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soliloquies

@ 16.2 anthology


soliloquies

@ sixteen.two

soliloquies.ca


editorial committee

editor-in-chief lizy mostowski

executive editor paula haley wilson

8 creative director candice maddy

fiction editors dave crosbie rebecca macphee emma robertson

poetry editors ashley opheim diandre prendimano colleen romaniuk assistant graphic designer ivana caluori

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online editors robin graham dylan riley

copy dave crosbie production & editorial assistant alexandra oliva albert

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note from the editor I’ve been babysitting my friends’ cat for two weeks. Every morning, she wakes me up with pleas for wet food. My roommate thinks that wet food is a scam, thinks the cat is addicted. The cat pukes every two or three days. Some days it’s a hairball. Some days I can see that it’s just dry food. I had a dream that the cat got drunk and puked salsa into a white garbage can and passed out inside of it. I had to clean it all up. In many ways, writers are like cats. You know how, you know why, I don’t have to tell you. You also don’t want to know how I could try to string the story about the cat into a metaphor about this anthology. That would be cheesy. We’re proud to be showing you new poems from Concordians Alex Manley, Sarah Brunning, Megan Alford, and Kathryn Macarthur, as well as a clever yet sincere short story from Jessica Marcotte, who is next in line to be managing editor at Matrix Magazine. For the first time, ever, I believe, we’ve accepted a story from a McGill student, Francesa Bianco. Her short story is poignant and concise, while she drives you across Canada. Jeremy Hanson-Finger, a regular contributor from Toronto, allows you to peer inside the mind of a private school brat, making you question the education system. I’d like to thank ASFA and CASE, especially CASE and all of the wonderful people who were on the committee this year, for funding our project and for their continuing support and enthusiasm. I’d like to thank our online editor, Dylan Riley, for starting The Audio Files on soliloquies.ca, and for taking so much of his time to do it. Thank you Paula Haley Wilson for being my left-side of the brain this past year, I’ll miss you. I’d like to thank our Creative Director, Candice Maddy, for keeping us on track and for inspiring me this year. Thank you, again, to everyone in the community for their continuing support and interest in our small publication. Lizy Mostowski, Editor-in-Chief Montreal, May 2012


contributors

Amanda Craig's work creates a relationship between intimacy and anonymity. Using found images she is investigating the themes of memory, history, adolescence, death, and deterioration. For Amanda, the unknown or mysterious quality of the found photograph’s history is thought provoking. This sense of the unknown is exaggerated in her paintings, often giving the images a darker or more foreboding quality. Your focus is directed towards the materiality of of the paint rather than the context of the source imagery. These figures and bodily elements become floating symbols, distorted and rich in colour and oil they are recognizable but not realistic. They appear vibrant and beautiful, yet there is something unsettling about them. A strange yet familiar visual narrative begins to develop between the figures and objects presented.

photo: Yuli Sato

Born in Tidehead, New Brunswick, and raised in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Megan Alford spent her formative years against a backdrop of North Shore sand dunes. In Toronto, she acquired a Diploma in Dance Performance, and in Montreal, a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing from Concordia University. She has been featured in Matrix Magazine’s Zen Poetry Issue, as well as shortlisted for the Irving Layton Award in both fiction and poetry.

Francesca Bianco is not accustomed to writing fiction. She usually writes poetry and brief twitter updates. For this reason she is surprised, and pleased as punch, to have short story in Soliloquies 16.2. Francesca is an English Literature student at McGill and hails from small town northern B.C.

Sarah Brunning is a Montreal based writer. She is currently studying Creative Writing and English Literature at Concordia University. She temporarily studied German there, but did not learn it.

Jeremy Hanson-Finger attended Carleton University, where he wrote his MA thesis on dirty bits in postmodern American novels. He now lives in Toronto, where he is a production editor for John Wiley & Sons Canada, Ltd. during the day; writing a satirical detective novel entitled Slumlord of Blood Planet by night; and publisher of the electronic lit mag Dragnet on weekends.


contributors Kathryn MacArthur: I was born on an cold November morning deep within the greater Toronto area. Shortly thereafter I was introduced to the poetry of Sylvia Plath and fell head over heels in love. The rest is quite clear, and I now study Creative writing at Concordia. I am currently very influenced by the poetry of ValĂŠrie Rouzeau and thrilled to say this is my first publication.

Alex Manley is a Creative Writing major at Concordia University. He was born and bred on the island of Montreal. He is left-handed. Despite this natural handicap, he won Concordia's 2012 Irving Layton Award for Fiction. His work has also been published by The Void, Ribbon Pig, and the Scrivener Creative Review.

Jessica Rose Marcotte was born in Montreal and is a graduate of Concordia University's in the Honours in English and Creative Writing Program. She will begin her Masters of Creative Writing at Concordia in Fall 2012. She enjoys scuba diving, rock climbing, road trips and reading. She is a blue belt in Chito-Ryu karate and speaks parts of five languages. Her work has been published in The Incongruous Quarterly, The Link, and Peripheries, a collection of short stories by the 426 Collective. She likes words.

David Woodward is an ex-wildlife biologist from the Montreal area. Some of his work can be found in Switched-on Gutenberg, Wilderness House, Hamilton Stone and Menda City. The rest of his work lies impatiently in half-truths, semi-colons, semi-consciousness and slightly out of reach.

SJ Vriend, originally from Prince Edward Island, now draws, paints and writes in Montreal, where she completed her BFA from Concordia University in 2010. Currently, SJ continues to study part time while preparing to apply towards graduate studies in studio art in 2013.


poetry

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Sunday Night Shift the city has strange passions. My store services them all. The customers come in thundering, drunk, but I keep quiet, a little kid as they ask me for meth-pipes, knives that retract & spring out at a touch, inquire about finding green, crack Brooklyn jokes I just don't catch. The racks of porn mags titter. The talk, languid, cycling, is about their lives, the things that anger them, bosses, whichever gods control the numbers of the lottery. I offer to help two young women prepare a gift for an absent friend, busy myself with a float of balloons, am good with bows & knots. They pay & slip out into

Alex Manley


The Closed System

david woodward

the readings(&pain) i did yes!-t-or(day! pre-pared-me-for to(-!day i-dreamt-i-was -in a garden it worked for-me though i toil at non-work-related things my hands are calloused ,but my heart is(only)beginning ,&my head is a(wishing)well ,the coins you toss at me fall weeping-into oblivion ,thirst-is-(our)salvation our knees are meanT to-be crushed ,when-we-fall-hard -we fall goo-d ,i-read-you,all-the-time cause i like your storY ,i’ll turn your weathered pages &grow older(cause-of-you! ,we’ll feed the fish firsT ;then we’ll take that health(ier swim ,good-bye will-be the forking -of the river


List of Russian [B]allet [D]ancers A found poem by Megan Alford. Phrases extracted from various Wikipedia pages. Line breaks and punctuation were the only form of alteration imposed on the text

Baronova, Irina. Baby Ballerina of the the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. Mother-in-law of Steve Martin. Publishes autobiography, Irina: Ballet, Life and Love, which she wrote in longhand, despite having lost most of her sight. Chislova, Catherine. Danceuse with the Imperial Ballet. Unrivalled partner to Felix Kschessinsky in the Polish [M]azurka. Mistress to the Grand Duke Nicholas Nikolaevich. Installed in a fashionable house. When [she] wanted her paramour to visit, she would light two candles and set them on her windowsill. Danilova, Alexandra. Leaves Russia with Balanchine. Picked up by Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes. Makes Broadway musical comedy debut in 1958. Oh, Captain! Many say it was the finest dance number ever performed in a post-war musical.


Istomina, Avdotia,. Orphaned early. Served the Imperial Ballet for twenty years. Died of cholera in 1848. No one could remember her as a famous ballerina. The inscription on her tomb, “[R]etired [A]ctress." Kschessinska, Mathilde. Attained rank of prima ballerina assoluta. [Petipa] refers to her in his diaries as “[…] that nasty little swine.” Known to sew valuable jewels into her costumes. Coaches Pavlova in the role of Nikya [while pregnant in 1902]. Lepeshinskaya, Olga. Member of the [F]ront Brigade of the Bolshoi Theater. Performed near the front lines [and] in hospitals. Marries Soviet General, Aleksei Antonov, in 1956. In 1962, her husband dies. Becomes temporarily blind. Glazunov declares her to be his godmother in art. Petipa-Surovschikova, Mariia. Illegitimate daughter of a milliner. Marries Petipa. Becomes an actress, performing in the plays of Pushkin. Dies of virulent smallpox in Pyatigorsk.


Plisetskaya, Maya. Father executed during Stalinist purges. Mother arrested and sent to a labor camp. On her 80th birthday, the Financial Times summed up current opinion, “She was, and still is, […] ballet’s monster sacre, the final statement, a flaring, flaming beacon […]” Rubinstein, Ida. Orphaned at age eleven. Performed Le Martyre de Saint Sebastien. Archibishop of Paris prohibits all Catholics from attending. St. Sebastian is being played by a woman and a Jew. Helps wounded Free French soldiers until 1944. Walter Guinness, her long-term occasional boyfriend, remains supportive, until he is assassinated by the Stern Gang in late 1944. Spessivtseva, Olga. Periods of depression [between] 1934 [and] 1937. Nervous breakdown in 1943. Institutionalized until 1963. With the help of friends, Anton, Felia, and Dale Fern, she is discharged and settled in Valley Cottage, Tolstoy Farm, in New York’s Rockland County.


Hydra

megan alford

Cyclamen and poppies, flushed-ness, and the partridge boasting tucked legs and braised breasts. Gold juices running over, the pine forest. Headboard, mushrooms spooning. Had there ever been bohemians? There had been famine, and dustcarts.


Chalet

kathryn macarthur

She leans into their rhythms, she is thankful for their soft returns, their consistencies. They know how to keep promises. Early morning, hallelujah hellhole. The tide is gentle with every visit. Luke-warm, it slices off into tiles before leaving with thick, curling cries. Sediments suck at a corpse, pass over with the waves. She greets sand at the mouth of the lake, half in the water, half out singing cottage cues. At noon the cottage loses shape in the distance, turns from lit to glistening. Crackling and crowding with costs inside, Hair passes bloated faces pushing a bitter sun, speaking. Lowers its notes to tend the ruins of a reverberating chorus. She sits with the day. Sits to eat. Asks for seconds. Wrestles a feeling of being full before a trip to town. Goes along for the ride, watches a fatherly figure cross the yellow line. Figure runs reds, she watches.


The evening seizes sight, is luscious, damp. The evening is thick black juice, falling forth into lakes that breathe into houses, staying hidden. By lakefronts at night she dare not touch, even with toes, or her imagination will stir. Early morning, hallelujah hellhole. basking bashfully, retreating. The woods tell her how deep she has crept. It is nature now. It emerges from a slanted paradise, She gives herself to thought, the lake watches. Bearded lips take the wheel with twisted bellies, bringing home a tangled melody. Slithering chivalrous south of ahead dark ditches gleam Help is on its way is yelled. Home creeps close and soon there will be candle-lit co-op screams dropping out of dirt-rimmed mouths. Shallow woods spit and spin, slithering chivalrous slick surrenders. There is a luke-warm tide many reds behind. She knows it’s soft hands Hallelujah hellhole. She knows it’s sand. She knows it is gentle with every visit.


Dinner Alone

(a prayer for houseplants)

Home Get there and then go find a heavy cutlery set dense forks and knives, a singing bowl. Ballast in the sinking sand. Ballast in the perfect woman, and in the perfect hour. Lilies on the table, corollas wetted. Two pennies in the vase. After dinner a mud mask. Hex clay, Hex sea, Hex teeth. The magic all happens in bed. I can tell you now that I learned How to pray like a witch: Do everything you normally do before you kneel to Venus's flytraps, the Daughter of Dione, a gastrovascular cavity (mouths and assholes). It should be a clean and meaningless hymn.

sarah brunning


So if anyone ever calls you an angel don't hesitate, say goodbye. Say that you need to go.


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illustration

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opposite: untitled, sj vriend


coax, hint hint, amanda craig


cheer up, amanda craig


untitled, amanda craig


prose

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So We Left the North to Repent francesca bianco

This is the God honest truth. We left. Dad wore his cowboy hat and tuxedo jacket and my sister and I our pajamas. He thought he could change us. As if driving through the long winter hours was in itself transformative. Snow mouthing its tongue white along the window shield. Car barreling over the highway rounding past Thompson Lake, McLeese Lake, the small cabins, the gas station and score of semi-trucks where we stopped for beef jerky and gum. Once we left, Dad told us to call him “Father.” Like he had been ordained on departure. That people say terrible things and think they are true. The only priest I knew was at school, St. Joseph’s. We called it Sloppy Joes; it was a joke. We sang “Shine, Jesus, Shine” and “Lamb of God” and at Valentine’s Day the priest gave me roses as if he knew I wouldn’t get any otherwise. Wish he hadn’t because holding the red bursting colour was like being passed a prison sentence. Being in this car and Father saying, “that lake over there is five hundred feet deep and you would never know it” and us forcing our small heads to nod in agreement. Even still, this car was the place we felt most at home, if home was to be without thought or distraction. The silence like a gavel weighing down a new journey. Travel suggesting that life was not going to be like it was and you had better get used to it. In the morning driving I saw a man riding a horse by the river. We were now in a landscape of transition: tundra, caribou, nearly barren. Cows bore milk into plastic buckets. The sun blinked wildly, a staccato off the beat. Clouds came over the desert and then thunder. But we were inside so it did not matter. A lake formed in my eye. A dark mouth. I did not know then what was making me tired but it was, as always, within me all along. Something growing coarse, a disobedience. Moving farther away from home. Home being a thing inside this car with my sister and Father. In the afternoon, driving down inside blackened tunnels and back out into white light before the town of Hope. One of the tunnels called “Alexandra,” the name of my mother. “She’s still dead I guess” Father said. “Son of a bitch.” In the back we stayed quiet. This being what you do when someone talks about love. Father’s eyes turned on us. “Do you understand that I am trying to teach you a lesson?” We looked out the window, both of us. Watched for mountain goats. At first white rocks freckling the hillside but then white muscles slow-moving right to left. Up down. That’s how we knew the goats were real.


We were southern now. Mountains in the mind arced the days. Silence like a net lowering over the car and the body. Close to the ocean. No path to the beach that did not require snowshoes but we did not leave the car. When Father was a young man, his brother drowned in that water. Lord watching from above. One evening, sister small and crying. Fingers knotted in prayer. No telling if we would ever stop driving. Then something happened I can’t explain. Hard sounds of sleet falling in the night. Clouds cleared I felt my heart dilate. My body rose up past the rafters of the car to those northern parts. Back to the island on the lake. A place to pray for. The summer near. Raspberry bushes and if you were lucky a moose cow and her calf wading on the far shore. Floating antlers like a bone keeping the balance. Thinking as I watched, this is Jesus walking upon the surface. To bear witness to it. Drunk with light, a swell of breath. Waking in need of river water. This is the God honest truth. Father was a doctor before we left. From time to time one of his patients would bring in smoked trout, a token of appreciation for keeping her family healthy. She almost always smiled. Her thighs were round like fry bread. I would mistake her for my mother.


Misery Loves Company

jessica rose marcotte

Sometimes, Misery loves Company so much that she toys with the idea of not sterilizing the thermometer, or coughing on Company’s soup spoon. She imagines the germs germinating. After waking every two hours on the hour to cough and sneeze and spit, she considers where to wipe it so that he will pass by it. Or Misery knows what they will do with they’re sick together – reading the obituaries and weeping, watching her stories on television and weeping, or having sex in her favourite position: lying still, and weeping. But Misery has no such opportunity to get Company to herself. He does not live with her anymore and it doesn’t matter if the thermometer is sterilized or not. She is the only one that uses it. Company has traded Misery in for Happiness. Happiness, the slut, probably likes to ride on top. Probably likes to take charge and Misery bets that she doesn’t make him wear a condom. Happiness had gotten through life on her charming disposition, good looks, intelligence and work ethic. Talk about privileged – as if she ever would have made it without daddy to open doors for her. Misery knows that if she were to try the same thing it would have never flown. Misery imagines that they spend hours together, probably laughing at her, playing basketball and watching the Cosby show. She calls up Hysteria to commiserate. Hysteria is Misery’s oldest friend. They had experimented in college together, went on their first road trip together, and plan to have matching walkers when they grew old. But, their friendship never grows old. They are two peas in a pod. Two falafels on a lunch tray. Two similar stalagmites in a Mexican cave. Yup, you could say they had a lot in common. They meet at Tim Horton’s and eat forty Timbits in one half hour. They complain that they will grow fat. Then they start to talk shit about Happiness: how she smiles too much, how she always leaves too big of a tip, and how she was a geek in high school. Hysteria starts plotting. “Why don’t you send him a text message to meet us here with Happiness? You know, so that we can all hang out.”

“Why would I want to do that? I hate that man stealer.”

“Just do it. Let me take care of the rest,” Hysteria says and starts to giggle.

Misery is a tad unsettled.

Company is guileless. He and Happiness stroll on over. Happiness is just so glad that Misery and Hysteria want to be friends. She thinks that it’s nice of them to include her. As a group, they buy another pack of forty Timbits. They eat them all. Happiness is not concerned for her hips at all. Misery wonders what Hysteria is planning.


When they are leaving Tim Horton’s, Hysteria runs Happiness over with a scooter. Hysteria is then taken away screaming by the police. Misery and Company accompany Happiness in the ambulance. When at the hospital, they notify Happiness’ family. Once Happiness’ sister arrives the doctors will not allow them to stay because they are not immediate family. Misery lays her hand on Company’s shoulder. “You must be miserable. Why don’t you come home with me?” So he does. They eat only comfort foods and Company can’t forget Happiness. They get a call at 10 PM that night. Hysteria’s lawyer got her off on an insanity plea; her psychological assessment and the trial are in three weeks. Happiness’s twin sister Joy also calls to say that Happiness is in stable condition and has woken up, but that Company is dangerous to be around because of his friends and exes. Eventually, Misery and Company start to feel cooped up. They go out about town: they attend funerals, eat too much Ben & Jerry’s, visit the sites of car crashes, and listen for the sound of crying children in conch shells. Company seems restless. They sit together one night in bed. Company rests his head on Misery’s pillows. “Why has this happened to me? What did I do to deserve this?” She says “You know, somebody made all this possible. Somebody brought us together. And that somebody has a plan –”

“I’m sick of other people’s plans for me,” Company says, rises from the bed and leaves.

Misery weeps.


Between Twenty-six and Forty-nine jeremy hanson-finger

We played a rousing game of spot-the-native as we passed through the town, as we often did on school trips. You had to shout "chug" every time you saw one. The game had much in common with Punch buggy, but Port Coquitlam had a lot more natives than Volkswagen Beetles. Tyler Courtnall won with a total of thirty-seven points. Sandra Bartz came second with thirty. Now the bus pulled up outside what looked like vacant property between an elementary school and a golf course. Mr. Hannah, our grade eight social studies teacher, had told us that this afternoon's activity would take place at a farm. We spilled out of the bus and struggled into the black ponchos Mr. Hannah held out for us, which the school had provided in case of inclement weather. Rainclouds butted up against the mountains and poured out all their moisture, which spattered off the bus's windscreen and pooled on the road and rolled off our PVC in sheets. The ponchos clung to us like crude oil to seabirds. Underneath the ponchos we wore number one uniform, which was what we had to wear whenever we represented the school in public. The school handbook defined number one uniform as kilts hemmed no more than two inches above the knee for girls, and for both boys and girls, a navy blazer and a colours tie--if we had received one for outstanding performance in academics or athletics or just being a good person--or the classic striped tie if we were not outstanding performers or good people. A tall chain-link fence surrounded the farm, and just beyond it several large, conical piles of dirt rose from the ground like boils. A man in a rain jacket with the hood up leaned against a navy-blue sedan with a bull bar on the front bumper. Mr. Hannah said that we were the school group and the man opened the gate. As he closed the gate behind us, he spoke briefly with Mr. Hannah, but we couldn't hear what they said to each other. In the morning we had visited an old trading fort about an hour away as a tie-in to the history component of social studies eight. There we learned about how many things could be made out of beavers and birch bark, and how people with a “can-do” attitude lived in the eighteenth-century, which was shittily. Here we were going to fulfill the contemporary component, we imagined, by learning how many things could be made out of pigs and observing how people with a “let’s not go to university” attitude lived in the twenty-first century, which, we were pretty sure, was also shittily. We could’ve just gone back to the school after dark and followed the janitors around, some of us felt, but here we were, on a farm, in the rain, getting mud all over our oxfords and saddle shoes. A dirt road stretched out in front of us in a straight line. This farm didn't look like other farms we'd passed by on this trip, the ones on either side of the highway on the way to the ferry terminal, which mainly consisted of grass with a few cows or horses. The mud was so deep here that it almost submerged what little grass there was. Pigs did like mud, we remembered, which perhaps accounted for it. They didn't eat grass, so a pig farm had no need for verdant fields. Pigs ate garbage and sometimes parts of other pigs.


Craters pockmarked the ground on either side of the dirt road, and more piles of dirt blistered next to them. Along the road squatted a collection of buildings. With the exception of the bungalow closest to the gate, these were either converted trailers that would never again trail anything, or sheets of corrugated metal folded and riveted together into boxes. Mr. Hannah held a printout of a map, which he had thoughtfully slipped into a freezer bag in preparation for God’s meteorological wrath upon the city of Port Coquitlam. "This is the farmhouse," he said, pointing to the bungalow, a standard-issue clapboard job, offwhite with a peaked roof, just like every other run-down house in the lower mainland.

"Though the owner's home is the trailer further up the road," Mr. Hannah continued.

We wondered if we were going to see inside the farmhouse, but Mr. Hannah marched us past it, the only sounds the erratic squelching of twenty-three grade-eight students withdrawing shoes from the mud only to submerge them again, over and over, until we reached the barn. Rust streaked the unpainted exterior walls, running from the roof’s corners like trails of shit. Above the barn door, someone had scrawled "Piggy Palace" with paintbrush strokes violent as scratches from a knife. We craned our necks to see if there were any pigs inside. There weren’t. Like the rest of the property, the mud floor of the barn was covered with holes, but smaller holes, perhaps dug up by pigs flailing around in fear as they waited their turn to go up the road. Though we could look at the interior through the door, Mr. Hannah didn't bring us into the barn either. We continued up the road approximately 300 squelches. Nobody had any jokes because there was nothing to see but mud--a tour of Flanders Fields after the bodies were gone, but before the grass grew back. "This is the motorhome," Mr. Hannah said. "Imagine I'm showing you these things: a foam mattress, a blue sweater, a Hudson's Bay blanket." Relying on our imaginations seemed to defeat the purpose of a field trip, but we went along with it, and each of us pictured the interior of the motorhome in our own way. This visit to a modern farm seemed more of an archaeological expedition than the trip to Fort Langley, which had been lively with historical re-enactors chopping wood, melting iron, and selling each other furs and pemmican. In front of the garage, Mr. Hannah told us to picture two buckets, a freezer, and a duffle bag. We stopped next in front of the trailer where the farmer lived, up on blocks next to the slaughterhouse. We wondered why someone would choose to eat and sleep there, his clean clothes, food, and bedding permeated by the smell of animal death.


Alyssa De Martini wondered this out loud to Mr. Hannah, but Mr. Hannah didn’t respond. The farm didn't smell unpleasant now. It just smelled like wet earth in the rain. It couldn't have been a working pig farm. There were no pigs. No noise and no smell and no workers, just the man at the gate with his big blue car. "In the laundry room, a pillow slip. In the bedroom, a sheer black top, a brown leather coat, a lipstick tube. A black nylon jacket and the items in one pocket: an address book, a bottle, nail clippers.." The last stop was the slaughterhouse, which perked up the more technologically-minded of us, namely Michael Fairbanks and Leonard Marr, who had been hoping to investigate the machinery, purely from a systems-engineering standpoint, but the doors to this building were locked as well. "Inside: A green garbage pail. A bucket near the pigpen. Earrings, a silver ring, a watch. Outside: A pile of trash. A condom package. Four used condoms tied in a knot."

"So," Mr. Hannah said. "How many natives?"


Q16Z.2R designed by candice maddy

Soliloquies 16.2  

The second half of Soliloquies 16! Print version to be available this Fall.

Soliloquies 16.2  

The second half of Soliloquies 16! Print version to be available this Fall.

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