FOREWORD Since we’re new to the scene, this year’s Quilt has the distinct privilege of inaugurating traditions. Here’s another: our first annual creative “zine.” In the following collection, you’ll stumble upon heroes of old, bartenders, Fidel Castro’s cigar, and romcom enthusiasts. We are so thankful to every one of our contributors for their stunning poetry and prose. You are our lifeblood and our inspiration. So, on behalf of our dedicated editors, brilliant designers, and infallible logistics team—welcome to Quilt Mini: Threads. We’re happy you’re here. Much love, Daniel Green, Editor-in-Chief Julia Harmsworth, Co-Managing Editor Fiona Mulrooney, Co-Managing Editor
EDITOR’S NOTE Pieces from authors on staff appear in this issue of Quilt, myself included. We select pieces using a completely anonymous fashion, in which any members who recognize an author’s work must leave the room or not partake in the selection process. Neither Aynsley Rae nor I were in the room when our pieces were selected. I swear by and believe in an integral process that objectively features the best work that we received. In fact, I have been rejected by Quilt multiple times—this is my first time appearing in one of our issues. Excited about it. Enjoy. —Daniel Green, Editor-in-Chief
CHRISTIE IN JANUARY WRITTEN BY AYNSLEY RAE
DUFFERIN IN AUGUST WRITTEN BY AYNSLEY RAE
THE KING OF ITHACA HURTLES TOWARDS REENTRY WRITTEN BY MADELEINE VIGNERON
1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9
BUTTER WRITTEN BY SOPHIE DE FREITAS
MEET AGAIN CUTE WRITTEN BY HANNA HARPER
STRIKE THREE WRITTEN BY BEN WRIXON
THE BARTENDER’S MOON WRITTEN BY DANIEL GREEN
WALKING HOME WRITTEN BY DANIEL GREEN
COME MONDAY I’LL FORGET WRITTEN BY LIV BRACCI
christie in january WRITTEN
dufferin in august WRITTEN BY AYNSLEY RAE i’d never had a real coffee until the portuguese bakery on the street corner where concrete peels like dead
made with the opposite intention blankets unfamiliar if everyone is sober i wish i hadn’t walked to the liquor
can nails hammered through yarn cracked drywall at dupont the neighbour someone’s neighbour paints sp
with dead leaves, spit-soaked steam a contradiction in bare chests, loose fibers in the metal catch
an apple is the doorstop. in lieu of a working lock it is an invitation, a trail of pawprints from stoop to kitchen to hallway and back again
does the cat count as ours? if the annex is a lonely place to be and we grew sick of slamming shoulders into bruises for strays
does it count as smoking inside? if we pour our lungs to the front porch and the smoke trails slither between the chipped green paint, green skin to stain the walls second-hand
in the small kitchen there’s gin and key bumps, before bambi’s, under the rounded archway where I took your photo and forgot to curl the corners in red, your roommate coated the wall white and we washed our sheets
does it count as fucking? if we twist the knob till it burns and lick off each other’s flesh under the eye of the windowsill, a misstep in the architecture we try to cover the dead spots, the mildew
we can’t live in our own stains, but the blood feels like home anyway.
skin no skateboarding this is toronto is dufferin grove the curb is nicer when it’s
r store it’s been two years but the door sticks no slides this isn’t a sink it’s a garbage
plit houses and leaves an old dresser on your lawn.
THE KING OF ITHACA HURTLES TOWARDS REENTRY WRITTEN BY MADELEINE VIGNERON ILLUSTRATED BY AUDRA CRAGO
trees. Woven by the woman he’s desperately There is a boat in the middle of a gray and
trying to escape. Because she offered
choppy sea. Actually, the boat is more of a raft,
him immortal life. Well, because she was
tree trunks barely stripped of bark, lashed
insanely hot and wanted to sleep with him.
together with the rawest of rope. Maybe the
Well, because he really should be getting
rope is handmade, too, wild grasses woven
home. He’s got a wife. A kid, too, he thinks;
together by hand into something stronger.
the kid only featured in the poem because
That would be a fantastic metaphor, though
he really didn’t want to go to war.
he’s never woven a thing in his life. The boat that is a raft has a tall and imposing mast,
Oh, yes. There was a war.
well-secured enough that the wind and the waves can’t tear it free, but not difficult
Oh, my God. Gods. He believes in gods.
enough that wrangling it onto the boat took
How long has he been gone? How long has
the space of more than a singular clause.
he been stuck in this storm? His wife is going to be worried sick. She doesn’t even
Maybe it was hard, though. Maybe the poet
like it when he takes trips up to visit his
just didn’t really know how to build a boat,
father; the roads are littered with robbers,
not well enough to devote a whole stanza
and the human detritus is fond of wielding
to it. Poets leave things like that to other
remarkably effective secondhand weapons.
people. They create things that can’t be
Maybe firsthand weapons. Men of good
lashed together with rope.
standing don’t pilfer corpses for swords. But men of good standing don’t lurk at the side
Anyways, the boat. It’s afloat for now, but
of the road like the shiny plastic cans on
might not be for long. The wind is ripping
garbage day. That’s a simile from the wrong
at its well-woven sail. Not woven by him; his
century, but if Odysseus knew what garbage
hands are too gnarled from cutting down
day was, he would definitely refer to it. 7
sort of strange cosmic substance, the kind of material that makes up dreams and embarrassment. He tries to lash that idea down with rope, he convinces himself that Odysseus! That’s right, he’s Odysseus. He’s
he wove this rope with his very own hands
Odysseus and normally his wits get him out
and it will not fail him. He clings to his
of scraps like this, and surely he’s scrapped
memories, and he clings to the mast, and
with the weather before, but never weather
he prays. He’s barely skirting the edge of
like this. He’s used to wind that rips at his
a world where his gods will hear him, but
skin, not wind that bites him apart from
it’s a nice effort, so I give him a little nudge,
the inside, its molars rubbing against his
slight but enough to force him into the sticky
fragile nervous system. He suspects the
membrane between worlds.
island where he spent the last seven years wasn’t quite in the real world, and getting
Shoved in between the layers of skin at his
back will require some tricky carving into
universe’s temple, Athena finally notices
the soft flesh under the universe’s ribcage.
him. The temple is her domain, after all. She
He wishes his wife were here to decisively
notices him clinging to about three quarters
turn the key and swing the door between
of a memory and weeping profoundly and
worlds open, but he shouldn’t be thinking
praying. Athena isn’t super into emotions
that because she hasn’t turned any keys at
like that, but she appreciates the prayer,
this point in the poem.
so she carefully peels away the material of dreams and embarrassment and gives
He’s pretty sure he’s going to die. He’s going
him a real boat to cling to, and it happens
to die and that’s why everything is confusing
fast enough that he doesn’t have time to
and upside-down, and though the thoughts
scream and flail and beg for his life. He’s
in his head make perfect sense, the words
on a boat that is a raft that is a dream that
they’re expressed in are from a foreign
is embarrassment, and then he is on a boat
tongue. That’s on me, Odysseus. I don’t
that is made of dead trees and rope woven
speak Ancient Greek and I live in a world
by no one’s hands.
with plastic garbage cans. And he is still Odysseus. And there is an Odysseus is definitely going to die. Maybe
island on the horizon. And he thinks he
he’s been dead this whole time. Maybe he
might have died after all, but he’s still here,
died at Troy and refused to believe it: he
and his new sail flaps mildly in the wind,
keeps going, that’s who he is, that’s what he
because at some point the storm stopped,
does. Keeps going. He clings to the stripped
or he stopped being in it. He is sailing the
bark of the mast he cut down himself, the
universe’s veins now, alongside the oxygen,
wood that probably isn’t wood but some
and he has nothing else to do but keep going. 8
WRITTEN BY SOPHIE DE FREITAS ILLUSTRATED BY LAUREN BALE When water melts would it smell like wax Unlikely: Butter. The oil that won’t come off I do not see the birds, only their feet, and even then, only the ones missing talons I’ve been pulling my hair out since I was little, letting it fall from my fingers, and at this rate the strands are all over the world, DNA stamps on a map I don’t have eyelashes, haven’t for a year. I can’t wait to wear mascara again. The male gaze: I can’t wait to wear mascara again The female gaze: I don’t have eyelashes, haven’t for a year this crying is tragically beautiful this crying is pathetic unless I have the mascara smears to prove it What do I know about pain, what do you? Can either of us spell napalm? One of those gold bracelets, the cheap ones that stain green. I’ll give it to you if you like, in exchange for straight teeth (all my molars are glass; they shatter in the winter, or at the opera) I am exactly like other girls, except for my hair and my skin and my face and my voice and my bones
I am exactly like other girls, keys in fist and bath knees If I undressed like you wanted me to, I’d never get this dress off The male versus the female gaze is a pyramid scheme It’s Fidel Castrol and I again. He smokes a cigar, I put it out on my tongue it’s hot (it’s hot, for who?) Before I tan, my skin dapples, lucky me Before I cry my eyes lighten, lucky me The male gaze: An oil spill The female gaze: Butter. The oil that won’t come off And if I undressed like you wanted me to I’d take my skin off, hand you my womb You can have it, keep it, I don’t mind. Just leave the glass molars in my mouth I’ll keep my hair and my skin and my face and my voice and my bones And everything else that makes me a female with a gaze, but not the female gaze because I put that out on my tongue, remember? Are you even watching?
Before he died, the last time I spoke to my
a foul mood regardless of how much fun we’d
father we were broiling underneath the
had. A few hours after he caught the foul
August sun in section 126 at the old ballpark.
ball on that scorching August afternoon, I
All the covered seats at the diamond had sold
blew up on him because he started using
out, but despite knowing we’d inevitably
his therapist language on me. Watching My
get sunburnt, my father had insisted we
Team lose in extra innings had me in no
celebrate my eighteenth birthday with a
frame of mind to be lectured about “black-
baseball game. I still have the foul ball
and-white” thinking or “catastrophizing.”
he caught me; it’s front and centre in my
I was so angry at his condescension that I
memorabilia display. However, a decade
almost threw the ball in the trash.
later, what I really remember from that afternoon is being sweat-soaked and furious
When I get home from work, the ball is right
when My Team lost.
there on my mantle. I sweep my negative thoughts aside and park my butt on the couch
Now, my father is gone, but Opening Day is
in the room Abigail calls my ‘mancave,’ then
here again, and I’m on the clock counting
turn on the game just in time to catch the
down the minutes until the first pitch of the
team introductions—not that I don’t know
season. Bringing that baseball he caught for
every player already. It’s quite a boring game
me to work has become a personal tradition:
until the sixth inning when My Team’s best
it reminds me of simpler times, of days from
hitter crushes a huge home run with two
my childhood when we would drive my
runners on base.
mother crazy by pacing around the living room during intense duels between pitchers
“FINALLY!” I scream.
and batters. When my shift finally ends around six, I sprint to my car, holding my
Eventually, Abigail comes downstairs asking
lucky baseball like I’m stealing second base.
me to lower the TV volume; I tell her the score, brimming with excitement. Her smile
I wonder if Dad ever did this? I ask myself.
is tentative. She watches a few pitches with her hand on my shoulder, then goes back
He always liked watching the sport, but
upstairs to bed.
what he loved was taking the train into town, scarfing down two footlong hotdogs,
When we win the game, I hop on Instagram
and drinking piss-water beer. None of that
to relive it all. The official MLB account
superficial stuff brings me enjoyment
posted about how well we did. They made
unless My Team wins. We always used to
a cool edit of the home run where the bat
fight whenever they lost because I’d get into
looks like a lightsaber.
After watching that several times, I read
an 18-10 record. The online discussion
through some analysis written by fan
accounts before finally joining Abigail in
negative fans and columnists were after
a loss. He never believed that one game She’s already dozing off under the covers.
could be meaningful in a 162-game season.
Our bedside clock reads eleven-thirty; I must
Obviously I know they all matter.
have lost track of time scrolling. I brush my teeth, undress, then climb into bed with my
Being atop the baseball world propels me
wonderful girlfriend. She’s warm. I don’t
through my shifts; the annoyances of office
mind that she doesn’t nuzzle her head into
work become tolerable. I proudly keep my
my chest tonight—it’s late, and she’s on call
at the hospital tomorrow, after all.
don’t actually watch the games—updated on
scores. On casual Friday, I wear a baseball “Did they win by a lot?”
cap sporting My Team’s logo without shame.
“Just by three,” I say. “How did you know we won?”
Abigail and I really get along when My Team wins. I’m more motivated to cook dinner
She falls asleep without answering me.
when there’s an exciting game right after as a reward. I have more energy to listen to
her problems when My Team is good. She
My Team wins eight of their first ten
gets annoyed when I insist on watching the
post-game coverage, but reliving each sweet victory is better than having the same-old
At the end of April, we’re in first place with
# May isn’t good for My Team.
“This is a four-seam fastball,” I tell her, demonstrating the grip by holding my
I’ve taken to throwing the TV remote. The
pointer and middle fingers across the seams.
first time I did, I nearly hit my memorabilia
“You want to throw them early in the count.”
display. The second time, Abigail came
downstairs right as My Team’s pitcher
“For most pitchers, it’s their best pitch,” I
gave up a grand slam to lose the game. She
explain. “You want to throw your best pitch
claimed to have heard me shouting all the
early so that you can get an advantage on the
way upstairs in our bedroom. I tried telling
batter. If you throw strike one, that means
her that it’s not my fault we have thin floors
you are putting him on the defensive. Good
or that the paint on our walls is so easily
pitchers always attack.”
scratched, but she didn’t buy it.
“How do you strike batters out? With curveballs?”
We agreed I’d sleep on the couch that night.
“Yeah, curveballs can work,” I say, working
It would have been a one-night thing had My
my fingers into the grip that my father taught
Team not departed on a two-week-long west
me years ago in our backyard. “Or sliders...
coast road trip the following day. Whenever
they play in California or Seattle, the games
Abigail puts on her thinking face. Her
don’t start until ten o-clock our time, which
means I can’t go to bed until one in the
uncomfortable is coming. “Okay… well,
morning. I’m on the couch for the fifth
unfortunately, I need to throw you a bit of
night in a row because it works best for us
a curveball here: I’m going away for a few
both. We’ll get back to sharing a bed soon;
baseball ends in September, but Abigail is
“Going away? Where?”
around all year. “I’m going to go stay with my parents for a #
We start winning again in August. The last time Abigail visited her parents was I’m back sleeping with Abigail. She seems
five Septembers ago while My Team made a
happier since the hospital started giving her
fruitless push toward the playoffs. They blew
weekends off work—they hired a new nurse,
the season by losing their final five games; I
apparently. When the anniversary of that
was too furious to talk about anything when
afternoon in section 126 comes around, she
I picked her up from the airport.
offers to watch the game with me. I take the foul ball out of its case to teach Abigail about
I take her hand. It’s cold. “Can I ask why?”
pitching while we do.
“Well, I haven’t seen them in a while, and
He forced my mother to drive me to college
my dad isn’t doing great—I know you can
alone and didn’t hug me goodbye. He spoke
understand that. Besides, I figured this
through her from that day forward; she told
was a good time because you’re going to
me about his cancer diagnosis, and he never
be pretty wrapped up with the end of the
once called to update me. We became so
distanced that it didn’t feel appropriate to speak at his funeral. Still, I can’t shake the
My Team does have a good record at 80-
feeling that these are the type of baseball
67. We’re in a prime position to make the
moments I always wanted to share with him:
playoffs if we play reasonably well over the
Our Team only needs to win three of their
season’s final weeks. She’s right; I’ll probably
next five games to clinch a playoff spot.
spend most of my free time in-between games stressing over predictions.
When My Team loses game one, I don’t throw the TV remote—the batteries rolled under
“That doesn’t mean you need to leave.”
the couch last time, and I haven’t cleaned
She sighs. “Yes, it does.”
the floor since Abigail left. Instead, I slam it into the couch cushions to blow off steam.
Fortunately for my sanity, winning the next
Living alone again is a mixed bag.
two games puts us in prime position to finally end the playoff drought. I can taste
I like watching the game with the TV cranked
the champagne on my tongue until My Team
loud enough to shake the house and having
loses the fourth game in humiliating fashion.
the freedom to scream without judgement. What I don’t like is having to feed myself—
I fall asleep in an empty bed, shivering.
cooking every night is exhausting. My father used to keep a book of easy recipes for the
nights when my mother had to work late, but I’ve forgotten most of them. The UberEATS
In honour of the final game, I take the foul
boxes are piling up when the final week of
ball out of its display case. I squeeze it tight
the season rolls around.
with excitement when My Team takes an early 1-0 lead on a first-inning home run.
Lately, I’ve been thinking about my father a
The crowd looks electric. I’d do anything to
be back roasting in section 126—even eat one of those disgusting hot dogs my father
In the fallout of our fight on my eighteenth
used to love.
birthday, he refused to watch a game with me again. He swore off baseball entirely.
My phone rings. I ignore it.
My Team falls apart in the middle innings.
“Here comes the curveball—”
Our pitcher loses his release point and
The batter at the plate is just a kid; if we were
coughs up the tying run. They’ve been
watching together under the sweltering sun
struggling to hit since the first inning, while
in section 126, my father would have pitied
the opposition has gotten into a confident
groove. The other team scores another run in the eighth against our bullpen pitcher.
“—No balls, two strikes… the pitcher is
The game is in jeopardy—we only have one
inning to come back.
Ball game. Strike three looking.
My phone rings again, so I check it. Abigail.
Anger consumes me; I want to throw the baseball at my TV screen until it shatters
As the game cuts to a commercial break,
into a million pieces. I cock my arm back
I scurry upstairs to take her call. “What’s
like a shortstop about to throw, but then I’m
transported back to section 126. I’m smiling
“My dad had a stroke.”
ear-to-ear as my father hands me the foul ball
My heart drops. “Oh, God… is he okay?”
he just caught. I’m back in the crowd arguing
“I don’t know… I—I’m just so—why didn’t you
with him as we’re leaving the stadium. I’m in
my mother’s car thinking about him on the
I swallow hard. “I was watching the game.”
way to college. I’m feeling embarrassed that
“The game? You ignored my calls for the
the baseball is in my pocket at his funeral
instead of the words to a speech.
“It’s their last one, I—” My phone rings again. She hangs up. I call her back. No answer.
I set the ball down, and then I answer.
She ignores my second call as I go back downstairs. When I get back in front of the TV, I curse to myself, realizing I missed the majority of the ninth inning. I sink into the couch right as the opposing pitcher throws a fastball by our last batter for strike one. I tighten my grip on the baseball my father gave me when the batter swings and misses for strike two.
Jane was leaving the convenience store
is writing the exposé that could ruin your
when her romcom was ruined.
What they don’t tell you about meet-cutes is
The reunion gives them conflict, but it’s just
that meeting is never as cute the second time
an obstacle to their love story. It gives their
around. In fact, the so-we-meet-again is the
romance the opportunity to evolve. It makes
most awkward part, and it always happens
when you’re not expecting it. Real life is rarely so neat. Except, that is, in movies. Destiny reunites people in interesting ways in romantic
And, honestly, Jane wasn’t interested in that
comedies. The man you spilled coffee all
second part anyway. All she’d wanted was a
over is your new CEO. The woman you
nice story to tell her friends—a one-that-got-
rescued from oncoming traffic is planning
away to mourn who would remain pristine
your sister’s wedding. The boy who sent
and context-less in her mind.
sparks flying when he brushed your hand
One afternoon at her local bookstore, she
all over him. The kind who swung kids over
thought she’d gotten it. Her very own meet-
his shoulder and snuck them candy when
their mom wasn’t looking and wrapped them in that soft jacket he was wearing when they
As a fifth-grade English teacher, Jane spent an
refused to bring their own.
embarrassing amount of time in the middlegrade section. Her usual companions there
“Can I help you with anything?”
were frenzied parents trying desperately to find good birthday gifts and ten-year-old
One of the clerks had approached him. The
kids spending their allowance money while
their parents bought coffee. “Book two of the Chronicler series,” he said. Rarely people her own age, though. And
There was a charming cockiness to his voice.
certainly not tall, messy-haired young men
“Have you got it?”
with killer jawlines skimming through the pages of Narnia.
Maybe Mr. Narnia worked in trades, Jane theorized. The way he held himself was
Naturally, Jane did a bit of a double-take
so casual, like he inhabited his body one
when she spotted him sandwiched between
hundred percent, like he trusted every part
A-F and G-L.
of it entirely.
She blinked slowly at him.
After a minute of searching, the clerk was at a loss. “I’m sorry, sir, I’ll have to check the
He looked sweet, she thought, as she
pretended to read the back of a YA novel nearby. His hair was a dark blonde that
“Look under B,” Jane suggested, unthinkingly.
nearly covered a set of thick eyebrows. Something he read made the corner of his
Both their gazes snapped onto her. Mr.
mouth perk up and her pulse skipped in
Narnia’s was particularly weighted as he
considered her for the first time. She took a deep, shaky breath when they made eye
Too young to have a ten-year-old kid, most
likely. And no ring. Maybe shopping for a niece or nephew?
“Sorry,” she said, “it’s just, uh, you’re looking under L, which would make sense for the
Jane grinned to herself at the thought. It had
first book, by Peter Liltwood. But the second
to be that: this guy had “fun uncle” written
is, uh, by a different author.
Amy Brent? The series is a collaboration.”
the corner behind the History section, with baristas dashing about behind the counter
“Huh,” said Mr. Narnia. He pulled a purple
and coffee machines whirring away in the
cover from an adjacent shelf. “There it is.”
background. When she ordered her drink with three sugars, Chris gave her a bemused
“Thanks, miss,” said the clerk, smiling
tightly and moving on. “I almost don’t want to pay for that,” he said. Jane nodded and went back to fake-reading
“Can you even taste the coffee?”
The Fault in Our Stars. “Shush.” Mr. Narnia turned the book over in his hands and shot her a much warmer smile. “Expert
They chatted idly once they sat down, mostly
in kid’s lit, then?”
about the books they liked as kids, the books they liked now, the books that were way
Jane let out a stuttered laugh, surprised at
over-hyped. Chris was smart, laughed at her
the continued interaction. “That’s one way
jokes, and made her laugh in return. It was
to put it.”
scarily easy to forget that she’d only met him within the past half hour. She’d never felt so
“Well, I appreciate your insight, then.” He
comfortable around a near-perfect-stranger
held out his hand. “I’m Chris.”
Given that previous experience, Jane could tell it was too easy. Which was why it felt like
His palm was large over hers. The look he
the universe putting itself back into balance
leveled at her as they shook hands made her
when Chris got a phone call.
feel like another book he was perusing, like he could read every line of her.
He paused mid-sentence, glanced at the name on his screen and rolled his eyes.
“Let me treat you to coffee, Jane. For coming to my rescue.”
“Sorry, I really have to take this.” Chris hit the answer button before Jane had even
“I don’t know about rescue,” Jane said, “but I
do like coffee.” “No worries,” she said, more to herself than Jane let Chris lead her to the bookstore
café. It was a small place, tucked away in
From what little Jane could hear, the man on
An epic romance, all from the safety of her
the other end of the phone was one wrong
word away from an aneurysm. Chris spoke in fragments, trying to calm him down. From
And once she decided to start going to a
how he was tapping on the table impatiently,
different bookstore, Jane was comfortably
Jane knew this wouldn’t be a short call.
certain it would stay that way.
Chris pursed his lips apologetically as he
Until her costar smacked into her in the
looked back over to her and covered the
pouring rain in the parking lot of the
microphone with his palm. “This might be
a little while.” Jane almost didn’t recognize him: he was “It’s fine.” Jane pushed the café chair back as
wearing a suit, a far cry from the casual
quietly as she could. “Thanks for the coffee.
t-shirt, jacket, and jeans combo from when
It was great to meet you.”
they met. The downpour had painted it to his skin. Those shaggy bangs she’d admired
Chris nodded with a small smile, then his
were sending water running in rivulets
attention was overtaken once more.
down his nose and cheeks.
And for a good month or so, that was Jane’s
All this she took in as Chris swore and
little story. A chance encounter with a
grabbed her by the shoulders to right her. She
handsome stranger. Nothing as fancy as you’d
could pinpoint the exact second recognition
find in your typical summer blockbuster,
sparked in his eyes, and it was with belated
but enough to fuel a fantasy.
horror that she realized she hadn’t bothered to change out of her pajamas for this trip.
Her friends all lamented that they hadn’t exchanged numbers, that he’d taken the call.
“It’s you!” Chris exclaimed.
Jane appreciated their frustration on her behalf, but she was mostly just grateful that
“In the flesh.”
anything as interesting as a pseudo-meetcute had happened to her at all. Now, she
Chris put his hands on his hips. The rain
could imagine a hundred different ways that
soaking through his dress shirt didn’t seem
they could see each other again, fall in love,
to bother him in the slightest.
overcome all the usual romcom obstacles. All without any shred of belief that it would
“I went back to the store a couple times, but
I never saw you,” he said. “And now here you are!”
“We must have missed each other,” Jane said.
“But you said…”
(Guiltily). “I’m an English teacher. That’s where I got my, “Must have.” He grinned wide. “Knew I’d see
uh... Expertise.” At the lost expression on his
you again, though. Eventually.”
face, she added, “Sorry?”
“No, no, don’t be, I just—I guess I really built all that up in my head, huh?” He did a self-
“Yep.” He wiped his bangs to the side cheerfully.
deprecating little shift that made his shoes
“Listen, I know you didn’t realize when we first
met, but—I’m Christopher Marshall.” The rain was still pattering loudly on Jane’s Chris watched her expectantly, as if this should
umbrella. Droplets of it bounced off Chris’s
be jaw-dropping information. Jane squinted,
trying to place the name. An old classmate, maybe? A neighbour?
She sighed. “You don’t have any nieces or nephews, by any chance, do you?”
After a few seconds of silence, she still had nothing. Chris was starting to frown.
“As in, head editor at Equinox publishing?” he
Jane squeezed the handle again. “And you were
looking for the Chronicler books because you publish them.”
“You’re an editor?” “Our rivals do, actually. I wanted to, uh, see “Well, yeah. I thought it refreshing you didn’t
if they were selling.” Chris looked even more
know. Most middle-grade writers wait months
to talk to me, and there you were, completely clueless.”
Jane scuffed one of her rain boots across the pavement. “I... may have thought you were
“I- I’m not a writer,” Jane managed, once her
buying something for your niece. And may
brain caught up to what he was saying.
have imagined you as this really cool uncle, who didn’t know what to get for her birthday,
That finally seemed to shake him. Chris
and our little meet-cute thing totally made her
year by helping you find her favourite book...”
“Not a writer,” she said, more confidently this
A lopsided smile broke slowly across Chris’s
“Yeah, sorry,” he echoed, slight cockiness
both the type of romantics who got completely
back. “I’m an only child.”
ahead of ourselves, and now we’ve learned our lesson, and we’ll keep changing each other for
“Figures.” Jane laughed. “I guess it wasn’t
much of a meet-cute, then.” Chris looked extremely proud of himself for “I guess not.”
having come up with this. Jane kept walking.
Jane nudged him with her elbow. “Better luck
“I’m not that romantic,” she said, unable to
next time, yeah?”
think of a better rebuttal.
She took one more look at his handsome
“Don’t lie,” Chris said. “I bet you’re the kind
face dripping with rainwater, committed it to
of teacher who puts all the kids next to their
memory, then turned to go home. It served
her right, she supposed. No fantasy could last forever. She’d have to find a way to break the
Jane glared. She was that kind of teacher.
news to her friends. “You’re just saying this to get my number.” Except she only got about five steps away before she heard the splashing sound of
“True. And you don’t have to give it to me. But
someone following her.
admit it, meet-again-cute is pretty good.”
“Jane!” Chris jogged in front of her, a wild and
And, damn it, it was good. He already knew
excited look in his eyes. “This is the meet-
which buttons to press.
cute!” “All the best romcom scenes happen in the “What?”
“This! Right now! This is the meet-cute!”
Jane bit her lip. Chris was well and truly drenched and couldn’t look happier about it.
Jane laughed incredulously. “No, it’s not. It’s
And here she was, in her PJ’s with her giant
the part where two adults realize their lives
umbrella, speaking to a guy she knew even
are not actually romcoms, and that they’re not
less about than she’d originally thought.
made for each other just because they met in a fun way.”
“This is a terrible romcom,” she said, pulling out her phone.
“Not true. You and I, Jane, are in the middle of a meet-again-cute. In which we realize that we
But even as Jane said it, she found she didn’t
should definitely go on a date because we’re
really mind. 22
WRITTEN BY DANIEL GREEN ILLUSTRATED BY AUDRA CRAGO
The bartender starts work now.
A man cries:
He doesn’t drive. He walks.
“Tell the bartender not to drive tonight!”
But he never learned how.
a vanilla glow
And I say:
Bartender, oh Bartender,
winter’s chalk drawings.
close for the night. I am shy.
He goes in through the front door.
That whiskey slips down,
I go in through the window.
that barfly leaves.
The bartender’s lips are dry.
The bartender is stuck staring at keys.
He fills craters with liquid.
Now we are alone.
Warm in the stomach.
I try to wrap him in my silver wings,
Water on the moon.
but he puts on a leather coat.
Drops sift through space,
He leaves the bar. He looks to the sky.
down our cheeks,
We are both weeping
like whiskey in a barfly’s glass.
and don’t know why.
I found a letter in my mailbox addressed to
My father is a Canadian science-fiction
someone who doesn’t live here anymore.
author. His last novel in the Ashland Trilogy,
The same mailbox where someone left used
St. Patrick’s Bed, opens with the following
cotton balls, rubber bands, and needles
acknowledgment: “For Daniel Casci Green,
inside. The mailbox that I removed from a
the completion to my fabulous Trilogy.” The
crumbling brick wall to sanitize with a bottle
Ashland books are almost pseudo-memoirs.
of water and dish soap. I got orange-brown
He blends fact and fiction — plays with ghost
rust stains all over my clothes; I don’t know
stories, the afterlife, time travel — things
how long it’s sat there, but long enough to
that seem so fake but are too real.
garner rust indoors. The first in his trilogy is Shadow of Ashland. The letter was addressed as such:
It follows Leo, who’s trying to locate
Jack Radey, Leo’s mother’s brother who
disappeared when she was young. Both to
345 Sydenham Road
Leo and my actual father, Mom’s last request
Kingston ON, K7S 3N6
was to “find out what happened to Jack.”
Owen. Every time I cross paths with the
At the beginning of the novel, Dad writes:
name Owen, it makes me think of my For my brother
brother. He’s one of my two half-brothers;
my father is seventy-four years old. He had a
family before the one that I’m a part of. For
Whom we all miss
him, I’m the last of three, the youngest of the
Now and Always
family, and the one born into the protection
of parents in a stable marriage.
Ron died of a heart attack at sixty-one.
I walked into the doctor’s office.
Not being born yet, there’s no mention of
me. But there’s this: As always, with love, I
receptionist, Dora, said.
thank my family: Merle, for everything, and Conor and Owen for everything else.
I was having trouble breathing. “Brother?” “He just left. He went down the stairs. You
Owen was acknowledged. But he left anyway.
didn’t see him?”
He went missing about five years ago, in 2016.
“Oh. No. What brother?”
Or, maybe not missing, but disconnected.
What classifies one as “missing” rather than
I froze. Then I sat down. “Oh.”
“disconnected” or “disassociated” depends
“Are you okay?”
on whether or not they want to be found.
“I haven’t seen him in a while is all.”
If you don’t want to be found, people don’t put up missing posters for you. I can’t put
My dad came up and sat down beside me
up a missing poster or call the cops. Owen
chose to go missing. He blocked our phone
“Dad. Owen was just here.”
numbers and ceased contact with our family completely. It’s random to us, but not to him.
His mouth opened. Eyebrows raised. “You’re
About two years ago, I went to the doctor’s
office for a checkup. My dad drove me but
“No, Dora just told me. I could’ve run after
he couldn’t find parking — he dropped me
him. I should’ve run after him. I don’t know
off while he looked for a spot. I went up
why but I just sat down and—”
the old creaky elevator alone. I’ve always feared getting stuck in elevators, especially
“Stop. There’s nothing you can do. You did
the one at Doctor Loukides’s office. It had a
the right thing. If he doesn’t want to talk,
dim, orange light that lit up the numbers. It
you can’t make him. But he was here?”
moved slowly, wobbled. I didn’t like the idea
of getting stuck.
“Well… Wow. Thank God. At least he’s taking care of himself.”
Upon reaching the top floor, I heard the door to the stairwell open and close. I can’t
That’s the difference between father–son
remember if I saw the tail of someone’s shoe
and brother–brother relationships: my Dad
disappear around the corner and down the
was relieved to find out that he at least went
stairs, or if I’ve made that detail up after
to the doctor. I lost a brother, but he lost a
years of trying to cope.
I think I regret that moment — freezing —
but I’m not entirely sure. What would I have
David Danladi Luginbühl
said? Was I to run down the stairs screeching
Always remembered, always loved
his name, crying as I did, my sobs echoing
through the six-story staircase? How would
he have replied? How are you supposed to reply when you haven’t for so long?
David was the son of my father’s friend, Ken. David was dating a woman in her late
It’s the same thing with phoning him. A
twenties. She had a kid. The three of them
while ago, I thought I was blocked, and the
were driving down the 401 when their car
number used to go straight to voicemail or
got a flat tire. He pulled over, he and his
to “the caller is currently unavailable,” but
girlfriend got out to check what happened,
now it rings. It rung when I tried calling
and they were hit by an eighteen-wheeler.
him last week. I’d like to think that means
The kid survived. O.P.P showed up at Ken’s
he unblocked me, but it probably means
door at 5 a.m. to tell him.
he got a new number. I’m scared to call his number. I swell up with anxiety when I do;
David was a twenty-three-year-old piano
don’t know if I actually want him to pick up,
player. It looked like a future in music was
don’t know what I’d say. I also don’t know
on his horizon.
what’s worse: no answer, him picking up, or a stranger picking up. I don’t know if there’s
Owen is forty now. My dad sent him a text on
a difference. I don’t know a lot of things.
his fortieth birthday:
Maybe he’s dead. I’m sure we’d find out
February 16, 2021
somehow, next of kin and all, but there’s
Owen... Think of you every day. Happy Birthday.
no way to be sure. If he died tomorrow, or
Love to hear from you. Update me and let me
yesterday, I would keep on living my life as if
know you’re OK. It would mean a lot to me.
he was alive. Missing? Dead? Disconnected?
Maybe people are just gone at a certain point.
He sent him a letter a few days after:
My father wrote a book about being gone—
February 21, 2021
about death. A Witness to Life starts with his grandfather dying on a streetcar on
Christmas day 1950, and then transcending
I’ve thrown a few “bottles into the ocean with
into some sort of afterlife. My father
notes inside” trying to find you. This is one
introduces the novel with:
Knowing that in the past, phone contact
My acknowledgment will read:
seemed to be blocked, I tried sending you a text on your 40th birthday, but I think it was
probably blocked too, ending up in cyberspace.
Before that, I’d had mail returned from your old
Whom we all miss
Sammon Ave apartment with “Moved” printed
Now and Always
across the address. It’s a long story how I came
For my brother
across this mailing address, and I’d be glad to tell you about it if we can talk some time.
Or maybe instead of question marks I’d use the date it was published. Because if I had
Last night I actually had a dream about seeing
chosen to share him with the world that
you again, which has prompted this attempt.
would mean he was gone. That would mean
Simply put, I’ll always have a sense of my life
it was real. It would mean that I’d be sure
being “not right” with you not a part of it—
he’d never read it.
no matter how much distance you choose to maintain.
Earlier this year, when my ex-girlfriend and I first started dating, every time I’d drop her
I’d love to hear from you, to know (if nothing
off at her place, I felt lonely walking home.
else) what you’re doing, where you’re living,
I would usually tear up but didn’t know why.
and that you’re OK, especially with all the
It took me a while to realize the emotion I
Covid craziness. That much would give me some
was feeling was loneliness, but that’s because
much needed peace. If we could achieve more
I’d never felt it before. My parents loved me
than that, it would be a bonus. Life is too short.
(and still do), but I couldn’t run to them the
I actually had a minor stroke back in October,
same way I used to. I had a core group of
2019—a wake-up call.
friends in high school — always someone to hang out with — but now I’m struggling to
Daniel is in 3rd year at Queen’s, doing well. He
figure out friendship.
misses his brother like I miss my son. It’s November 2020—I’m assigning blame Love to hear from you. Call. Please.
to people in my head while walking home
from my girlfriend’s house: she didn’t make me feel welcome. Maybe she’s going to leave me
like Owen did. No, maybe it’s her roommate. Maybe she’s making me cry. No, no… Maybe
I hope to have a book published one day. To
it’s because I haven’t gone home to Toronto in
write as well as my father does.
a while. Maybe it’s the fact that my roommate still hangs out with my ex-girlfriend.
Maybe it’s because I was with her for four-and-a-half years and left suddenly: disconnected, gone. Maybe it’s because David Luginbühl died on the 401. Maybe it’s because the kid was the only one that lived. Maybe it’s the fact that my father had a stroke last year. Maybe it’s the fact that I think he is going to die soon, that I can sense the cancer soon to be revealed. Maybe it’s because we all can die soon. Because lightning can strike — and people are gone. People just leave sometimes. It starts to rain. Hard. The ink of an advertisement for music lessons bleeds down the pole it’s stapled to, like words turning to italics. Drops speckle my glasses. I can really cry now, because it’s invisible: maybe it’s because somebody left heroin needles in my mailbox. or because i got rust all over my clothes or because the caller is unavailable. i look up into the night at the clouds and the moon is poking through bright and orange glowing like christmas and raindrops and elevator buttons at the doctor’s office and bleeding rust splattering onto piano keys. i’m crying but don’t want to anymore or maybe the moon just likes to make me feel this way maybe feeling melancholic is beautiful and owen feels this way when he walks home ashland owen mcguire find out what happened to jack letters mailboxes lost people gone missing disconnected disassociated music forever now and always whom we all miss 1997 1932 1974 1993 1981 always remembered always loved ron owen walking home, for my brother
If I’ve learned anything, it’s that Sunday
Mine will sit beside me with stitched-up
night might always be heavy. It might
lips, and I’ll ask her where we’re supposed
always remind us of every night we spent
to run from numbness like this, how we’re
convincing everyone else they were worthy
expected to mourn if there was never a
of healing, every instance bringing rise to
body. I’ll apologize for never making room
the nights that we didn’t want to live. Maybe
for her death in my bed because I couldn’t
all we could ever count on was failure. We
handle the weight of it all. How she’ll never
could tally every mistake on the doorframe
go home again because I can’t remember if
of the houses we grew up in until the children
we ever had one.
buried in the backyard find us again.
I’ll unstitch the chapped skin and
want to, I’ll listen. She’ll tell me about
watch her vomit the rust and the rot
forgetting names and new days that
and every obituary clipping mourning
won’t taste of their skin. Having people
the childhood she survived without
around was never the same thing as
ever being taught how to hold herself,
having friends; the parts of my life I’m
without ever being held at all. These
holding onto so desperately are parts
words will look familiar because they’re
where I wasn’t even happy. She’ll be
my own; they’re pieces of me, aching
laughing and telling me it feels nice to
in my stomach and rattling around
breathe. It feels nice to start getting our
like collected baby teeth. We never
smile right on the first try. She’s still
did believe in the tooth fairy. Or Santa
afraid of the monsters in the closet,
Claus. Or God, for that matter. And the
but with me, she’ll be okay. I’ll tell her
child will know all of this because she
we have sharper teeth now. A salt rock
lived through it with her mouth shut.
nightlight and stronger sleeping pills so eventually she’ll get a good night’s
I’ll tell her the names of the people
rest. She’ll remind me of every night
she will one day love and watch
that she didn’t want to live and despite
leave. I’ll tell her about being a
not believing in anything, I’ll thank
God she’s alive.
she’ll interrupt to ask how her puppy is. I’ll tell her she grew up to be the best
The two of us will sit in the quiet
dog in the world, that I might never
heaviness of Sunday and think of each
forget how the air smelled the day she
other, of how our throats aren’t closing
around dirt anymore. This night will be the night she resurrects, and I’ll hold
At this point, I’ll be searching for
her for who she is. We’ll honor the
the faces in the ceiling until I can
insignificance of it all and I’ll give her
breathe again, and she’ll start to tell
permission to cry without immediately
me about spring. About knees scraped
wiping her tears.
on pavement and how being loved doesn’t hurt anymore, how it was never supposed to. As much as I don’t
Permission to be a child.
AFTERWORD Thank you to the Queen’s Inn on Brock Street—particularly Kathy and Richard Mitchell—for hosting Quilt and its contributors on November 27th, 2021 to read their work live. We could not be more grateful. Thank you to the Queen’s English Department for their unrivalled support and belief in our publication. And finally, thank you, our readers, for being here. Let
Haudenosaunee territory. We are grateful to be able to live, learn, and play on these lands.