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FALL 2013


Halcyon - Fall 2013


HALCYON MAGAZINE CONTENTS 5 Last Leaf of Autumn by Craig Steele 7 The Third Season by Daron Baker 7 Haiku from Sidney Bending 8 Among Autumn Leaves by Dawn Schrieber 9 Autumn Memories by Adrienne Furniss 10 A Leaf by Cristina Rizzuto 11 Autumn Happens by Patricia A. McGoldrick 11 Haiku from Craig Steele 12 What Makes a Day Worthwhile by Elizabeth Dobbin 14 The Light by Mark Goodman 15 Fall Feeding by Lynn Tait 15 Haiku from Craig Steele 16 Longer Nights by Irene Ferraro-Sives 18 The Climb by Lauren Winquist 19 Time of the Mysteries by Jessica Van de Kemp 20 A Glimpse into the Hourglass by Sara Etgen-Baker 22 Hidden in the School Library by Debbie Okun Hill 23 Coming Home by Anne Mason 24 Autumn’s Crest by Theresa Milstein 25 Butterfly by Tyro Vogel 26 Apples by Wally Swist 27 To Reap and To Sow by Nina Pelletier 28 A Fresh Start by Nikki Rosen 29 Seasonal Affect by Nancy Cook 31 Contributors Corner Halcyon Magazine ISSN: 2291-0255 Frequency: Quarterly Publisher|Designer: Monique Berry

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Contact Info 1-905-549-3981

Special Notices Halcyon has one time rights. See website for subscription details. No photocopies allowed.

FALL 2013 FROM THE FOUNDER Welcome to the fourth edition of Halcyon! Congratulations to Craig Steele and Shelley Rottenberg for winning the writing and photography contest. Craig won for his poem (p5) that matched the accompanying photo. And Shelley won for the vibrant colors in her photo (p28). I’ll be holding a contest for the winter issue on October 1, 2013. How I love this season of color and light. It’s as if the leaves capture each sunrise and sunset. Every day is an invitation to answer Mother Nature’s call to reflect. I want to do the same by visually capturing the reader’s attention with vibrant photos and words. Finally, a big shout out to my word painters. You play a major part in the magazine’s success. The autumn door is closing, but another one with its own beauty will open soon. If you like snuggling, be sure to return for the winter edition. It’s right around the corner. Until the next time, think Halcyon thoughts!

Halcyon Magazine, Founding Editor MONIQUE BERRY is the founder of Halcyon, Praise Writers, and Twisted Endings. She also founded the former Perspectives and Christian Perspectives magazines. Monique has published stories and poems in Personal Journaling, The Sitter’s Companion, Searching for Answers Anthology, and Rock Bottom Journal. She is the workshop leader of a local writers group “First Impressions.” Monique lives in Hamilton, ON, Canada.

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c stoupa |

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Last Leaf of Autumn By Craig Steele* The one red leaf, the last of its clan, That dances as often as dance it can,… ― Samuel Taylor Coleridge

The last leaf that clings to the gnarled maple tree blinks in the breeze like a wrinkled red eye. It gazes once more across autumn’s chill sea, then flings itself skyward with a quick gentle sigh…

Buoyed up by the wind, it’s sailing about, fluttering aloft till at last it gives out,

and lands on the top of a scarlet leaf pile, where it kisses its kin before chattering awhile.


Winner of the Halcyon Fall 2013 writers contest

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The Third Season By Daron Baker Of all of the seasons "The Third Season" seems to be overshadowed by the others.

cold creeps into autumn a crowd of maples letting go Sidney Bending

With the freshness of Spring, The escape of Summer, and then finally by a Winter-long Holiday season, The Third Season seems to blow by unrecognized. Maybe it's the concurrent gust of cool wind that not only fuels the russling of the leaves, but directs the birds to fly south. This fruitful time of year tends to produce a desirable canvas for nature's best paintings, A pallet with dozens of warm and bronze colors. The Third Season brings the last opportunity to enjoy the good weather before the bitterly cold closing of the year. © Sreedhar Yedlapati |

The last chance to lite the candle in the Jack-O-Lantern, before going door to door repeating that famous Third Season phrase,Trick-or-Treat. A chance to let the homemade pie cool, before the family comes over from some turkey with stuffing.

full moon taut over the bridge footsteps hesitate Sidney Bending

Only in The Third Season, does the suns golden rays seem to shine more vibrant with each of the complimentary colors, as if it was gaining confidence with every compliment it received. In The Third Season the longer days don't turn into night, the evening seems to fade into the gentle darkness, the green leaves fade to red, red leaves fade to orange, the orange leaves fade to brown, and the brown leaves fade away, the last chance to see the trees before being stripped then covered. As we pack away the tank tops and the shorts, and change into sweaters and thicker paints, we settle down in are cozy homes like animals who store their food and disappear until it feels the warmness again. © bonniemarie |

We realize, this can only unfold in The Third Season. DARON BAKER is a writer and a poet who lives near Cleveland, Ohio. He has written numerous short stories and well over 250 poems in the last 15 years. He enjoys reading, writing, and quiet nights at home with his family. For reader feedback contact him at

autumn moon resting on a bare branch an orange kite Sidney Bending

Opposite: © Elenathewise |

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Among Autumn Leaves By Dawn Schrieber A relief from the heat of summer smell of compost, moist soil, fresh air leaves tumble past barren branches landing on piles hugging their old trunks red maple, yellow alder, and rich brown elm. High above the leaves that hang on, determined, Departs a skein, honking their farewell A challenge startles the forest high-pitched bugle the sound of Canadian fall, and a clack rings out amongst the shedding poplars wapiti antlers catching, holding, six points evenly matched. Snorts fog in the morning air ready to defend harem and bloodline. Eager for new life in the spring Coming chill is forgotten amongst readying bustle nuts stuffed tight in chipmunk’s cheeks. Colours that enchant us so, leaves pressed between book pages and wax paper sheets. Who could fear the darker months, when nature takes such pains to ease us in among autumn leaves?

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“A challenge startles the forest … wapiti antlers catching, holding, six points evenly matched.”

DAWN SCHRIEBER is an aspiring novelist and poet who has been greatly influenced by her experiences camping in the Alberta wilds. She finds poetry both challenging and rewarding as, unlike prose, a single moment in time must be expressed with all the feeling of experience and emotion in just a few tight lines. She enjoys nothing more so than watching nature unfold, unaffected by human hands, and hopes to recreate the moments she has been privy to in her writing. Contact her at Below: © steve estvanik | Opposite: © Chorazin |

Autumn Memories By Adrienne Furniss My grandfather and I used to walk, in Autumn leaves. He smiled broadly at me as I danced in the colors around, but I felt a little sad crushing something so beautiful under my boot. My grandfather died in Autumn, the amber leaves had fallen, and his ashes grew into a tree. Even now it still grows, its beautiful limbs strong, stalwart, and smiling, just like my grandfather. I visit it sometimes grandmother put a bird-feeder there and I smile when I see the beauty around him. I think I see now what he saw then, our feelings in nature: the brown of the deer’s' fur and our eyes, the gold of the hawks' wings, the leaves the color of my love— red. The universe's physical manifestation of the unspoken truth. ADRIENNE FURNISS is a second year student at the University of California at Berkeley as a psychology student. Major passions include: writing, creating art, acting, singing, and generally interacting with the world in a creative fashion. This is Adrienne's first formally published writing piece—hopefully, the first of many.

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© Elenathewise |

A Leaf By Cristina Rizzuto A day is a crisp, orange leaf, curled like a potato chip, fluttering slowly to the ground, grains of sand in an hourglass. It is a brilliant fall afternoon. The air is chilled, the water’s reflection twinkling , another fallen leaf. Another day gone. The street, littered with leaves, overflows. Cars roll over them, unnoticed. Kids trample upon their flaky skin. Elderly people rake, and toss them away. They are swept aside. No one will remember them. No one will recall the brilliant garnet of one, the soft yellow hue of another. Waves of flickering current in the ocean of the sky, tiny mirrors of orange luminescence. Their dead lay beneath them, blowing to and fro, carried by the water. How will I save myself from extinction? Halcyon - Fall 2013 | 10

“The air is chilled, The water’s reflection twinkling, Another fallen leaf.”

CRISTINA RIZZUTO’S first book of poetry, The Music Makers, was published last year with Blaurock Press, an independent Canadian publisher. She earned an Honours B.A from the University of Toronto, and a Certificate in Creative Publishing from Humber College. Cristina’s writing has appeared in Dragnet Magazine, Ottawa Arts Review, Savvy Reader, Best Ultra Short Poems, an anthology published by the Ontario Poetry Society, and on CBC Canada Writes. She recently won the 2012 City of Vaughan RAVE Award in Literary Arts and the 2012 Mattia International Poetry Prize. Cristina resides in Vaughan, ON. Contact Cristina at

AUTUMN HAPPENS By Patricia A. McGoldrick A single leaf Golden yellow Freckled amber Landed on my car window today Stuck to the glass with Autumn moisture-It landed there so softly As though it had nothing better to do. © 2009 Published in Voices Israel Anthology 2009. Republished in Frost & Foliage.

© MNStudio |

wild buttercups wave in the old fallow field― wading, up to my knees Craig Steele

© Kushnirov Avraham |

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What Makes a Day Worthwhile

© Bruce Rolff |

By Elizabeth Dobbin A feeling nestled within me, a prodding request to fulfill my purpose. Some journeys I have to traverse alone, when I can’t rely on anyone but my Maker to endure the madness of existence. So I set off, viola strapped to my back, to climb the mountain before me.


ow many people fasten twelve thousand dollars to their backs to go hiking? A friend of mine gaped in shock when I told her. Not very practical, I’ll admit, but I knew— from the moment I slumped in that tepid, cramped practice room—if I didn’t go I would regret it. Yesterday I stomped around and swore and threw things and tried not to hyperventilate when I learned of another performance next week. Today I wanted to be alone. I was so tired, tired of my busy schedule, tired of the monotony, tired of being tired. So slowly, painstakingly, I decided to attempt something I wasn’t sure I had the energy to accomplish: to carry my viola, Hotaru, to the top of the mountain. Okay, so it wasn’t really a mountain. The landmass I climbed was clearly a hill—specifically French Hill in Irvine, California, barely 121 meters above sea level—but to me a

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mountain that I had to overcome. Those who know me are probably shaking their heads now. I’m always complaining about having to lug my instrument case around—it’s almost as wide as me and stands up to my hips—but something within me had to test my limits, to make this day worthwhile. I had a false start, doubled back to grab my battery-starved camera, but I set out again, determined, hopeful, and a little uncertain of what I might find. I’d heard there were rattlesnakes on the hill…and hoped I wouldn’t provoke any. My tiny satchel swung from the top of my viola case, tapping the side conspicuously as people strode past. I was probably a sight to behold: a petite girl in a black sweatshirt, holey leggings, and size 3.5 Vans sneakers with a gigantic instrument case on my back. Oh well. (Continued on page 13)

The hill loomed above as I neared it, and I wondered if I’d manage to climb it with the weight of my instrument case strapped to my back. I’d climbed over it before with a friend— struggled and skidded and smiled through the trails, ventured into the tall grass as if to dare a rattlesnake to try and sink his fangs into us. My friend had never been kissed; I had never been broken. Not yet. I remember disagreeing so strongly with her logic on relationships—though I don’t recall if I voiced the entirety of my opinion—but now I wonder if she didn’t have it right all along. A huge cement drain gaped in front of me with two pieces of metal sheeting making a bridge over it. I refused to take the metal bridge out of some warped sense of duty and leaped over the drain trench instead. Hotaru’s case whacked me on the back of the head for being so hasty. That is when a boy by the hill glanced back at me. (I hope he didn’t see me get conked in the head with my own instrument case.) Surprise rent his facial features. “Are you going to climb it with that?” he asked. I explained that this was my first time climbing with my viola, that I just wanted to try. He seemed nervous about the steep incline. “If I get up there, would you mind if I took a picture of you and your viola?” “Sure.” I nodded, thinking it would actually be nice since my camera probably didn’t have enough juice to take a picture. I wanted evidence of my quasi-quest. “I’ll try. No promises, though.” “Okay, I’ll see you in a few minutes.” I started up the hill without so much as a glance back, and that was the last I saw of him that day. I wondered if he was watching me climb the hill, and I hoped my shirt was draped down far enough to cover hole in my leggings—the one in a rather prominent place on my backside. I’ll be honest—they’re really comfortable leggings, and I hadn’t thought about seeing anyone during my trek. I felt the strain in my calves as they struggled to push me up the steep incline—slowly, steadily toward the peak even as my thighs started to tremble—and I wondered what I would do if they strained too far. With an odd calm I stumbled forward, my fingers pressing into hard packed dirt and grass and rock, but I kept going, muttering “Daijoubu, daijoubu,” It’s okay, I’m okay. The sun blinded and blazed from the west, not quite able to overcome the wind chill. As I walked over to a patch of peach-fuzz grass, the rocks crunched beneath my feet like frost -licked leaves. I laid down my viola case and removed its multi -thousand-dollar cargo. Raising the viola to my chin, I readied my bow, and a gust strummed the horsehair like a harp. Already, the flurry of nitrogen atoms started to strip the warmth from my fingertips, cooling my blood as I brought bow and strings together. Gusts continued to toy with my bow, even as I reveled in long, sustained passages of notes. I gazed out at homes and farmland, tans and blues in the distance—at once the same and different from home. Winter is hot here, nothing like the rain at home that slicks the roads in midDecember, slowing traffic more than a police car. But something about it is just the same, the kindness of many

suffocated by an avalanche of brusque reply. Here, the seasons barely seem to change. I played the pieces I would perform soon and embraced the cold inching beneath my skin, deadening my fingers down to marrow. Clumsy fingerings, weak notes, and partially-tuned chords careened over the edge of the peak, but still the music felt one part exquisite, one part so numbing it almost induced pain. With strength not my own, I finished my most arduous piece, turning to put my instrument away. I wish I could have played longer, but it hurt forcing my body to move faster than my blood pumped. I wonder how it would have been at night, playing for the stars…but it would have been even colder, the wind harsher. If only the wind didn’t bluster so coarsely atop the peak, I could spend an hour peeling notes off the pages of music in bows, phrases, sonata movements; I can imagine the warmth of the blazing sun beating upon the peach-fuzz grass, but kindly, like an embrace of a friend without the chill of reality, without the ice of acceptable lies, without the wind gusting by. Perhaps another life, when this winter ends. Thanking my Maker for helping me achieve my goal, I asked that He help me make it down, and He did. I didn’t slip once. I made my way down slowly, knees bent, testing each step in the steepest nooks. At the foot of the hill I stopped, pivoting to observe where I had been minutes ago. “Domoarigatogozaimasu, kami-sama,” I breathed. Thank you so much, God! My unlikely companion was gone, but had I really expected him to follow me up the mountain? There are some journeys that I have to make myself, times when I can’t rely on anyone but my Maker to endure the madness of existence. I knew my journey was quite small; it had no effect on the value of the day. But something invigorated me, maybe the cold that seeped through my pores like it does at home when the last of the leaves have fallen gracefully onto the paths, or possibly the realization of surmounting a tangible obstacle, even as my trembling thighs dragged me back to my dorm room. This experience would not, could not have held this exact significance for anyone else. It was a feeling nestled within me, a subconscious order, a prodding request to fulfill my purpose. Even in so trivial a task as climbing that hill today, I knew my satisfaction was rooted in accomplishing what I was meant to do. I realized that the worth of a day cannot be measured in how many things you accomplish, but how you experience the tasks you are given. 

ELIZABETH DOBBIN writes both fiction and poetry in addition to nonfiction and works as a writing consultant at the Concordia University Writing Center. Her short nonfiction piece titled “Ballerina” will be published in the Fall 2013 issue of The Writing Disorder. She is currently pursuing a degree in Music Performance at Concordia University in Irvine, California.

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The Light By Mark Goodman It's respectable to wonder At the possibility Of going the entire day Without talking To anyone. If not, Every word Better matter, Because, today, The equinoctial light Shines beatifically.

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Š Hans | Image credit:

Fall Feeding Looting harvest fruit, birds rummage through fallen leaves ransacking autumn Lynn Tait

© Kisalu |

breeze-rippled sky… calico shubunkins float among dappled clouds Craig Steele

© Jpldesigns |

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Longer Nights By Irene Ferraro-Sives © haveseen |

The days grow shorter and colder. As though by magic, the earth changes, and autumn pronounces its mystery. Yet, to some, the frost on the pumpkin is a motivation for warmth and comfort, even in dire times.


t was a quiet dawn on the charcoal-etched bay. Gray clouds marched overhead. Their misty flag rolled with them across the pale sky. Behind the wind-blown embankment, the sun had stopped trying to push its warming rays through the pitch and toss of an overcast autumn day. It had stopped fighting, and now glowed dully behind the storm head. Orange pumpkins dotted the absent summer’s browning vegetation, but they did not grow there. They had been placed there, carved and adorned with hats and candles. Halloween was arriving with the full steam of human breath on a cold day. The red and gold maple leaves rustled, flames encouraged by the breeze. The woman took herself out into the morning. There were only so many hours in each day. She had her job. Then there was the trip home. Before that, she would pick up the child. Perhaps she would stop with him to pick up a few things before they finally settled in to wait for his mother. She did not mind watching him in the afternoons until his mother came home. He was a sweet little boy. The air was chill. It crawled up her jacket sleeves and hemline. She could feel the cold hand of October gripping her skin under her clothes. She hurried,

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for the days had grown shorter. That evening, the kitchen was warm. “I made this for you.”The boy held up a picture of a woman in the traditional, pointy, black hat. The drawing was done in the broad crayon strokes of a six year old child. “Did you draw that? That is so special,” said Annette. “It’s a witch. There’s witches on Halloween,” said the boy. “What are you wearing for Halloween? “ she asked him. “I can’t make up my mind what costume I’m going to wear,” he paused for effect, “I think maybe I’m going to be a ghost,” he finished and took a deep breath. “May I hang that on the wall so Mommy will see it when she comes in?” she said. “When’s Mommy coming?” he asked. Annette looked out the window past the twisted garlands of harvest grapes. Her eyes rested on the distant bay. The horizon lay across the bay, catching the setting sun in its waiting arms. (Continued on page 17)

“Mommy will be here soon, Toby,” she said. “When Mommy comes, I’m going to tell her about the witch I saw at school today. It was in a book the teacher was reading. Annette, did you ever see a witch on Halloween?” said Toby. “Lots of times,” said Annette. She switched on a table lamp in a dusky corner. “Can I have an apple?” asked Toby. “Yes, sweetie, do you want me to cut it for you?” said Annette. “Yes, please, in pieces,” said Toby, “Look, I can juggle a little.” With studied nonchalance, he tossed the apple from one hand to the other. “You’re very entertaining,” she said. She took the apple from his hand and applied the knife to its heart. Toby chewed a juicy section. The last flush of sun had disappeared into the darkness. Above the bay, the stars twinkled through the breaks in the clouds. The bright, golden moon beamed sending shivers of light, when it could, through the waters. Time went by, and the boy was still with her. “Aunt Annette, where’s Mommy,” asked Toby. The apple remains were browning in the plate. Annette peered through the window to find her friend. The trees were going bare, but were still covered with enough scarlet and amber glory to obscure the light of the street lamps. Annette went and stood in the open doorway. She listened for the clipclop of familiar boots. But there was only the horns on the water, the soft shushing of autumn leaves. Lila was late. She had been before. Annette could feel the child yawn behind her. She went back in the house thinking she would bring him calmly to his bedtime. “There’s something wrong with Mommy,” said Toby. “No, Toby, Mommy’s just late. She’ll be here, soon,” said Annette. Annette punched in the numbers for Lila’s cell phone. She heard only ringing, no human voice. There was no answer. She ended the call. The phone sang the popular tune she had chosen as a ringtone. She noted the late hour on the clock and the slice of black velvet night pressed against the window. Toby frowned tiredly on the couch. “Lila, is that you?” There was silence and absence on the other end of the connection. Annette realized the call had dropped. “Dang cell phone,” she said. The call had been from a private number. Lila had a private number, but so did many of her other friends. She really did not know who had called. She decided not to try calling Lila again. If she needed to, she would call Annette. “Maybe she wants to be left alone tonight,” she thought. Being a single mother did not leave Lila much time to go out and mingle. Maybe she had found someone with whom she could spend the evening. Annette hoped he was hot. “Okay , sleepy, let’s watch some television.” She clicked

on the remote, then settled down with Toby on the sofa. She put her arm around him and he snuggled against her. Soon, he was asleep, and so was Annette. She awoke to find the hazy, blue, dawning light poking through the window glass. An early morning news show was broadcasting the sour tales of the world up to that moment. Toby was still asleep, curled up on the pillows beside her. Annette stood up quietly and went outside. She stood by her front door. The cool air made her shiver. It was still cloudy, but it had not yet rained. The sun was still trying to make a difference. Fiery streaks inked the sky red over the bay, but it neither warmed nor brightened. The gray puffs of cold mist were the breath of autumn, itself. Annette searched for signs of Lila. By her neighbor’s, a squirrel was feasting on a pumpkin. The little animal was sinking its teeth vigorously into the harvest season decoration, disfiguring the spooky, cut-out face. The poor jack o’ lantern was only half there. The squirrel had pulled its insides out. The orange pulp spilled out onto the paving. A cornucopia of pumpkin seeds littered the driveway. The autumn fruit was the rodent’s Halloween treat. A deer picked its way through Annette’s dwindled, brown garden. It turned as though she had spoken to it. It set its brown eyes sadly upon her, questioning the departure of moist grass and supple summer leaves. Then, it put its nose to the ground and searched in earnest for its breakfast. Lila was not there. “Toby, wake up. “We’re going back to your house,” said Annette. Annette bought a coffee and buttered roll for herself, and a hot chocolate and egg sandwich for Toby. They ate in her car. They drove to Lila’s house through rain-splattered streets. Annette pulled into Lila’s driveway. Lila’s car was not there. The house was unlit, and looked empty. She knew enough not to bother to ring the doorbell. The rain was falling heavily now, pushed aside intermittently by Annette’s windshield wipers. Toby was quiet in his seat. Hot chocolate stains smudged the corners of his mouth. She did not tell him to use his napkin. She did not tell him about good manners. She let him be six years old while she decided what to do next. Toby smiled up at her. “Thank you,” he said. His innocence warmed her like a burning hearth. She hugged him and he kissed her, leaving a chocolate imprint on the side of her face. She felt restored. She knew in her heart that whatever happened, everything would be alright, for she would be there for him. “You know you and I are forever pals,” she told him. Toby nodded into his hot chocolate. “I know,” he said. 

IRENE FERRARO-SIVES was born in Brooklyn, NY. She currently lives in New Jersey with her husband. Irene has been writing since she was nine. Contact Irene at

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The Climb

© Margaret M Stewart |

By Lauren Winquist The smokey smell of sleeping forest trees, With careless hands, surrounds me as I rake Their dying leaves into auburn piles, Like burning mountains, miles and miles Higher and higher Until the most ambitious paper crepe Curling in the flames, in desperation Climbing, comes floating down, breathing heavy Fog into the still air, a warm body And the rise and fall of orange and red Sisyphean climbers of Autumn’s peaks Carved by fingernails Into the cliff-side grain Reach the earth’s top spinning in fury At once both moving and Remaining still When Suddenly in vogue Winter white caps frost and freeze The pile of leaves, the grains of sand In the hourglass of seasons’ time And so I wait forever on sweet Spring With soft green angel wings Halcyon - Fall 2013 | 18

“Winter white caps frost and freeze the piles of leaves, the grains of sand in the hourglass of season’s time.”

LAUREN WINQUIST is an undergraduate student at Western University. She is studying for an Honors Specialization in Medical Sciences and play on the Western Women’s Soccer Team, however her first love has always been writing. Lauren enjoys writing short fiction, creative nonfiction and poetry as a past-time, and her recent experiences in university writing classes have encouraged her to expand her writing boundaries. Contact Laura at

Time of the Mysteries

© Haneck |

By Jessica Van de Kemp I. Name of black pebbles. Demeter like a butterfly burrows into lemon rinds and soil. Red the leaves. Archipelagos of pomegranates like pigeons rolling in the rain. Tang of plum. The marrow of autumn like a dream unending diadem of roses. II. Blood like bergamot Persephone like white birch pens a minnesang. Red the mountain ash. Star clusters like streetlamps sprout volcanic kisses. Prussian blue. The vault of time and space like manna full corn moon.

“The marrow of autumn Like a dream unending diadem of roses.”

JESSICA VAN DE KEMP is a member of the Ontario College of Teachers and is currently pursuing an MA in Rhetoric and Communication Design from the University of Waterloo. Her work has appeared in Buttontapper Press, The Danforth Review, Vallum, Branch Magazine, The Steel Chisel, ditch, and The Fieldstone Review.

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A Glimpse Into the Hourglass By Sara Etgen-Baker Angela (the protagonist) learns how a simple hourglass reminds her of her grandmother’s infinite love.


he autumn winds hurried through the maple trees; their leaves began falling—some fast and some slow—swirling and twirling around Angela’s body until at last the leaves touched the ground. It was the perfect leaf-kicking day, for the autumn sun burned brightly—like a flaming torch—igniting the colors in all of the leaves. So, Angela scurried through her grandfather’s yard— unable to resist crunching all the leaves with their apricot oranges, burgundy reds, tangerine yellows, and chocolate browns. Then she dove into a soft bed of the dry, colorful maple leaves and lingered there absorbing the warmth of the midday sunshine and inhaling the intoxicating smell of the moist earth and the dried leaves. “Angela, stop your dawdlin’!” Angela looked up. Her grandfather was standing over her with a rake in his hand. “It’s almost lunchtime. Those leaves won’t rake themselves, you know.” He handed Angela the rake. “I need you to get those leaves raked so I can put them in the incinerator and burn them.” He turned away and strode toward the back porch. “I’m guessin’ you’re gettin’ a wee bit hungry by now.” “Yes, Granddad, I am.” Angela continued raking the leaves. “Well then. Come inside. I suppose you’ll be needin’ some lunch before you finish rakin’ them leaves.” Angela threw down the rake and ran toward the back door, kicking more leaves along the way. “Here’s your peanut butter and jelly sandwich—no jelly, right?” He placed a plate and glass of milk on the kitchen counter. “Right, Granddad.” Angela giggled. “Thanks. It looks yummy.” “Sorry that’s all I have. I just wasn’t expectin’ you till tomorrow.” He stood up and grabbed a root beer from his refrigerator. “You sleep okay last night, darlin’?” Although his silent house had kept her awake, Angela replied, “Yes sir. I did,” followed by, “How ‘bout you?” “I’m old—I never sleep well,” he grumbled. The house became still as they struggled with what to say to one another. So they ate lunch in silence—a silence so thick Angela could feel it drape around her like an old shawl. After lunch, she pulled it against her shoulders and plopped down into her grandmother’s chair suddenly aware of something else in the house—something different—a faint rustling, a soft presence of some sort. She didn’t know what it was. Perhaps it was the scent of her grandmother’s lavender perfume that lingered in the rich tapestry fabric, stirring memories of when she sat in her grandmother’s lap reading a book or sharing apple cider. She closed her eyes and Halcyon - Fall 2013 | 20

remembered when the house was full of noise and her grandmother’s laughter. Now, though, the house was empty, lifeless, and silent. He glanced up from reading his newspaper. “Your grandmother loved sitting in that chair and watching her grandchildren.” “I loved sitting in her lap when she sat in this chair.” Angela watched his face. “It still smells like her.” “Yes, it does.” He adjusted his glasses. “Her memory kept me awake last night.” “The silence last night frightened me and kept me awake.” Angela choked back the tears. He slowly raised one eyebrow and fumbled for words. “Why…uh…uh…are you afraid of the silence?” “Because the silence just makes me miss her more.” Angela wiped at her nose. “I miss her too.” He peered over his glasses. “In the silence I hear her voice and feel her spirit rustling through the house. In that silence, I don’t miss her as much.” His chin trembled and his voice cracked. “I’m terribly afraid I’ll lose her forever if I don’t keep the house silent.” He sighed and took a deep breath. After another moment’s silence he left the room and returned with an hourglass in his hand. “You know what the infinity symbol looks like, right?” “Yes, Granddad, I do—like an eight laying on its side.” “Yes. But if you stand it up, the infinity symbol reminds me of an hourglass—like this one that belonged to your grandmother.” He pulled his chair close to Angela, leaned forward, and said, “Glimpse into the hourglass at the grains of sand.” He turned over the hourglass and tapped it. Angela stared at the hourglass—mesmerized by the tiny grains of sand as they trickled through the neck of the hourglass. “I’d like to think that each grain of sand represents a tiny piece of time—a memory we have of her. And although the time we had with her was precious and fleeting, each memory brings us pleasure, warms our hearts, and keeps her spirit alive.” He clutched the hourglass then turned it sideways so it resembled the infinity symbol. “I’d also like to think that each grain of sand represents her infinite love for us.” A smile emerged on his face as he looked in Angela’s eyes. “I want you to have her hourglass. Always remember your grandmother’s love for you is imperishable and continues forever—it’s infinite like the infinity symbol.” Angela took the hourglass and sniffed back the tears; then they embraced and waited—waited until the comforting lilt of her grandmother’s spirit surrounded them filling the silence. 

Opposite: © glaz |

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Above: © Matt Gibson | Opposite: © David Houston

Hidden in the School Library By Debbie Okun Hill Little Red “Hiding” Hood sneaks into quiet corner behind stacked shelves selects, opens a book like unfolding clean white hanky from her granny’s picnic basket printed pages fluttering like autumn leaves the words airborne Times New Roman swirling around library carrels a hush against her normal rush. This is her silent world: a place where characters play out their roles in mime where school settings spread into crimson and gold forests a place to think, to imagine to fall asleep like Sleeping Beauty escape from hungry wolves and lumbering science homework.

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“Printed pages fluttering like autumn leaves the words airborne.”

DEBBIE OKUN HILL is one of five Canadian poets featured in ENCOMPASS 1, a new TOPS anthology series published by Beret Days Press. This Fall 2013, Black Moss Press will published her first trade book. She is also currently working on a new poetry manuscript thanks to a grant from the Ontario Arts Council (OAC) Writers’ Reserve program.

Coming Home By Anne Mason Copious canopy conceals a change. Hidden from view, the first to leave falls free. Crisp, clean air nips the break of day as cool altered nights temper sultry, summer heat. One lone leaf, yellowed before its time, begins the descent. Broad, blue expanse startles breath from its cage as shaded eyes draw the soul into brilliant depths. Weaving a final farewell, lovely leaf pirouettes and twirls a dance of beauty on the warm wings of a breeze. More vibrant by far than summer or spring, bright hues grasp precious light before winter bites, snatching the spark away. Languid leaf drifts earthward. Knowing the gift that awaits, soft gold lays down its life with a sigh, and rests. Autumn comes.

ANNE MASON’S creative spark evolved while writing a novel about a Butterfly and a Grizzly Bear. Her repertoire includes several poems and short stories, in which poetic images seem to give shape to her ideas. She has had poetry published in Halcyon, has a nonfiction short story accepted for a local anthology for Sarnia’s one hundredth anniversary and received third prize for a short story in a local contest. Anne currently resides in Sarnia, Ontario where she regularly attends ‘Writers in Transition’, a writing group that encourages and inspires. Contact Anne at Halcyon - Fall 2013

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Autumn’s Crest By Theresa Milstein After all this time Her gaze softens upon the Wave-beaten Coast, crinkling like weathered wood— Coarse strands softened to seagull feathers These waves ever lap Smooth sands of secluded beach Undulating Constant, soothing promises Beating for all this eternity… Their seasons blending Spring’s froth brought promise onto Summer-soaked Shores, when Autumn’s farewell crests— She braces for winter’s barren broth Cool winds caress skin Lips moisten from briny breath Fluttering Fervent, oh her heart Beats blissfully after all this time… Beats blissfully through the sands of time…

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Above: Š Ludmila Smite | Opposite: Š Bogdan Wankowicz

By Tyro Vogel An empty train, trees racing past her window. The world outside is colored in hues of red and orange. Autumn. She smiles, Mozart in her headphones. Her name was Anna-the-Best-Girl-in-School, Anna-the-Perspective-Career, Anna-Work-Until-You-Drop. Now she's Butterfly. Escape. Just because we can.

TYRO VOGEL writes & reviews erotica, science fiction, role playing games, interactive stories, and everything in-between. You can follow him on Google+ or check out more of his work on his website at Halcyon - Fall 2013

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Apples By Wally Swist When I serve one of the apples I bought On a white plate, sliced in quarters, then Sliced again in thirds, along with a slice Of cheese, it is an elegant meal unto itself, Not necessarily breakfast, but a spare lunch, With that always attractive combination Of aesthetics and utility. The apples I chose For this week were Cortlands, MacCouns, And Honey Crisps, each its own cadenza In the symphony of streaming October Sunlight, as strong as the light in Emmaus When Christ reappeared to the disbelief Of his apostles. Each apple, one for each Day, as resilient as if it were its own last Meal, as if we could ever plan a more perfect, More impeccable last meal. The apples I chose offered their own salient characteristics, Such as the robustness of the Cortland, and The crunch of the MacCoun, and the sweetness Of the Honey Crisp. Each bite its own taste And texture. Each its own compliment To the steady inflorescence of the October Sunlight, with the sense of ending and Beginning, with the aspect of the light of Christ Already in our heart, with that heady fullness Of our brimming over with the abundance Of the fruit of the harvest, and in what is The redolence of the fragrance of apples.

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To Reap and To Sow By Nina Pelletier With so many distractions in this busy world, Bethany discovers that sowing the simplest seeds can reap the most fruitful rewards.


he harvest moon emblazed the night sky above, casting a silver light on the cornucopia of leaves crunching beneath their feet. Bethany inhaled deeply the rich earthy scent. “It smells like Halloween,” she reminisced. Nathaniel’s sweet laughter pierced the misty air. “Mom, how can it smell like Halloween? That makes no sense at all,” he said, shaking his head. The moon reflected, in all its pregnant glory, on the glassy surface of the lake. The beach beckoned to Bethany for barefoot traipsing, but with the exuberant pleasure in which Nathanial shuffled his little sneakers through the red sea of leaves, she resisted the call of the silky cold sand. They walked hand in hand along the boardwalk. “When I was a little girl,” she explained. “I would go trick-or-treating, and the air always smelled just like this,” “Wow! That must have been a long, long time ago”, he grinned, showing off his growing abilities at good-natured bantering. Her boy was growing up. “Ohh, trust me,” she assured him. “Smells can remind us of all sorts of things. Think of Thanksgiving, Nathaniel. What does Thanksgiving smell like to you?” She could tell he was deep in thought. Out of the corner of her eye she could see him biting his lower lip with the one front tooth he had left. Bethany hoped she would not miss being the tooth fairy for that final straggler that wobbled as he contemplated. “Turkey!” He smiled up at her. “Oh! And pumpkin pie, and sweet potatoes!” He kicked a pile of leaves. The streetlamps and moonlight reflected off the moist foliage as the autumnal cloud fluttered around us. “I love pumpkin pie the best!” “When I was young,” Bethany gave him her best ‘don’t even think about another reference to my age’ look. “The air almost always smelled this way at Halloween.” Together, they closed their eyes and took in a deep breath, savouring the air, tasting its sweet decay on their tongues. “My mom used to make caramel apples for all of kids in our neighbourhood.” The nostalgia tugged at her heart. “But Mom,” he gasped. He stopped dead in his tracks, his eyes wide. “You tell us never ever to eat homemade candy at Halloween.” Bethany nodded, “It was a different time, Nathaniel. A simpler time.” Images of her mom in her apron stirring the big cauldron of caramel danced through Bethany’s mind. She always let her lick the spoon. She relished the memories of those moments with her. Pumpkin seeds spread out on trays and covered in salt for toasting. Dad and Jason hanging fake cobwebs and ghoulish masks around the front porch. The sweet burning of pumpkin at the end of the night, mixed with the moist air which promised snow to come. With a heavy soul, she missed the simplest things the most. “Mom?” Nathaniel’s tiny voice pulled Bethany from her reverie. It wasn’t until then that she noticed the tears running down her face.

“Let’s sit” she said, motioning to one of the benches that peppered the boardwalk. She wiped away at her tears, trying hard to disguise them. Nathaniel stood before her and placed his tiny hands on each side of her paling face. Slowly, he removed the brown scarf that adorned her head. “When I get older and I smell leaves and cold nose-tingling air, I’ll remember walking with you.” He planted a soft kiss on the bald scalp that once housed golden fertile locks, now a symbol of her own waning autumn quickly approaching the barren winter landscape. Her heart overflowed, her soul overwhelmed, she smiled down at her son, reaping the bountiful rewards of a seed sown long ago. 

NINA PELLETIER is a full time living in Ontario Canada. She is the creator of the Prompt-and-Share, which brings writers together in an enthusiastic and encouraging forum. Her short stories have been published in a variety of formats. When she's not writing, prompting, editing, reading or blogging, Nina can be found playing with her canine companion, Princess Trixie. Contact Nina at

Left: © tpsdave | Top right: © Olga Lyubkin |

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A Fresh Start

© Shelley Rottenberg, winner of the Halcyon Fall 2013 photography contest. Shelley is a seventeen year old who has a passion for photography. She can be contacted at

By Nikki Rosen


utumn is a delicious time of the year. It has a pull, a flavor all it’s own. Summer’s laid back ease has come to an end, and with it, is a strong desire to launch forward into something creative, empowering and challenging. This season for me is one of change and new beginnings, of letting go of the old and taking hold of the new. It’s during this time that the Jewish community celebrates Rosh Hashanah, the start of a new year; a time to reflect on the past and set new aspirations or renew goals we want to achieve in the coming months. I always feel an excitement thinking about renewed involvement in fun and stimulating programs that have restarted. Even my children who moan and groan about going back to school and having to go to bed and wake up early, have excitement in their voices as they chatter about seeing old friends. Summer’s warmth and relaxation has given way to Fall’s contemplative season, in which I feel a freedom to reflect on life’s purpose and to consider aspirations I long to achieve. Wandering the wooded trails near our home and seeing the transformations taking place in nature is a clear reminder to me—I, too, am undergoing a season of transformation. Days are noticeably shorter. By 8:30, night has already covered daylight. And there’s a chill in the air. We pull on sweatshirts and jackets when we leave the house to head out for

“Flowers...disappear knowing they need to take cover from the impending cooler weather.”

evening walks. The brilliant green foliage on trees has slowly changed to breathtaking colours. And flowers, once glorious in an array of colour, have lost their sheen and have begun to whither and disappear knowing they need to take cover from the impending cooler weather. A new year. A fresh start. A chance at getting it right. An opportunity to follow my heart. There’s a passion brewing in me. A yearning to reach high and begin again. To reach for my best. This is it, a chance to realize my dreams. All this packaged in one glorious season. Happy New Year! 

NIKKI ROSEN is author of In the Eye of Deception, A True Story, Winner of TWG Award and Dancing Softly, shortlisted for TWG award. She has been published in various anthologies and magazines. Her websites: and

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Seasonal Affects

© orangecrush |

By Nancy Cook The October sky was thick with gray, a warning of winter coming her direction. The air in such a hurry, there was no way to walk but with head down, so that all she could see were the limp and stunted remnants of the lawn and the used hard toes of her faithful boots. For miles she walked, neck nestled between shoulder blades, sensing more than seeing plants all around, graying, drying, dying, leaves folding inward at the edges, adroop like waxy candle drippings. By four o’clock, the wind was saying it was time to go indoors. And so she turned her back to the rush of weather and moved toward shelter. Ahead the grounds were heavy now with fallen leaves, dewy still with life; northern gusts turned them into tumbling whitecaps, storm-tossed breakers clutching for a harbor. She anchored self to the ground for just a moment, and looked up to see the sun had shed the clouds, had tossed its slender shafts through the wind to the dimming grass below, illuminating

“Printed pages fluttering like autumn leaves the words airborne.”

the last dandelion. It was no bigger than a nickel but fully formed. She leaned down to pluck it, meaning to preserve it in a scrapbook or a journal, meaning to savor its light yellowness in ascetic days to come. Somewhere, she imagined, in the west, a surfer now was noticing the late-day slant of sun on a north Pacific curl, somewhere a youthleague softball coach was dusting off home plate and storing it with bats and leathery mitts, somewhere a park custodian was rolling down the blinds, then drawing shut a cabin door on one last glint of a summer memory.

NANCY COOK, a resident of St Paul, about 750 kilometers south of Canada, is a parent, lawyer, teacher, and writer. Her work has been published in many literary and social policy journals and anthologies. She also runs the “Witness Project,” a series of community workshops that enable the narrative development and dissemination of stories of, by, and for populations underserved by the justice system.

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Halcyon - Fall 2013 | 30

CRAIG W. STEELE (p5) resides in the countryside of northwestern Pennsylvania, not far from Lake Erie. His haiku have appeared recently in a handful of stones, the Aurorean, Modern Haiku, South by Southeast, Boston Literary Magazine and elsewhere, and are forthcoming at Shamrock Haiku Journal, Boston Literary Magazine and Eskimo Pie.

MARK GOODMAN (p14) especially likes the task at hand, which right now is parenting two wee boys and living in the high desert in central Oregon. Mixed in there is the joyous compulsion to carpenter some phrases and float mountain lakes on watercraft.

PATRICIA ANNE MCGOLDRICK (p24) is a Kitchener, Ontario Canada writer whose poetry and reviews have been published in the Christian Science Monitor, The WM Review Connection, and Poems have been published in anthologies: Animal Companions, Animal Doctors, Animal People; Beyond the Dark Room, an international collection of transformative poetry, with proceeds from book sales being given to Doctors Without Borders/MSF; Poetic Bloomings—the first year. P atri cia i s a me mb er o f T he O nta rio Po etry So c iety a nd th e Lea g ue o f Ca na dia n Po e ts . W E B: Patricia-Anne-McGoldrick | BLOG: PM_Poet Writer; PM27's blog | TWITTER: @pamcgoldrick

SIDNEY BENDING (p4) is a retired graphic artist living off the west coast of Canada. Her award winning poetry and flash fiction have been published in Canada, the United States and Sweden. She is a member of the Haiku Society of America.

SARA ETGEN-BAKER (p20) retired three years ago and began fulfilling her life-long dream of writing memoirs,

short stories, and personal narratives. Her manuscripts have won several contests and have been published in anthologies including Wisdom Has A Voice, The Santa Claus Project, The Heroic Path to Self-Forgiveness, Lessons From My Parents, and Times They Were A Changing: Women Remember the 60s & 70s. Others have been published in Story Circle Network’s True Words Anthology, Looking Back Magazine, Guideposts Magazine, Halcyon Magazine, Page & Spine Magazine, The Storyteller Magazine and at Her manuscript “Intangible Ingredients,” received Honorable Mention in the 2013 Euple Riney Memorial Award. She’s read some of her stories before a live audience at the Starving Artist Café in Little Rock, Arkansas. You may visit Sara at her blog:

THERESA MILSTEIN (p24) has several short pieces published in anthologies and journals. While her published

works are for adults, she primarily writes for children and is active in the New England chapter of SCBWI (Society for Book Writers and Illustrators). She lives in Arlington, Massachusetts with her husband, two children, a dog-like cat, and a cat-like dog. Contact Theresa at or visit her website at

WALLY SWIST'S (p26) new book is Huang Po and the Dimensions of Love, the co-winner of the 2011 Crab

Orchard Series Open Poetry Competition, published by Southern Illinois University Press. His forthcoming book is Velocity, forthcoming from Virtual Artists Collective, of Chicago, IL. The title poem from the book was selected as the 2nd Prize winning poem in the 2012 William Butler Yeats Society of New York City Poetry Competition. He has made his home in the Amherst, Massachusetts area for more than the last thirty years.

Left: © PublicDomainPictures | Back cover: © lasseedesignen |

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FALL 2013



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Halcyon fall 2013  

Writers and photographers celebrate the fall season with stories and poems.

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