pockets. His gaze rests heavy on the earth. “I’m not sure.” Shadow figures lurk amid the evergreens that flank the road, their amber eyes cutting through the mist. Their stares nip like pinpricks; Darius shudders under their gaze. Saint Peter glances at Darius as they amble forward. “Then why walk this path?” Saint Peter stops, placing a hand on Darius’s shoulder. His flowing robes graze the cuff of Darius’s worn jeans. Darius kicks at the dust. It eddies, glistening like starlight around them. “I’m looking for something,” Darius pauses, “but I’m not sure what.” Saint Peter furrows his brow and scratches his short-cropped beard. “Perhaps I can help.” Crouching down, Saint Peter scoops up a handful of dirt. He releases it heavenward and the dust forms a cloud, suspended in the air above. Bright light flashes from its core in a radiant color-storm, like a kaleidoscope in the sky. Abstract images flicker; they are shapeless and foreign, yet as familiar as a word resting at the tip of the tongue. The cloud glows in blinding white. Cowering, Darius squeezes his eyes shut. “Look up, Darius.” Projected across the cloud is a freshly manicured baseball field – white lines painted with perfection, adults wrangling small children on the bleachers as they watch with pride nine young boys in crisp blue uniforms, ready to play. Darius breathes in the sweet smell of spring; he points to a boy, wearing a too-large helmet, stepping up to the plate. “Hey, that’s me!”


“Your first day of Little League,” Saint Peter says. “Do you remember?” Darius laughs. “How could I forget?” The pitcher throws. Darius swings. Ball and bat connect at just the right second; the ball soars between first and second base, straight into right field. Young Darius drops the bat, thrusts his fist in the air, and plunges headlong down the third baseline. The right fielder grabs the ball and fires it to first base. “That was quite a line drive,” Saint Peter says. Darius frowns. “The kids never stopped teasing me for running to third. They called me Dum-Dum Darius until middle school.” “How did you feel before you hit that ball?” Darius shakes his head. “You know, I don’t remember.” Saint Peter nods. The cloud condenses and expands, color weaving through it like fibers in a tapestry. Saint Peter’s eyes bore into the cloud, searching. “Here!” Reverting to white, the cloud’s surface undulates, dissolving into soft tulle. The figure of a lithe, blonde woman in a wedding gown comes into focus. Though her features remain obscured by her veil, her smile breaks through. She holds a bouquet of white roses, their aroma enveloping Darius like a mantle. “You and Lana had the most beautiful wedding.” Darius moves his right hand toward his ring finger where a gold band once fit, caressing the exposed skin that is cast in shadow. “The Nor’easter that came through knocked out power across the county.” Pain punctuates his smile. “We danced in the candlelight, in the middle of a flooded-out banquet hall.” “Lana was a gorgeous bride,” Saint Peter says. “See how she looked at you?” “I’m sorry. I don’t think I can do this. Not now.” Darius turns, pinching the bridge of his nose. “Being without her…” St. Peter presses. “How did you feel when you first saw her that day? Before you lifted her veil?” Darius chokes back a sob. “Like I didn’t deserve her.” "All right, Darius. Let’s keep looking.”


Saint Peter clasps his hands together. The cloud darkens to black and lightning bursts around them. The shadow figures flee from the sanctuary of the forest, sprinting and soaring across the path, shrieking like banshees. The cloud crackles; acrid smoke burns Darius’s nostrils. “Do you remember this day?” Darius falls to his knees, covering his face with his palms. He shakes his head violently. “It was the day we met, Darius.”

“I was never supposed to be there. Aw, hell, I’m not supposed to be here!” Thunder booms, silencing the shadow figures’ wails. They creep toward Darius, converging in a mob of darkness around him. “You were the only one to stop to help that old woman. Everyone else kept driving.” “I wish to God I hadn’t stopped. That I hadn’t gotten out of the car.” Darius falls, prostrate and sobbing. St. Peter kneels, laying a hand on his shoulder. “If you hadn’t stopped, that woman would have died alone and terrified.” “Yeah, I was a real hero,” he says, his jaw set, his eyes wild.

Darius pushes off the ground, gravel clinging to him as he springs to his feet. He elbows his way through the shadows and stomps down the path, digging in with each step. Saint Peter rises and follows Darius, the synchronistic crunching of their footsteps breaking the silence. “I know why you walk this road.” Darius stops and turns toward Saint Peter. “But why don’t I know? I just keep marching forward, ending up exactly where I started. The path doesn’t change, and neither do I.” Darius runs his hands through his hair, tugging slightly at the roots. His features sag with fatigue.

“What am I even looking for?” “You’re looking for the one thing you can’t see,” Saint Peter says, draping an arm across Darius’s shoulder. “Your perfect moment. The one that defines everything.” Brow furrowed, Darius shakes his head. “But you showed me—" “—The only perfect moment is the moment before. It’s the space between heartbeats. The second before the bat hits the ball. The first notes of the Wedding March before the church doors open. The instant before you decide to act.”


He gestures toward the shadows slinking back through the wood. “They walked this path, just like you. Their road seemed circular and endless, just like yours. But they were so weighted down in their searching that they never even tried to look up. They grew weary of the journey and decided it was easier to just stay.” Darius glances toward the forest. Like a swarm of fireflies, millions of eyes glisten, returning his gaze. “They’re stuck,” he murmurs. “But you, my friend, are not.” Saint Peter smiles, pensive. “Not yet.” Saint Peter extends his hand to Darius. Their palms touch; Darius grasps firmly, just as his father had taught him so many years before. Saint Peter’s form fades into the starless night, swirling mist eclipsing the hem of his robe. In his hand, Darius holds a weathered baseball – Little League issue. He stands in a bed of white rose petals, light and velvet as a cloud beneath his feet. The path ahead glows; glimmering jewels lead to a golden key that hovers in the distance. The shadow creatures whisper through the trees, their voices trilling like the song of cicada in the summertime. The shine in their eyes fades, sure as the stars succumb to a rising dawn. Darius turns from them and looks up.

The moment before. He steps forward, leaving an imprint on the path that lingers for just an instant before it resets itself, as if he were never there.


High Plains by Fabrice Poussin



Unremembered Memory Natasha Kafka It`s a kind of strange When you`re falling through space

People look at the night sky Show at your way with their hands Thinking you`re just a part of the endless starry vault They show you to their kids

And everything is so beautiful and lonely


Breakfast at Lunchtime DS Maolalai I stretched and made a noise and went out to get croissants from the place on the corner.

I didn’t even know her that well and left her in my flat to do whatever she'd like to -

the air tasted good in the morning like jam on brown bread washed down with a glass of water and I had to queue for a while behind people who were getting lunch during work

when I got back into bed with the bag she simply nibbled them while I kissed her neck and drank coffee

not as in love with the hungover taste of breakfast as I was with the taste of her


Sinkholes Mary Anna Kruch My sister is cocooned

We missed the pain

in a tiny, jam-packed cottage

buried deep into witty sarcasm

on a wild, spacious lot

and a most urgent need to win –

in the north woods,

failed to see her delight in song,

minutes from my daughter --

her stunning short stories, her habitual nail biting.

twenty-five years from me.

We missed the chance to boost her grandiose,

The deep fragrance of sand and pine

sometimes manic, spirit

of childhood trips up M-115

but more, her possibilities –

to Granny’s farm

as we lived, ignorant

lift her up and away

of her daily demons

from the laughter that haunts

at school

a mistaken, flawed sense of self,

and the inherited,

a chaotic reality


tangled in drugs, but even more –


a family apart who had held her at a distance for her whole life.


But long ago,

This warm, late-summer day,

when conversation flowed naturally

my sister stands alone,

between her and me --

digs her toes deep

when talk was as constant

in among the quartz and granite,

as the waves on Lake Michigan,

seeks jasper, steps around slag,

my sister saw

picks up a bright, sticky zebra mussel,

my own need for support,

facing the Sleeping Bear.

which I sought much later

Her eyes chase the movement

and denied much too long.

of clouds.

She saw my mistaken, flawed sense of self

She is slightly surprised

and a most urgent need to win—

and most likely relieved,

in my case, foster peace

to find the waves have stirred

in a frenzied household --

around her ankles,

and stage a sense of calm

creating cool sinkholes.

to make my parents proud in a family a-part but one that held me close for my whole life.


Cousin May Linda Imbler I tell St. Peter at the gate, one of my major regrets is still not atoned. Now’s the time to make it right.

May’s stumble and fall onto the dirt road, for two children in a car watching through the window, became banana peel hilarity. For the adults present and close, a great cause for concern, of the bloody nose,

stanched by only the greatest effort.

Within a few months, her angel escorts left with her, never to let her fall again. She stepped into eternity, not ever having said an unpleasant word to any nor leveling any accusations to them.

Although she did not learn of our transgression, I must tell her I'm sorry. This shall be my testimony to the spiritual evolution of my soul from one end of my life to the other.


I ask St. Peter at the gate to please entreat her to come meet me. Now’s the time to make it right.


You Come In DS Maolalai after 2 or 3 days away and your room

is still a mess.

be sensible: it was a mess when you left it and nobody's been by since. what do you expect, for the mice to hide your wine bottles when they're done making hell in the spaghetti?

normally you'd clean a little on the weekend, but the temptation of a girl who wants you over will always be too great. it's the 3rd or 4th time in the month you've come in to this on a sunday evening and things don't get better, they just accumulate.


things with the girl were good though; sweet food and gin and tonics in the sunshine and she never comes to your place when her's has a view of the beach.

you guess if you sleep on it you'll get used to the filth.

god plants such delicious apples; they fall so close by and so juicy and such moments are made for the bite.


Her Home by Fabrice Poussin



Toronto Life John Tavares Clay’s second cousin hiked the trail from the band office, where he had to deal with some kind of bureaucratic red tape and bull over his white girlfriend living on the reserve without band permission, even if she lived in town weekdays, when she wasn’t flying to reservations north of Sioux Lookout, where she worked as a social worker with the First Nations social services agency. After he cursed Clay and blamed him for letting his leg hold traps sit to rust in the shed, when he asked him to oil them, and showed him his broken leg was healing slowly from the snowmobile accident he had while ice fishing on Lac Seul, he said Clay inherited a condo in Toronto from his nephew. In disbelief and distraction, Clay returned to reading the Reader’s Digest large print condensed book, Gone with the Wind, beside the dim light from the lantern. Then, at the reservation gas station and convenience store, Clay thought he was starting to go completely deaf, but, over the din and noise of the announcer shouting excitedly during the live telecast of the playoff hockey game, from the television on the refrigerator beside the microwave oven, the lawyer confirmed the bequest in a long distance telephone call. Clay still didn’t believe his nephew had left him a condominium; the nature of the accommodation was ultramodern, exotic, to him; the location was foreign, faraway. Later, the chief explained to him at the reservation band office a condo or condominium was a fancy city name for an apartment. His nephew, a lawyer, specializing in law for indigenous people, was killed in a fiery car crash on Highway 401, after he drove from the Six Nations reserve to help negotiate settlements for residential school and Sixties Scoop claims.


His nephew’s lawyer partner said Nodin had no other living relatives he held in high esteem, aside from his uncle Clay, who he remembered fondly. Nodin remembered the times Clay insisted on taking him on his snowmobile, all-terrain vehicle, and dog sled along the trails through the bush around Lac Seul and patiently taught him hunting, fishing, and trapping skills on the bush and lake around Tobacco Lodge reserve and the surrounding waterways, which, after the construction of the hydroelectric dam at Ears Falls, one could argue, turned into a reservoir. His nephew especially loved the skills he learned snowshoeing through the bush, along the lakeshore, and across the lakes, and fur trapping, ice fishing for walleye and lake trout, commercial fishing whitefish, setting snares and leg hold traps on the trap line in the snowy bush for snowshoe hare, fox, lynx muskrat, beaver, mink, marten, fisher, and wolves. Nodin also respected the fact Clay never smoked or drank, or took advantage of women, or friends, or, for that matter, judged him. The lawyer called him several more times long distance. Again, he had to snowmobile or snowshoe to the reservation convenience store to use the payphone or hike to the reservation band office to borrow their landline to listen to the lawyer explain he should simply sell the condominium. The apartment was probably worth a million dollars. The lawyer, his nephew’s partner, reassured him he would help him invest the funds, purchase an annuity, set up an investment portfolio of income earning stocks and bonds, or set up a trust fund, which would provide him with a pension or monthly income. The chief agreed with the Toronto lawyer he should sell the condo. The chief claimed he had gotten too used to, too acclimatized, to life on the reservation, and the culture shock of Toronto might kill him. She said he’d hate life in the city, especially a big city like Toronto, since he better appreciated the traditional way of life on the reserve and the surrounding nature.


Clay never liked the chief much and was mystified by her claim to speak for him. Who said he hated life in the city? he demanded. He never said he didn’t like life in the city, or preferred living in Sioux Lookout or Tobacco Lodge to the city of Toronto. He was seventy years old, and, in his mind, he felt fit and well, but he was afflicted with old age conditions like arthritis. He was suffering from gout and ankylosing spondylitis, and, short of breath, he worried about the effects of heart disease. He didn’t feel like he was in any physical or psychological condition to hunt and fish, and he was actually tired of living on the reserve. At his age, seventy, he felt like he could no longer tolerate the cold to snowshoe the trap line, or even fish or guide tourist for walleye, musky, or northern pike on Lac Seul, or hunt for moose, whitetail deer or ruffed grouse. The chief was incredulous and so was his nephew’s lawyer, both of whom continued to try to persuade him to sell the condo. Exasperated and frustrated, they raised their voices and gesticulated, as they tried to persuade him to sell the condominium, but he couldn’t possibly think of what he could do with a million dollars. “It’s a million dollars before taxes, but after taxes and fees,” the lawyer said, starting to sound officious, like an accountant, “the bequest will be far less.” Even after taxes, the chief said, how could he possibly spend a million dollars when he lived on a reservation like Tobacco Lodge, if he didn’t smoke, or drink, or chase women. If he lived in the city of Toronto, though, Clay argued, he would be close to medical specialists like rheumatologists and cardiologists, who would be able to help him with the aches and inflammation of his rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis and the shortness of breath and chest pains associated with angina pectoris. He didn’t really have any close friends or relatives on the reserve, or even in the town of Sioux Lookout, nearby, anyway. He always enjoyed his visits to the city of Toronto and staying with his nephew. He liked visiting the gay bars and strip clubs, and he especially loved the coffee in the exotic variety of cafes, full-bodied, strong flavoured, not water downed or diluted like in the local café, in Sioux Lookout. At the Roundhouse Café in Sioux Lookout, if you lingered a little too long, or said the wrong thing, or talked a little too loud, or didn’t smell like eau de cologne, the owner, who hovered above customers like a stage mom, might kick you out and ban you.


Once again, the lawyer and the chief tried to persuade him not to live in the condo in Toronto, warning him about the high cost of living in Toronto, and the high cost of property taxes. When he compared the property taxes for the house he owned in Sioux Lookout with those in the city of Toronto, though, he noticed the property taxes weren’t that much higher, even though the Sioux Lookout house was worth much less. You could buy several houses in Toronto for the price of that condominium and then you would have a real property tax problem on your hands. So, he reassured them he had squirreled away sufficient savings, from the money he earned on the trapline, from his full-time job on the green chain and the planer and as a filer for the huge saw blades in the Northwestern Ontario Forest Products sawmill in Hudson, and from the summers he worked as a fishing guide on Lac Seul and the autumns he moonlighted as a hunting guide for Americans anxious to shoot a moose or black bear. Likewise, he could sell the small house he owned in Sioux Lookout, where he lived for a decade while he worked as a night watchman at the Department of Indian Affairs Zone hospital for indigenous patients from the northern reserves. Besides, he didn’t even own the cabin he lived in on the reserve in Tobacco Lodge. He didn’t even feel like shoveling the snow on the walkway—he didn’t want visitors and, if anyone was intent on visiting him, they could trudge through the snow—or fixing up and doing maintenance work on the cabin. Beginning to think a condo might suit him, after all, the lawyer reassured him fees would cover maintenance and upkeep for the condominium. The lawyer explained he was a close friend of his nephew and would do what he could to help him when he flew to Toronto. “Fly to Toronto? I’m not flying to Toronto. I don’t need to be hassled by metal detectors and security guards.” Clay preferred to take the passenger train, which was slow by modern standards, taking over a day in travel across the Canadian Shield of Northern Ontario, before the train even started travelling south to Toronto. The Via Rail passenger train was often late, falling behind the right of way of freight trains, but the travel was hassle free and the dome car and large window seats allowed him to sight see the Canadian Shield landscape, the lakes, the forests, the rivers, creeks, muskeg, swamps, rock outcrops, and small towns and camps and outposts along the northern route.


Before he left the chief called him to the band office and his office for one last meeting. He said he just wanted to make certain that there was no hard feelings. He tried to reassure him he wasn’t trying to tell him or order him what to do, especially with his own personal life, but he was only thinking about his best interests and what he thought might make him happiest. He still didn’t think he would be happy over the long term living in Toronto, especially compared to life on the reserve of Tobacco Lodge. That judgement, she said, was based on her own personal experience with fellow band members, particularly younger people, who moved to the city and became addicted to opioids, intravenous drugs, and pills, or resorted to the sex trade or found themselves victims of human trafficking or trapped in a criminal lifestyle, drug trafficking, smuggling, robbery, because of poverty or addiction, or got caught up in the wrong crowd in urban centres like Winnipeg, Thunder Bay, or Toronto. Still, she understood he had a life and mind of his own, and he was free to learn through experience how hard life could be in the city, particularly in Toronto, and he would always be a member of the band. He didn’t tell her he wouldn’t allow her to decide what was good for him, but he thanked her, even though he thought she was overeducated, and a bit too condescending and overbearing. When he arrived in Toronto, the lawyer friend of his nephew met him at Union Station, hired a limousine to drive him the short distance downtown home, and helped him set up house in Aura, the condo high-rise at Gerard and Yonge Street. He told him the Aura Building, where his nephew owned a condominium, which he now owned, was stacked seventy-nine stories high, with more floors than any building in Canada, and was taller than any residential building in Canada. Then the lawyer friend of his nephew said he was gay. The reason Nodin’s father or none of his brothers or sisters inherited the condominium: Nodin was gay. No-one in Nodin’s family accepted his sexual orientation or lifestyle. Born again Christians, Nodin’s family had difficulty accepting their siblings and son’s homosexuality and disowned him. His nephew said Clay never had an issue with his sexual orientation. Live and let live, Clay said, and he didn’t know what to add because he still thought the fact his nephew was gay wasn’t his business, and he couldn’t pass judgement. He was family and another person, no more, no less, except he was smart and talented and had special skills as a lawyer, all of which he admired. Then Josh told him that Nodin actually died from AIDS.


“AIDS? I thought you told me twice over the telephone he died from a car crash on the freeway.” “After he was diagnosed with an HIV infection, Nodin started drinking, and he stopped taking his medications, which were also making him sick. Eventually, he contracted pneumonia caused by the HIV virus, and he died a painful death. But I couldn’t say he died from pneumonia related to AIDS to the people on the reservation. Then the gossip and rumour mill would go crazy, and his brother might drive all the way down to Toronto to shoot me.” “I don’t think they care.” “Possibly because they already know.” “They know he’s gay, but Nodin doesn’t exist for them anymore. Nodin was already dead to his closest family before he actually died. He’s been dead to them since they discovered he was gay, when he was caught by an OPP officer with a teacher from Queen Elizabeth High School, in a car parked overnight in Ojibway Park. The teacher was fired, but Nodin was expelled from high school and went to Pelican Falls Residential School when it reopened.” But, Clay said, he knew he couldn’t mention Nodin’s name around his family, because immediately his mother flew into a fury or his father threatened to drive a thousand miles to Toronto to shoot him. Or his brothers joked about taking him to downtown Sioux Lookout to the Fifth Avenue Club or Fathead’s sports bar and tying him to a tree or utility pole and allowing a loose woman from the rez or trailer park or living on the streets have her way with him. They even joked about driving to Dryden and the strip club and locking him up in a motel room with a stripper who would give him more than a lap dance. “You should have an easy time living in Toronto,” the friend said.


Clay said he hoped he would. The first several months he busied himself with adapting to the city environment and setting up house. He kept the television and the computer his nephew had in the condo, but he barely used them, except to watch a few movies and videos online and fishing and hunting shows on the outdoor television channels. In fact, he found the living quarters so empty and bereft he spent as much time as he possibly could away from the high-rise apartment, with its spectacular view of the city, especially at night, and its amenities and luxuries, including the weight room, the swimming pool, and the gymnasium. He busied himself with medical appointments with the cardiologists and rheumatologists, and diagnostic tests at the hospital, but once he was placed on the suitable medication at the proper doses he was stable and required little medical attention. As he settled into city life, he busied himself with visiting the library to read the newspapers from around the world or large print bestseller books. Then, in the evenings, he visited the restaurants and coffee shops and the odd time adult video shops and strip clubs sprawled across the city, but what he found peculiar and more interesting were the buses, subways, and streetcar rides across the city to visit different establishments, including a few art galleries and museums. He felt, in fact, he had become what subway riders called a straphanger. He enjoyed taking the buses, subway rides, on expeditions across the city. He enjoyed people watching, amazed at the wide variety of people who commuted and travelled across the vast city of Toronto. What amazed him even more, though, was the way the transit commission police followed him across the city. The transit enforcement officers seemed forever interested in where Clay was travelling, what he was reading, usually the Toronto Sun, the Toronto Star, or the Toronto edition of the Globe and Mail newspaper, leftover by another commuter, and they were usually interested in what or who he was looking at. When they stopped him and asked him where he was going, he was a bit embarrassed to say he wanted to go to a flea market sale and see if he could find videotapes and DVD’s of Marlon Brandon movies on sale cheap at his favorite video store before it went out of business. He decided to tell them he was visiting The House of Lancaster on the Queensway and observed with bemusement how they reacted.


The officers tried to persuade him not to take the bus from the Keele subway station platform to the Queensway. They told him he was too old for a titty bar. Another time they called him a dirty old man and tried to order him to go home. Once they followed him because they thought he was a fare jumper and didn’t believe that he could afford a transit pass. They even double and triple checked his identification and monthly transit pass because they said he looked too young to be a senior and worried he might be an illegal immigrant. Another pair of transit enforcement officers told him they thought he was suffering from dementia and prone to wandering aimlessly and dangerously. The transit officer, whose turban he admired, said, if Clay was from an Indian reservation, maybe he should return to the north and live there again. An officer said there had been complaints about him, and that he might be happier on the reserve. “Traditional and ancestral lands is where it’s at, eh?” He asked him to tell him about the complaints, but the officer shrugged, shook his head, rolled his eyes, and crossed his beefy arms. “You don’t understand women in the city,” he said. “Don’t you know it’s rude to stare?” Later, Clay even decided to buy a smartphone, from the electronic retailer in the Eaton’s Centre, and, even though he didn’t learn how to completely use the phone, he liked to read books, newspapers, and magazines on the screen because he could enlarge the text to a size large enough to suit his blurred and failing vision. Once, when he put down his smartphone and forgot to pick up the device, when he rose for his stop at College Station, a transit supervisor seized the cellphone, and, when he tried to take it back from him, he said it was lost or stolen. He said he was turning the smartphone to the fare collector, who would turn it into the lost and found, if no-one claimed it by the end of his shift. Since Clay didn’t use the phone that often, anyway, and even then the calls to the reservation were costly and depressing, he decided why bother complaining and attempt to have the smartphone returned, when his nephew had left him e-book readers, full of books, which only needed to be recharged every second or third week, instead of everyday like the smartphone.


Then, one evening, when he returned from a visit to a Starbucks in the suburbs, and he entered through the automatic gate, the burly pair of security guards insisted on seeing his identification and his transit pass, insistent that he was fare jumping. When he showed them his transit pass, they insisted it was stolen. When they asked to see his identification, to confirm the name on his transit pass matched my ID, he realized he forgot his wallet with his identification in the strip club. No worries, though, the doorman and security guards in the men’s club knew him and would hold his wallet for him until his next visit. The big burly bald security guard insisted on seeing his identification, immediately, and put him in a headlock, which turned into a chokehold grip, when he tried to pull and twist away. He decided to test the strength of his new dentures on the man’s hands, biting the flabby fold of flesh between his thumb and fingers. He didn’t see what choice he had since the man was choking him, suffocating him. He knew the man was a security guard and not a police officer, so he didn’t see how the man was justified in using such force, but, after he bit him, the point was moot since the second security guard, initially anxious his buddy was using excessive force, pounded his head with a baton. So it came to pass Clay was hospitalized with a head injury in the intensive care unit of Toronto Hospital and then he, in a coma, was transferred to the neurology and the neurosurgery ward. The neurosurgeon operated, drilling holes in his skull, and removing a sawn segment of the cranium to relieve the intracranial pressure and stem the bleeding in his brain. After multiple surgeries, the doctors didn’t expect him to recover: he was taken off the respirators and feeding tubes. He was returned to Sioux Lookout in a hardwood casket in the cargo hold and luggage compartment of the passenger train, which, delayed and forced into rail ridings by an early winter blizzard, arrived sixteen hours late. Their breath turning to clouds of smoke, the conductor and engineer cursed in the cold as they unloaded him from the baggage and luggage car, behind the locomotive, at the site of the abandoned train station in Hudson. Clay lay in the coffin alongside a piece of lost and misplaced luggage on the broken cement platform near the railroad crossing in Hudson, at the intersection with the road to the sawmill, until the chief sent his cousins to pick him up in the blowing snow and freezing cold. The chief reassured his cousins they needn’t worry, his estate and the sale of the condo would provide more than enough money to compensate them and to provide funds to bury him in the reserve cemetery in Tobacco Lodge, if no one wanted him buried in the Evergreen Cemetery in Hudson, or the cemetery in Sioux Lookout.


An empty brown beer bottle and a few stubbed cigarette butts on the freshly packed soil marked the plot on the snowy landscape in the chilly cemetery where he was buried. With a few days, the late leafless autumn turned harsh, winter grew dark and frigid and froze the lakes and the Canadian Shield rocks, and the earth turned hard and the snow heaped high.


A Long Way Away by Fabrice Poussin



windows of Madrid Amirah Wassif I remember when we woke together in the ancient streets of Spain I remember I felt a strong shiver which could heal any pain

when the fantastic windows whispered in my ears " hello " I couldn't dare to reply I thought that voice came from my fellow so I began to spy here, I discovered the magnificent magic her shape take more than my like when I jumped like a child in the street because I fall in love with the windows of Madrid this a romantic story escaped from the old age and rapidly came to me and wrote its secret on my page the beauty windows of Madrid inspired me to write in Casa Maria plaza mayor it makes my soul singing for the coming light and also for the ancient art of Spain which could heal your entirely suffer or pain


No Temptation DS Maolalai my history

the devil

isn't very interesting -

play checkers against


death and plato

are not even

and lose

an interesting part of it.

every time.

I am

we together

(I know)

are boring;

a boring man:

we are not a movie

I dress


the way my soul is

or song


because what point is there

and don't

in a song

wear t-shirts

about people

even in the heat.

who are happy?

for a while

the devil

(early 20s)

loses again;

I imagined

there is no temptation

I was walking down the avenues of god

that would ever make me

kicking over dustbins and scaring cats but really I'll just sit quietly outside bars and watch


Student Section Scott Thomas Outlar Let the birds take my pen – they have more to say now than I. Let them sing about the storms they brave and each turning of the season. Let the sky swallow my tongue – it has seen more than my eyes ever will. Let it speak about the wars it has resided over and the ages of peace where all seemed calm.

Let the wind hold my breath – it has traveled distances I can hardly fathom. Let it blow with the breeze to islands unexplored and fill tired lungs with new gasps of expansion. Let the gods steal my heart – they know the power of love much better. Let them weep, let them howl, let them scream, let them dance and teach of a truth that never wanders astray.


Sound of Zero Natasha Kafka A tiger will eat you But he`s only an executor In truth the iron bell tolling The end of immortality The tree of life pulsating On the inner side of an eyelid On the branch the cockatoo sleeping for eons Now trumpeting age of awakeness


Dream by Fabrice Poussin



The Mountain Pass Karen Schauber Meringue clouds billow across an endless sky as they march like foot soldiers up towards the mountain peak. Still early yet, the sun too begins its climb snaking above the timberline, its thin beams razor sharp like cat’s claws. The temperature catches them unprepared. Like nomads, they shuffle together to keep warm. Eleven weeks and the days keep coming, the laminated map guiding their way; encrusted now, viewed as if through grainy mustard. Clusters of Indian paintbrush speckle the alpine meadow before them in swaths of orange, crimson, and fuchsia. It is an impressionist painting to die for, but no one notices the brilliance, their gaze always much farther afield. At noon they pause briefly along the tree line, to refresh and get their bearings. A quick bite of cubed cheese and shaved beef jerky, they drain their flask and press on, quiet, like dead men walking. With the atomic glow nipping at their heels, they scramble atop the glade, loose shale underfoot, blister beads wasting away tender raw feet. Stopping to swaddle wounds in fresh socks is out of the question. They are a ramshackle group formed in haste. They pray they are not all that is left. Bear, timber wolf, and coyote used to roam this region, but they seem to have perished; if not from the blast, from the dust. A sudden whiff of scat stops them in their tracks. Their nose registers the odour as fresh. It is the first good sign. Excited murmurs break out. Like the needle pulling north on a metal compass, they feel they are close, within range. A red-tailed hawk, its pale underbelly sharply visible, soars aloft in the distance, pointing the way. They pick up their pace. Ahead, the safe zone to the north, strong and free: Canada.


Guardian Angels DS Maolalai today

flies hum

the sun is 30,

like hungry guardian angels

burning every surface

and god

as white

has taken the evening off.

as fallen snow.

this whole town

all across the canal

is a goodlooking yawn,

people spread out


like scattered swanfeathers,

the colour of leather.

throwing bottles


and smoking

is relaxed,

rolled up

far more

the ends

that when the boss is around.

of cigarettes. tomorrow the water will be green as green steamboats, hazy with heat and the scum of spilled beer. I walk by with vegetables, my white wine and my sunglasses.



DS Maolalai DS Maolalai is a poet from Ireland who has been writing and publishing poetry for almost 10 years. His first collection, Love is Breaking Plates in the Garden, was published in 2016 by the Encircle Press, and he has a second collection forthcoming from Turas Press in 2019. He has been nominated for Best of the Web and twice for the Pushcart Prize. DS believes that respect between humans is something which should be considered a given until proven otherwise - that is to say, it is something which can of course be lost but which should never have to be earned. Fabrice Poussin Fabrice Poussin teaches French and English at Shorter University. Author of novels and poetry, his work has appeared in Kestrel, Symposium, The Chimes, and dozens of other magazines. His photography has been published in The Front Porch Review, the San Pedro River Review as well as other publications. He believes in the interconnectedness of all things at all times and in their infinite existence. Linda Imbler Linda Imbler is an internationally published poet. Her poetry collections include “Big Questions, Little Sleep,” “Lost and Found,” and “The Sea’s Secret Song.” She is a Kansas-based Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net Nominee. Linda’s poetry and a listing of publications can be found at Linda believes that poetry truly adds to the beauty of the world.



Karen Schauber Karen Schauber is a seasoned Family Therapist practicing in Vancouver, British Columbia. Her earlier writing is non-fiction and details three decades of psychosocial and analytical cases. Flash Fiction is a new and welcome adventure for her. Karen’s flash fiction is published in 25 Literary Magazines and Anthologies including Brilliant Flash Fiction, Bending Genres, CarpeArte, Ekphrastic Review, Fiction Southeast, and Poems for the Writing: A Textbook. The upcoming Group of Seven Flash Fiction Commemorative Anthology celebrating the Canadian modernist landscape painters is her first editorial flash venture - In her obsession with flash fiction, Karen also manages http:// She can be reached directly at http:// Karen believes strongly in a world that strives for balance through ethics, rather than power and control. Lisa Fox Lisa Fox is a pharmaceutical market research consultant by day and fiction writer by night. She recently returned to creative writing after a long hiatus and hasn't stopped since. Her short fiction appears in the Devil’s Party Press anthology “Suspicious Activity,” Ellipsis Zine, Foliate Oak Literary Magazine and Lisa resides in northern New Jersey with her husband, two sons, and their oversized dog, and relishes the chaos of everyday suburban life. Lisa believes that the best path taken is the one that leads to kindness - we never know how a simple act of caring can change someone's life.

Mary Anna Kruch Mary Anna Kruch is a career educator who has moved from academic to personal writing. Her growing up family, Italian family near Rome, and nature inspire poetry and photography.She leads a monthly writing workshop, Williamston Community Writers, and has been published in The Remembered Arts Journal, River Poets Journal, Plum Tree Tavern, and Edition 3. Her first poetry collection will be published by Finishing Line Press this spring. Mary Anna believes deeply in the power of connection to family past and present, to those who feel lonely or lost, and to the earth.



John Grey John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in the Homestead Review, Harpur Palate and Columbia Review with work upcoming in the Roanoke Review, the Hawaii Review and North Dakota Quarterly. John is a firm believer in the power of love for those John knows and tolerance toward those John doesn’t. Scott Thomas Outlar Scott Thomas Outlar hosts the site where links to his published poetry, fiction, essays, interviews, reviews, live events, and books can be found. His work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. Outlar was a recipient of the 2017 Setu Magazine Award for Excellence in the field of literature. His words have been translated into Afrikaans, Albanian, Dutch, Italian, French, Persian, and Serbian. He has been a weekly contributor for the cultural newsletter Dissident Voice since 2014. His most recent book, Abstract Visions of Light, was released in 2018 through Alien Buddha Press. Scott believes that the art of living is in itself a form of artistic expression, and that each individual is inherently imbued with unique gifts, talents, abilities, and skills that, when utilized properly, can help them and others in the world realize their true purpose, meaning, and full potential to shine in life. John Tavares Born & raised in Sioux Lookout, Ontario, John is the son of Portuguese immigrants from the Azores. His education includes graduation from 2-year GAS at Humber College in Etobicoke with concentration in psychology (1993), 3-year journalism at Centennial College in East York (1996) & the Specialized Honors BA in English from York University in North York (2012). He worked as a research assistant for the Sioux Lookout Public Library & as a research assistant in waste management for the SLKT public works department & regional recycle association. He also worked with the disabled for the Sioux Lookout Association for Community Living.



Amirah Al Wassif Amirah Al Wassif is a freelance writer (28) years old, from egypt. She has written articles, novels, short stories poems and songs. Five of her books were written in Arabic and many of her English works have been published in various cultural magazines. Amirah is passionate about producing literary works for children, teens and adults which represent cultures from around the world. Her first book, was published in 2014 and her latest illustrated book, The Cocoa Book and Other Stories is forthcoming. Natasha Kafka Natasha Kafka is a poet, performer and video artist from Balkans. She creates under the heteronyms Galadriel, Flora, and Charlie, and this time you`re reading the works of Galadriel, which is the most serious of the three. Before that, Natasha was awarded artist in her country which treats artists in a not so very good way, so this summer she decided to make a fresh start in English. Her poems were published or are forthcoming in Omnistoria, Academy of The Heart and Mind, One Sentence Poems, and Event Horizon. She deeply believes everything happens for a reason although we`re not always aware of it, because we can see the puzzle pieces only and God sees the whole picture.



Aliquis | Website Manager & Prose Editor A pencil breaker, book hoarder, and midnight thinker, she mindlessly plays with equations in corners and recreates her life on paper. Her unbreakable habits include nibbling dark chocolate, testing the limits of her telescope, and torturing her punching bag. She has won district and state awards for her writing and cannot imagine life without words or numbers. She believes in equality and education for all.

Demira | Poetry Editor Currently a writer, artist, dreamer, and introvert. She constantly scribbles words onto tattered pages woven from big dreams. She spends her time on her laptop, loves snow, and enjoys learning about philosophy and news ways of looking at the world. She has won various national level writing awards. She believes in Krishna and a life lived in serving others.

Maddie | Art Editor Along with exploring nature, Maddie loves exploring new, often absurd, ideas. Her free time consists mainly of creating art and music, being active, gaming, and volunteering, but her true passion lies in learning about and interacting with different animals. She has won numerous awards for art and music, both of which have greatly strengthened her creativity. She believes in working together to reverse mankind’s destruction on the environment.



Pualani | Blog Writer As an avid reader and Netflix binger, her mind is constantly swimming between reality and the worlds that her imagination summons. In love with learning, she hopes to marry science with the humanities and one day become a writer/veterinarian at a wildlife sanctuary in Africa. Most of all, she loves embracing her Native Hawaiian culture through hula and the education of others. From the center of the sea, her inquisitive mind has led her far from the islands she was raised on in the hopes that she may one day leave a mark on the world.

Shehzad | Blog Manager A revolutionary stuck in the body of an engineer. When he’s not writing code or learning about the newest discoveries in astronomy, he’s busy pondering current events, trying to find solutions to the hardest political problems and wondering why there’s so much hatred in the world. He is a devout Muslim who strongly opposes any type of inequality or prejudice.


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