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{Editors’ Notes} What a year it has been! It seems like yesterday we were at the Sidewalk Sale, or recruiting our Editorial Board and now we are here, at the end of another amazing year. We want to start by thanking our amazing Editorial Board, without you guys we would never have been able to accomplish as much as we have this year. We also want to thank all of those who have supported us this year and in the previous years, either by buying our baked goods, donating, submitting or voting for us in the referendum. This year has been full of ups and downs for the magazine, especially as we once again lost the referendum vote. What this means for the magazine is yet unclear, but change is definitely to come, either within our administration or in the attitude towards the Arts at Queen’s in general. In the midst of so many groups on campus and in the city, it’s hard to remain autonomous without everyone’s support, and it’s important to remember its often the little guys that suffer the most. It’s time to change the attitude towards the arts, and maybe we need to change a little bit too. Here’s to many more great years, and to our amazing contributors! Love, Paige Wilson and Wendy Reid, Co-Editors 2


{Editorial Board 2012-2013} Molly Kubes Cassandra Tatone Nicole Chin Deborah Hong Sarah Jung Rya Marelli Henry Barron Madeeha Hashmi Shelby Newton Erin Sugar Mishi Hassan Lauren Vodopivec

3


{Table of Contents} Monika Rosen

5

Chantal D’Souza

6

Dead Man Day

Sarah Robert

9

Cleaning House

Jordan Ingola

13

Louise Hill

16

Eisotrophobia I/II

Monika Rosen

17

1670 Centimeters per Second

Deborah Chu

18

Ambrosia Coastal Claustrophobia Kapsel Heaven’s High

Chloe Grande

23

Hannah Ellsworth

24

Amye Nickel

26

Jordan Ingola

27

By the Water II

Monika Rosen

29

Whirlpool

Monika Rosen

29

Sophie Kaufmanis

30

Monika Rosen

37

Leila Clarke

Sophie Kaufmanis

38

Hipster Bliss

Louise Hill

39

Amye Nickel

40

Terra Nova Eulogy

Meeting J.D.

Memoir of a Young Soldier Transient

The Cystoscopy

4


{Terra Nova} Monika Rosen

5


{Eulogy}

Chantal D’Souza

At 3am, the alarm on the IV goes off. You adjust it yourself, you don’t want to be a burden. You think the nurses are judging you they look surprised when you talk about dreams and family. Fact: 1 Tylenol taken every four hours without exceeding 6 per day will aid the most basic of aches, breaks, and things that hurt. Fact: 52 Tylenols in 2 minutes, consumed in hasty, desperate gulps is one of the most painful forms of suicide. Despite your most proactive cowardice, it will not be painless. Fact: Tylenol is not an effective cure for emotional pain. There are no carefully printed instructions describing the dosage required to stop remembering what was said. It will be easier to open this lid now than your eyelids later. They make them child-proof instead of grief-proof because you should have been old enough to know better. They should have known you better. You do everything you say you will. Fact: There will never be enough details in your suicide note to help your mother understand why you did it. 8 months later you will wake to find her crouched before your bedside, knees close pressed to boards she walked to rock you to sleep 18 years ago. holding the splinters of your family beneath her for fear they will get lodged in other people, she is kneeling in that well-familiar gesture, the way she taught you once, when you prayed words like, “If I should die before I wake”, 6


before you tried to make that happen. Though you are sure she is now deep in prayer, she is not listening for God’s response. She is listening to make sure you’re still breathing. About once a week, you wake up in a cold sweat. Heart racing like you’ve swallowed too many pills. You keep dreaming of funerals. You wander graveyards full of grandchildren you would have prevented. Their tombstones look like Tylenol, shoved into the earth. You were a little girl who spent so much time reading that you’ve never stopped living your life like a book. You are the prince and the dragon. You are slaughtering yourself for no one’s benefit. You are your own villain. You were a little girl who never stopped flipping to the last page to know that it finished happily. Is this where you learned that ending is a solution? You have long conversations with your sister about everything else. When the television talks about death, you do not look at each other. But sometimes you catch her staring at you out of the corner of her eye, as though you will disappear if she looks at you directly. When you were 4, you came to her with every invisible wound you imagined She would wrap it with invisible band-aids Your wounds are still invisible, but her band-aids will not cover them. When you were ten, you would sit with your father at the kitchen table, legs swinging because they had nothing to run from. You made a game out of who could swallow the biggest vitamin without any water. You do not do this anymore. You swallow your vitamins quietly, choking on apologies that stick in your throat.

7


Fact: The only thing worse than dying is living with the knowledge that you tried to. You have spent months looking happy for other people’s sake. A happy face is a carefully made bed, there are so many monsters underneath, You are your own monster, waiting to grab your ankles when you try to escape. Your shadow has sharp edges. Creeping black from the back of your footsteps, Seeping down from the depths of your pores. You don’t think this darkness is yours, You don’t know how you could ever have done it.

8


{Dead Man Day}

Sarah Robert

I help Dad pack up all of the pans. I wrap Fry-pan in the papers and I try my hardest but Fry -pan is heavy and sometimes Dad has to fix it, but he understands that Fry-pan is heavy. We have to wrap the pans because if we don’t wrap them then they make lots of noises when we’re trying to be hush. Sometimes we don’t wrap the pans; those are the Running Fast days. “I’m finished,” I say. Fry-pan is sitting in my lap. “Thank you, Tanner,” Dad says and he picks up Fry-pan and puts him into the rucksack. Dad is tall, the tallest person I have ever seen. He has brown hair, like me, and green eyes. I don’t have green eyes, I have brown eyes. I’m five – one hand old. “Fry-pan has a stain,” I say. “Yes.” He is folding up clothes now. I don’t get why you fold-up clothes; you just have to unfold them so that you can put them on. I have three shirts and two pairs of pants and five pairs of underpants. I used to have four shirts but then we had to throw the blue one out because I fell on a Running Fast day and got blood on it so we had to bin it. Dad said he didn’t like looking at my shirt with blood on it. “What from?” “I’m not sure, Tanner,” he says. “Good question.” Dad usually says ‘good question’ when I ask a question that he can’t answer, but that seems silly because aren’t good questions the ones that have answers? The sun isn’t up yet. We pitched the tent beside a car park but it has no cars in it so it’s just a park – that’s what Dad said and then he laughed, so it was a joke, but I didn’t really get it. Our tent is dark blue. I like our tent. The only bad thing about the tent is if it rains and you leave your rucksack in the corner, it gets wet. My rucksack is all packed. It’s got two picture books in it and one book with no pictures and an activities book that I’m all finished and a carton of crayons and a box of bandages and twelve clothes pins. The rucksack is red which is my favourite. “Help me zip this up,” says Dad. I go and pull the sides of the rucksack close together so that he can zip up the rucksack. My hands get all shaky from pulling. Dad zips up the rucksack and it’s tight-full. “Take down tent?” I ask. “Yes, let’s take down the tent,” he says, nodding. I pull the pegs out of the ground so that we can take down the fly. Then Dad does the poles but I help a little. I put the pegs and the poles into a bag. He folds up the fly and the tent and he squashes them into the bag, and then I help zip again. The sun is starting to come up and the sky is purple-red. “Let’s head out,” he says. “Roger,” I say. We don’t stay the same place for more than three sun-rises. That’s okay, because I like different places. Dad says he wishes we could stay in the same place for a long 9


time, but that sounds boring to me. We walk and walk and walk and walk. My feet don’t get sore so much. Dad says we’re going to find me new shoes soon because mine have holes. We don’t know where to get shoes from though. We go by a power line that is chopped. It isn’t shooting out any sparks like some of the first ones we saw but Dad tells me to stay far away from it anyway, just in case. Then we go by some buildings that have windows that are broken but that isn’t special either. I start to get bored and Dad says I’m getting cranky – which I’m not, just bored – and we play the eye-spy game. “I spy something blue,” Dad says. “Is it the billboard?” I ask. “No,” he says. “Is it… that post box?” “Yes, good.” “My turn,” I say. “Yup,” Dad says. “Have you picked something out?” “Yes,” I say. “I spy with my little eye something that is… green.” “Is it that tree?” “Hey! Did you cheat?” “Oops, maybe. Sorry. Pick another thing.” “Okay, no cheating this time,” I say. I look around for something to pick. We are walking by the road and some buildings that used to sell things. There are a few cars that are all smashed. None of them have tires like they do in the picture books. I see something that is brown. “What’s that?” I ask, pointing. As we walk closer I can tell that it is hair. There is a man with brown hair lying on the ground. Dad stops. He puts an arm out in front of me. “Stay right here, please,” he says. “Got it? Repeat what I just said so I know you heard.” “Stay right here,” I repeat. “Okay, you got it,” Dad says. Dad walks over to the man. He crouches down and his lips are moving but I can’t hear. He puts out a hand and touches the man. I can’t really see because there is a squashed car in the way which is frustrating but Dad said to not-move. He comes back over. “Is that man dead too?” I ask. Dad looks at me. He looks shaky like my hands when I have to do help zip. “Yes, Tanner,” he answers, “that man is dead.” “Like the last one,” I say. “…Yes.” “Why is he dead?” 10


Dad looks over at the man’s body. “I think the Chasers caught him.” “You said the last man was dead because he got too hungry and died. Remember?” “Tanner.” “What?” Dad shakes his head. His hands are tight-squeezed. “What?” “Don’t bring up dead people.” “Is that why you don’t talk about Mom?” “Tanner!” Dad snaps. He looks me right in the eyes. “What did I just say?” “Don’t talk about dead people.” “Do you get it?” “I got it.” I didn’t want to talk about Mom anyway. It makes Dad act droopy. We pitch the tent near a river. There are rushes and ducks in the river. There is a little forest near the river and we pitch the tent in the forest for ‘cover.’ There are lots of birds chirruping in the forest and Dad says there’s probably some deer around but we didn’t see any. I wanted to see some deer; I like deer. Dad starts a fire to make us dinner. He puts two slices of bread into Fry-Pan until they get toasty and then spreads tomato paste from a can onto the bread. “Dad, we had pizza last night,” I say. “Yes,” he says. He bites into his pizza. “I wanted pasta.” “We don’t have pasta right now.” “Can we get some pasta?” “I’m not sure, Tanner. We can try to find some.” “Let’s try to find some soon.” This makes Dad make kind of an angry face, but he doesn’t say anything. I feel bad. Pizza is okay. I eat it all and it’s warm. Dad says he used to be a cook, which means he used to make food for other people in a ‘restaurant.’ He’s good at making food; I just wish we had pasta. We wash the dishes in the river after dinner and then I go into the tent because I am beattired. Dad sits outside the tent like he usually does and I make a pillow out of the shirts I’m not wearing right now. I look at his back through the tent flap for a minute but then I’m so tired I fall straight to sleep while I’m looking at him, sitting in front of the fire. The day after the Dead Man Day is a Running Fast Day. “Up, up,” says Dad, shaking me on the shoulder. I jump up quick like a rabbit and grab my rucksack. I didn’t take anything out of the rucksack last night so it’s all packed. “Take down tent,” Dad says. He’s still putting away pans from last night. He puts my shirts in his rucksack. I start to pull out the pegs by myself. One of them is stuck-down. Dad comes over and he pulls it out for me. I tug the fly down by the string and put it in tent-bag. Dad 11


takes down all the poles lickety-split and I put them in the bag for him and he folds up the tent. I help zip the tent-bag and then Dad’s rucksack. “Run fast,” he whispers. Dad’s legs are longer than mine, but he’s carrying more things, so we run about the same fast. We are running through the forest so there are a lot of tree roots so I have to be careful so that I don’t twist my ankle, which I did once and he had to carry me. I can hear the Chasers behind us. They’re not trying to be hush; they’re stomping around. Chasers are clumsy. They don’t care if they fall or run into things because they don’t get scratches or twist their ankles. They don’t get hurt because they’re different from us. “Don’t look back,” Dad pants. “I know,” I say. One time I did look back. The Chasers are big, bigger than Dad, bigger than me and him put together, and they have four legs and big mouths. Their legs are tall like the trees and they were so up-high that I could only see their mouths, not their tops. Dad says the Chasers can’t see but they can hear. Chasers are really slow, but their legs are longer than ours. He says the Chasers weren’t always here – when I was two fingers old there were no Chasers but then when I was three fingers, there were Chasers around. I don’t ever remember there not being Chasers, but I trust Dad when he says there weren’t any. One of the Chasers must’ve knocked over a tree because I hear it crash down. My feet still hurt from yesterday but I’m a fast runner anyway. Dad is proud of how fast I am. He turns left and I follow him and we run out of the forest. My arms are scratched from bushes and branches but they’re not bleeding so it’s all right. Dad opens up a door and runs into one of the old stores and he grabs me and pulls me in too and then shuts the door. “Hide and hush,” he whispers. “I know,” I say. We sit with our backs against the door. Dad is doing heavy-breaths. There’s a bunch of glass on the floor, which is made out of wood. There are some shelves but they’re all empty because people ‘looted’ the stores, which means stealing from them because they have to, so it’s an okay type of stealing. We sit and wait until the Chasers go away. Their footsteps are loud then they go quiet. “Are you okay?” asks Dad. “I scratched my arms a little,” I say, “but it’s okay.” Dad grabs my hand and looks at my arms. I have a bunch of new scratches on them, and some scars, which are scratches that don’t ever go away. One of the scars runs up my arm and under my t-shirt sleeve. Dad grabs the bottom of my shirt and yanks it up to inspect my tummy. I have some scars there too but not so many. He runs a finger along my rib-bone and he starts to cry. He reaches down and pulls off my shoes, clutching my feet in his hands. I don’t know what happened. He runs a finger along the blisters on my right foot. He puts my shoes back on. He grabs me and tight-hugs me; he is still crying. Running Fast days are my least favourite, even though I like running. 12


{Cleaning House}

Jordan Ingola

The beds were made, the windows washed, the cupboards organized, the floors cleaned, the toys picked up, the dishes done and the bathrooms scrubbed. Benita sat at the kitchen table, alone, admiring the flawless house that surrounded her. Her work was done for the day. She looked at the impressive collection of wine bottles, the ones that she had just finished dusting, displayed in the kitchen’s wall-sized wine rack. As she admired, she was tempted to pop one open and indulge. However, Benita knew that Mrs. Howard would not approve, so she decided against it. Instead, she just sat there, in the kitchen, her worn elbow resting on the table, her arm propping up her head, and her chin resting in the palm of her wrinkled hand. As the afternoon rays pierced through the window, a few white strands became highlighted on the very top of her head, suggesting that her short, permed hair needed another dye job-- something that Mrs. Howard would no doubt be glad to pay for. Although she had only been working for this family for two months, Benita had caught on that Mrs. Howard was lenient with her money-- not like her previous employers. Benita liked this and took advantage of it whenever she could, asking for double pay on nights when Mrs. Howard came home late (which was often), and charging extra when Max, Mrs. Howard’s five year old son, was acting “hyper”. As she began to doze off at the table, the phone began to chime, jolting her upright. Benita often laughed at Mrs. Howard’s “fancy phone”, claiming that it sounded more like a doorbell and that it was “too fancy for her taste”. Being careful not to slip on the freshly mopped floors, she awkwardly waddled over to the phone, taking small abrupt steps and stretching her arms out at her sides to keep balance, much like wings on an airplane. “I so sorry, Mrs. Howard is no home,” she said in a thick accent. “Just her housekeeper.” She jotted down the man’s name and phone number on a nearby post-it note. When he continued to talk, Benita pretended that she only spoke Spanish and no English at all before abruptly hanging up. She then stuck the post-it note on the fridge and waddled back over to the table. Mrs. Howard got many calls from mysterious men, and the odd woman, but Benita never took interest. “Carajo! Now my socks are wet.” she mumbled. Benita sometimes talked to herself while on the job, frequently getting into deep conversations with the broom, and occasionally the vacuum. She preferred the broom, as she didn’t have to talk as loud. During her several decades as a housekeeper, she would often be entertained by “Oprah” in the afternoon, but the show’s recent cancellation forced her to give up the habit, frequently leaving her with nothing to do. She later asked Mrs. Howard for a raise, as this change in programming created a “stressful work environment”. As she sat at the table, admiring the wine, Benita could hear Max rustling around in his room. She ignored it, hoping he would fall back into his nap. 13


“Berniva!” yelled Max from his bedroom. “I don’t feel well!” Benita didn’t move. Her many years as a housekeeper had caused her to lose her eagerness, giving her no motivation to move from her place. She had no desire to dazzle this new family, as she was sure she would be on to the next one in no time. She simply sat and listened, still hoping that the boy would fall asleep again. “Burrita!” Benita sat silently, ignoring the itches on her left eyebrow, right ankle and upper lip. Within minutes, the rustling stopped, and Benita rejoined her thoughts, pondering whether or not to open up a bottle of wine. No one would find out. They have so many. Mrs. Howard is never home anyway. She leaves for work early and doesn’t come home until dark. Would Mrs. Howard even have time to drink? Unfortunately, the internal persuasion was brought to a halt by Max’s calls. “I don’t feel well.” he yelled, trudging down the hallway on his way to the kitchen. “That’s why you home from school,” hollered Benita, giving in to the boy. “Go back to bed, Papi.” Max didn’t listen, entering the kitchen anyway. As he emerged from the corner in his one-piece pajama suit, Benita quickly noticed the green in his face. He took a step forward before bending over and spewing orange vomit all over the floor and himself-- a chunky mixture of orange juice and waffles. Upon lifting his head, he continued to walk toward his housekeeper, puke following him as he advanced. “My floors,” Benita yelled, jumping up. “You messing up my floors!” Running toward Max and forgetting that she had just mopped, Benita slipped, falling backwards onto the floor, her head hitting the hardwood with a ‘thud’. A ‘smash’ soon followed as her legs, now almost upright in the air, knocked over two of Mrs. Howard’s Romanée Conti bottles, imported from France. Red wine filled the floor, mixing in with Max’s orange vomit footprints, creating islands of orange waffle chunks. Benita finally brought her legs down to the ground, but chose to stay on the floor. As she caught her breath, Max jumped over puddles of wine, pretending that it was hot magma. “Oh...” she said in a stern voice. “So now you not feel sick.” Benita turned over onto her stomach, away from the mess, then placed her feet and both her palms flat on the ground, sticking her ass into the air. She then grabbed the chair and pulled the rest of her body up. Her neck stiff and unmoving, she examined the scene, Max having already run off into another room to play a game of “don’t touch the floor”, jumping from the couch to the recliner to the beanbag chair. As Benita scanned the floor’s surface, she noticed a dark green colour that stood out among the red and orange. She squinted slightly before her eyes opened wide. Sitting in the mess of wine and vomit was, to her surprise, a hefty bag of weed, sticking out of the bottom half of a broken bottle. As she picked up the bag, shaking off the wine, she examined it, turning it over several times. Other than the wine from the floor, it was dry-- and so was the inside of the bottle 14


from which it had emerged. Benita glided into the other room and grabbed a pair of kneehigh rubber boots, then returned to the kitchen, trudging through the wine on her way to the wine rack. She picked up a bottle, held it up to the light from the window. The bottle was tinted green; she could not see anything. She looked around to see that Max was, in fact, in another room, then gently loosened her grip and spread her fingers. The bottle fell to the floor, Benita flinching even before she heard the ‘thud’. She gave off a sigh of frustration when she realized that it did not break. She picked the bottle up again, and this time threw it to the ground with force. This time it made a ‘smash’, not a ‘thud’. Wine splattered everywhere, splashing up onto Benita. Disappointed, she reached for another bottle, this time holding it firmly by the neck and smashing it on the table. The room exploded with wine. She grabbed another bottle, throwing it onto the ground with force. When she opened her eyes from flinching, there, on the ground, was another bag of weed. Benita smiled. “I didn’t do it,” said Max, poking his head into the kitchen. “Mommy’s not gonna be happy.” “Go outside,” said Benita, grabbing another bottle of wine. “Fresh air help you sickness.” Max grabbed his boots and ran outside to play. Benita could see him through the window as he smashed pop cans, probably pretending to be Benita. Within the next hour, she went on to smash fourteen bottles of wine. Among them, eight contained weed, two contained large amounts of cash, and four were simply regular wine-filled bottles. Eventually, Benita caught on that the ones that were sealed with a rubber cap on the bottom weren’t actually filled with wine, but she continued to smash them anyway, as if she didn’t know. When Max came in from outside, he had a collection of smashed pop cans that he placed in the middle of the kitchen floor, contributing to the mess. Mrs. Howard arrived home several hours later, the house dark. She took off her shoes, placed her bag on the ground and walked into the kitchen. When she turned on the light, there sat Benita, sixteen bags of weed on the table, and a massive puddle of wine of the floor, the orange waffle chunks now floating on the wine’s surface. On the table, beside the mound of weed, sat a poorly rolled joint, half smoked, smoldering in an ashtray. Max, meanwhile, was asleep on the recliner in the living room, covered in red stains, the bottoms of his feet still damp from vomit. Benita picked up her joint, got up, took a drag and walked over to Mrs. Howard, her rubber boots splashing wine upward as she walked. Benita patted her employer on the back and began to exit the kitchen. As she did, she turned around, raised one eyebrow and said, “I get raise now, yes?”. On her way out, she turned off the light so that Mrs. Howard could not see her strut off confidently, dancing casually as she walked. As she shut the front door and walked to her car, she couldn’t help but giggle, taking a thick wad of cash out of her pocket. Tomorrow, Benita would take the day off and go shopping. But first, she would take care of her munchies. 15


{Meeting J.D.} In my dream he is warm He is glad I have come He offers me an armchair and a cup of tea He is young, slick and suited like his photograph but aged too since he has written Catcher and many others free to live and be read

Louise Hill and I feel absolved Already it is night, the lights a hazy glow As I stand to leave he embraces me, holds my head to his chest I feel prickly tweed against my cheek and a comfort I didn’t think possible

He sports an easy smile that has not known persecution He tells me of his travels, his children and his wife, his accolades and literary friends He’s won a different fate, a full life He asks me how I am and what I’ve read We talk about Melville and Chaucer and I can’t believe I’m sitting there and that he’s letting me So I ask him about Holden and about growing up I ask if he’s still mad at the world and he smiles and says No 16


{Eisotrophobia I} Monika Rosen

{Eisotrophobia II} Monika Rosen

17


{1670 Centimeters per Second}

Deborah Chu

When they meet for the first time, he has a plastic helmet tied to his head with a loop of fishing wire. She’s carrying a book about lions. The year is 1976: there is a reunified Vietnam, a Ramones’ debut, a new fixture in the city that juts out into the skyline. Two days ago, the Viking Orbiter landed on Mars. They are ten years old. “I’m going to go too,” he declares, that first day, “just as soon as I’ve got all my shots.” A pale, weedy thing with eyes too big for his face; he sidles over to her end of the table because Mama is late picking him up, and he’s already finished his paperback on Neptune. He would not recommend it, it’s left out like, half the moons – and – Suddenly, he stops and looks nervous, like she might laugh. Sarika knows she wouldn’t be the first, nor would it be the worst thing he’s ever had done to him. His parents are on the PTA and he has seven gold stars on the classroom chart: one for naming all the oceans and another for finding and returning every last cent of Rudy Owen’s lunch money. His air of being wellfed and well-loved doesn’t sit well with most kids at their school; some have been dragged to the sandlot in the back field for less, and him definitely more often than others. But for every time Boyd Jones towers over him with his big, fleshy fists, Daniel does not tattle, does not strike back. Afterwards, prone in the pit, the sky a banner over him, he likes to imagine his eyes melting back into his skull, and the blue bleaching his small body down to the bones. Good as new. She doesn’t laugh. Instead, Sarika splits her licorice in two, and hands him half. “For the trip,” she says. He stares at her and chews with his mouth open. The helmet is for the radio waves, which are “kinda like ‘lectricity, because you don’t see it but you know it’s there in your toaster.” That’s how ground control was able to see the surface of Mars, with a really, really powerful radio. Daniel wants to become that radio. They read her book together and they talk about sand and zebras and Australia for an hour. He draws a wobbly map of the solar system on the back of her hand, marks where they are with an emphatic x. “We’re always moving, did you know? Around and around and around. My dad once told me how fast, like, exactly, but I’ve forgot.” Sarika stares down at his feet, which kick as fast as he thinks and talks, thudding against the wooden legs of his chair. “You’re always moving,” she says, “So I guess the earth can too.” ---

18


Because her Baap is on a constant quest for self-improvement, he subscribes to all these magazines: medical journals, Maclean’s, bodybuilding tracts selling impossibly lucent skin and the spiritual possibility underneath it, book reviews from all the anthologized critics – and The Globe and Mail on the weekdays, to round off current events. It is the holistic approach to temporal perfection, mind-body-spirit, and no corner of the trinity is neglected. His dream is to write self-help articles, targeted specifically to new immigrants. “We must support our own,” he says firmly, but there’s shrewdness there as well: after all, more are pouring in all the time, from all over, bringing with them new tongues and clothes and methods of cooking rice. His audience is proliferating, like the stacks of magazines in their handkerchief living room. Baap can’t keep up with it all, so he has taken to reading during dinner too. At any given night, Sarika and Indra could be staring across the table at a glucose molecule, Titian’s Man with a Glove, a blond yogi smiling pensively in trikoṇāsana. Amma chews at the television instead, or stares at the shredded roti on her plate with a shuttered expression. In the kitchen, she plants the cardamoms of her terrible, terrible isolation in spicy biryanis, pounds the dough for halwa puri with especial vengeance but swallows back the acrid surge of her own bruised, pulpy heart. Throughout the day it builds and builds, pressing against her throat and the backs of her eyes: the weight of one thousand daily humiliations, one hundred small deprivations. But once she’s pulverized her silent fury into something she can spoon feed back to her family, the only place it can go – once the dishes are cleared away, she can slump over in her chair, mercifully empty, for once. A woman whose life never made her angry. Sarika watches her mother closely, and can only speculate; maybe she’s thinking about the sisters she left behind in India, especially so close to Eid. Maybe she’s thinking about the cake she’s going to bake for Indra’s birthday, and how much she hates us all. Months later, Baap packs up his magazines and his typewriter and moves out of the house. He resurfaces in the home of a woman named Monica, who has two girls of her own and whose food is not forever leaving a bitter taste on his tongue, recalling the image of the father and the failures he’d buried in the clay. When they first moved into the area, Monica had filled her mother’s arms with hand-me-down woolen sweaters and hats. Best be prepared, she had said back then, her smiles as generous as her hands. This is a brutal country you have come to. The snows arrive without hardly any warning at all. Naturally, the only proper response is to sneak out of fifth period and chase down a tram car to the city, just so Sarika can throw herself onto the stone steps outside the ROM and cry over her shoes in peace. Daniel sits on his hands beside her, and waits. When she moves on into the part of the program when the head gets tucked between the knees, gasping, he rubs her 19


back in calming circles – just the way his mom does when he feels poorly. He doesn’t sing though, like his mother does, because he doesn’t want to get punched in the ribs. She probably wouldn’t, out of gratitude, because he’s the only one who hasn’t tried telling her everything is going to be fine. --When they are older they fight loudly, and often. They fight about how to properly halve a kiwi, how to spell verisimilitude. They fight about his mother, who finds it hard to cope with the fact that Sarika is poor and not-white. They fight over his dizzy spells, his lack of appetite, her flossing habits. They fight in traffic, in tandem, over the phone. He calls her a fraud and she calls him a snob. He calls her self-centered and she calls him something much, much worse. He tells her he loves her and she will look like she’s about to cry, and not in the good way. “I don’t think it’s just me, either,” he says earnestly, entreatingly. “I definitely don’t think it’s just me.” It’s not, but by then she is older, and will feel impelled by this desperate need to make him understand – He interjects, defensively, that this has nothing to do with his god (because he believes in all of it, the same way he believed in toasters and radio waves, the same triangulation as her father, father son holy ghost, he believed it even when he wasn’t – ill). But Sarika knows differently. If you prostrate to any man or deity or prophet and if you really believe in it, if you really think it will do you good, then of course you would be more willing to risk it all. Of course you’d more easily let yourself love another person. He is comfortable with metaphors, she is not. That is what it comes down to, really. “This is not a metaphor,” he replies, quite angry now. “I am a person. I am a person who lives in real life who feels real things. I wish you would stop trying to make it seem so goddamn little.” They do not talk for several weeks, during which Daniel tries to figure out how to sit those papered examination tables and not stick to it when he has to hop off, tries not to feel like a slab of diseased meat, tries to stay positive, tries not to imagine Boyd Jones’ superior fists rusty with his blood, Boyd Jones as a virus he cannot pluck out of his blood, his eyes melting back into his skull and his body curdling along with it like a used candlewick. The body, the body, the body – sometimes it is too much for us, sometimes it fails us even when the mind and the spirit feels as quick as ever. (It’s had to be, after all those years spent with her, running and parrying and eating out of each other’s lunches.) The day the results come back, he slams the door in her face. She throws it open anyway, follows after his retreat through the kitchenette, the living room, his bedroom. When he finally turns to face her, he is halfwild like a cornered animal: all that propensity for kindness, for wonder of the most tender sort, consumed by a terrible desire to be standing in the ruins of something, if only to know he can still do it, if only to know he is alive by contrast. And here she is, looking like she’s just dying for a fight, and him equally dying (in more ways than one) to give it. He screams: Fuck, Sarika – you can be so fucking selfish, you can’t, you’re not allowed to just, waltz back in whenever you feel like it, like the entire goddamn universe owes it to you, because no one in the entire his-

20


tory of the world ever has ever had parents go through god-awful divorces, no, no one is ever as messed up as you are, and it’s sick, the way you get off on it. Which is why you’re here, isn’t it? She stares at him for a long moment, before – he can actually see, playing out over her face, sees her choose anger as her last, best defense. Watches it falls over her like a veil. He lets himself feel struck, for a moment, by how well he knows her, and at his own irritation because it’s still his turn, goddamnit, if this doesn’t get him the spotlight for two seconds, what will. He braces himself for the inevitable reprisal, as she sucks in a breath: “Tell me what you need,” she says finally, in a tight, fierce voice. “Just – tell me.” That was not what he expected at all. He’s so caught off guard that a strange laugh begins gurgling deep into his throat, but instead emerges a noise so terrible, so fucking embarrassing in its sloppy desperation that neither can stand it. She wraps her arms around him and holds him tightly, as if it’ll be enough to keep both of them right where they are in space, in time.

--The year is 1989: Mulroney is Prime Minister, the Voyager 2 sweeps past Neptune and Titan, the drowned lawns of Tiananmen Square, Rain Man wins Best Picture. There is yet another new fixture in the city, rounding out the downtown area. They are standing in front of the television screen – Sarika with soap suds up to her elbows, Daniel collapsed onto the ottoman – mesmerized, watching sledgehammers slam into the cement, the Ossis and the Wessis hugging and crying and drinking champagne. For the first time, there is dancing on the Berlin Wall. “Just think.” Later, they are lying on their backs, the CBC Evening News relegated to comfortable white noise. He’s staring at the ceiling with a deep contentedness only inducible by good Chinese takeaway and a belief in the triumph of human goodness. “It was more than just physical, it was mental too; they were supposed to believe what was happening a block down from where they lived and slept had nothing to do with them, that they were essentially different from their neighbours. But now they’re all just Germans again. They’re a real nation again.” She stacks her hands on his chest and props her chin on top, all the better to observe him from under her lashes. “Nations have always been artificial. Whether it’s by a wall or politics or whatever you like. They’re just easier to handle administratively. Or rather,” she yawns, “to exploit for minerals and cheap bananas.” She imagines Mountbatten, swinging a rapier and slicing up the Indian subcontinent like a frosted cake. “You,” he murmurs, trailing his fingers up and down her spine, half-asleep himself, “are just a paroxysm of joy.” She smiles without it reaching her eyes: when really, her mind is on tomorrow, when he flies 21


south – like a migrating bird, she thinks, in a weird fit of fancy. He’s rubbing off on her, that’s for sure. But south is the country that put a man on the moon; they’ll be able to make him better. A boy who wanted to grow up to be a magnet breathes slowly beside her. There are so many partitions on this earth, so many gods and philosophies and brands of soap that demand your allegiance, and only one of him. She wonders how it looks from up above. She imagines the planet as a marble, smooth and continuous, cool to the touch; all those plates that fit so perfectly and silently under the ocean. As though nothing keeps us apart, not really. Only ourselves, and one other thing. He closes his eyes, imagines his light-headedness to be only the spinning of the earth, round and around. She presses her hand against his heart, beating like a moth’s wing under her palm. She wonders when they’ll ever feel this small against anything again.

22


{Ambrosia}

Chloe Grande

Buttery as an English crumpet, the waiter’s words are siren songs that coax my lustful senses with sweet, sweet whispers May I suggest, he sings our plat du jour, seared scallops ravished by whisky cream sauce, soft hills of butternut squash purée Or, he adds, eyes glistening, the rabbit leg confit, a succulent dish of silken meat, fresh herbs — a true gustatory delight. And so, seduced by the cry of flesh I riffle through the luscious menu and place my order. Hurry, please, I beg. My mouth is greedy and rabid I dream of citrus-infused glazes guzzling over hunks of pork, peppery steak drooling in a puddle of red-wine jus. Each passing dish coos out to me, baiting me with whiffs of smoke and seductive crackles that promise the most sinful of flavours. Your dinner, monsieur, he announces And with a twirl of his hand presents me with a bountiful plate of shrivelled salad green

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{Coastal Claustrophobia} This is not your Kodak picture. Waves choppy and indifferent, the Atlantic Ocean flicks its stare upon you, and turns its back again, disinterested. You are small beside it; feeble. An insignificant imitation for daytime musings, pretending to be Hero. Stomach’s pit screeches to a halt, vanquished. You are back there in a crowded room, claustrophobic for all the silence jammed into cracks and crevices of our history. Trembling toes venture close and her depths lap forward to meet you, icy first kisses lingering. Defying dawn’s deafening fog, salt-breath temptation is too overpowering. Threatening to consume. We are naked, though only you are visible. And awareness of this draws you back from reverie to shamed bemusement. The openness of coast and salt and wind meets evasion; it’s only natural.

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Hannah Ellsworth


{Coastal Claustrophobia} Hannah Ellsworth

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{Kapsel} “learn your place in time,” fine frick collection fine book spine fine archivist indulgent library dream fine but vain, pläne as daytime frets (frick frets) oh they fret one today

Amye Nickel spiel streiche werde reicher and cap capture the cap cap kapsel under stalin’s grass steel grow, grow piecemeal oh how the reams feel like opa’s parchment hands

a long long rhetoricum hallway chum emporium träumt in stase, and frets quarries all the dying regretting worried parchment plans like opa’s hands and pencil skirt work shirks hold please trophy paper freshes frets and white reaming stasi threats brigadier brigadier dreams dear dark gleaming adherical dreams (träume) are trauma to the träum weiters träum leichter for god’s sake and please call back, back again

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{Heaven’s High}

Jordan Ingola

His teeth were brushed; his face was shaved and smooth. He sat with his “Life’s a beach” mug in front of him, filled with his required daily dosage of liquid caffeine. As he sipped his coffee, he simply pondered life in general, mapping out small parts of his day (like whether or not he would go to Starbucks for lunch). His house was small, yet charming, displaying a fine collection of crucifixes, plastered over every doorway. His bookshelf contained six Bibles, while his nightstand held two more. On the wall above his couch, hung his certificate of ministry ordination-- framed. Once he could see the bottom of his mug, he got up, pushed in his chair, rinsed his mug, dried it, placed it back in the cupboard, walked over to the cookie jar, opened the lid, pulled out his pre-assembled joint, reached into his pocket, pulled out a lighter, and began to smoke. Once he was done, he dipped the tip of the joint in the leftover water from the sink. It sizzled as it was smothered. He then inserted what was left of the joint into an empty RedBull can from the previous afternoon. Before leaving, he placed his clean, white stole around his neck, and sprayed a bit of Febreeze around the room. It wasn’t until much later in the afternoon that he returned, just as high as when he had left-- perhaps he had even indulged himself in the garage before coming in. His eyes, red, appeared to be having trouble focusing as he looked at the blinking light on his answering machine. He walked over, put down what was left of his Starbucks coffee, and pressed the button: “Hey Greg, just calling to say thanks again for coming this morning. They just left for the airport a few minutes ago. Anyway, they’ll be back next Saturday if you want to check in and see how the honeymoon went and everything. Also, I’ll let you know about my niece’s baptism-- I’d love to have you there. Talk to ya later.” As the message ended, he walked over to the couch, smiling at a job well done. Just before he sat down, the machine gave two abrupt, immediate beeps, signaling that the next message was about to play: “Hi Mr. Sanders, just calling to remind you of your appointment with Dr. Leighton tomorrow morning-- BEEP!”. Greg had gotten up and pressed the stop button. He had no interest in hearing the message, for he was well aware of his appointment. His hand came up and scratched his bald head. He was not looking forward to another round, but knew that he had rescheduled too many times already. He walked back over to the couch and turned on the television, still in his formal attire. He then popped three Advil: Extra Strength, washing them down with a can of RedBull. As he sat there, he thought about reaching for a Bible, but was too entranced by the colours coming from the television. He stayed there most of the night, barely moving more than to scratch his scalp, or grab the remote. It wasn’t until about eleven o’clock in the evening that he finally got up to relieve himself. While in the washroom, he also puked several times, probably from the nerves. He quickly washed the regurgitated RedBull from the sink and rinsed his 27


mouth. As he walked back into the living room, he grabbed a Bible from his bookshelf. He sat back down, kissed the front of the book, felt the front of it, then placed it on the table beside the couch, as though changing his mind. Instead of reading, he returned to the television, his pupils steady and unmoving and much smaller than they had been earlier. He stayed there until morning, fighting back the sleep, but occasionally dozing off during commercials. Finally, when the sun was up, the temptation proved too much, forcing Greg to grab his Bible once again. This time he opened it. As he did, the smell of marijuana entered his nostrils. He looked down at the hollowed-out pages and withdrew one of the thicker joints. He removed his stole and placed it on the floor in front of him. He would not make today’s appointment either.

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{By the Water II}

Monika Rosen

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{Whirlpool}


{Memoir of a Young Soldier}

Sophie Kaufmanis

I’ve known you for my childhood I know we’ll meet again Your words are on these pages and I wish they’d never end You teach me life is fleeting You show me to be kind The precious gift of love you give will stay until I die The birds that sang in Plavinas Are in the sky today And they will always sing as long as in my heart you stay * The loss of his family is a subject we never touch. I know it happened. The details are laid down on paper by him some 22 years ago. In a book titled “Reminiscences,” my grandfather recalls his life growing up in the small town of Plavinas, Latvia. It was at the age of 12 that I first began perusing the yellowed pages of his memoir, pausing on each picture of these ancient and long-gone friends and acquaintances from his youth. I often wonder about his relationship with each of them, and why he chose to include them in his book the way he did. I am sure that none of these people featured are alive today, with the exception of the writer himself. This is partially because Grandpa was the youngest of his family and most of his friends. But mainly, it is because the men and women in this book had the misfortune of living in Latvia at the time of the Second World War, and in the later sections of the memoir, the majority of their deaths are mentioned in passing. They are revealed like this not because the deaths were not traumatic to Grandpa, but rather because there were so many of them, I would imagine, for such a small book. There are several, however, to which the author apportions more space. Grandpa has these ancient people in their everyday activities frozen in time. Annushka, a mother of two young boys, is sweeping her porch and laughing. Isaacs, a young Jewish boy, is shown proudly holding up a pigskin football from his family’s trip to America, the year before his murder. The children and adults of 1930’s Plavinas are alive in his memoir in both photographs and through his writing. I know that for some, this is likely the only record of them that exists today, their entire families having been wiped out in the war. 30


* Grandpa on the deaths of two school friends, June 1941 On the first day of the new school year Mr. Jakobsons, the teacher responsible for my home class, entered the room. The students arose and waited for the teacher to take his place at the front of the room. Then we sat down. There followed a prolonged silence. The teacher’s gaze travelled from student to student. His gaze was directed at some length to a section of our class which was composed, almost entirely, of boys. This year’s enrollment was down from that of the previous year. Notably missing from the classroom were Hirsh and my good friend Stanislaus. On the night of June 14 (eight days before the German invasion of the USSR), the Soviets arrested several families in our town. Stanislaus was taken, with his foster parents, Mr. and Mrs. Lacitis, that night. The disappearance of Hirsh took place under different circumstances. While Stanislaus was deported to Siberia, Hirsh was the victim of the brutal reprisals that occurred when the Russian occupying force fled. His death was for no reason other than that he belonged to a Jewish family. The killing of Hirsh was a blatant example of anti-Semitism. The deportation of Stanislaus was a consequence of acts of terror directed against the former leaders of the country’s main ethnic group, the Latvians. For me these disappearances, for whatever cause, viewed with historical perspective, were a depressing example of civilized society’s descent into barbarism. * Grandpa attended one of the Remembrance Day assemblies at my elementary school, many years ago. He wore a poppy on his lapel, just like the rest of the parents and grandparents who sat on the chairs placed at the back of the gymnasium. He came that day because my younger sister, Katie, was singing in the choir, and she would not let any of our family members miss her performance. Grandpa was smiling and chatting with the tall man that was my father. The schoolchildren all sat cross-legged on the gymnasium floor, making paper airplanes out of their event program pamphlets, girls braiding each other’s hair, waiting for the man standing up front with the bagpipes to announce the 31


start of the assembly. The choir children, my sister among them, sat in the right corner at the front of the room, facing us all. They were seated on chairs, much to my envy, the girls wearing pretty black dresses, and the boys wearing pants and black dress shirts. Soon enough, the bagpipes began, signaling to the audience to quiet down. A number of the other children had grandfathers who were veterans of the Second World War. Several of them walked in now, to the sound of the bagpipes. There were nine of them in all, and they walked in through a set of doors at the front of the gymnasium, making their way down the aisle in the middle of the crowd of children, toward the back of the room. Some were more serious than others. When they had reached the back they rejoined their friends and family to sit and watch the rest of the assembly. One of the elderly men, a friend of ours named Art, shook hands with my grandfather and sat down in the empty chair to his left. I don’t think Grandpa would have liked the idea of walking down the aisle like that himself, mainly because he liked as little attention drawn to him as possible. Needless to say, for obvious reasons, he was never asked. The assembly proceeded in its usual fashion. Poems were read, there was video footage shown, and Katie sang proudly in the choir. During the moment of silence I thought about the Latvian, Russian, Jewish and German dead from Grandpa’s book. I thought about the Canadian soldiers that fell motionless in the video clip that played soundlessly on the screen in front of us. I thought about people’s friends and family who died for no reason at all, but especially I thought about Grandpa. At two o’clock, Principal Stevenson stood to give a final few words. “We remember today,” he declared, “the Canadian soldiers whose lives were lost in the tragedy of the First and Second World Wars. The men who died for our country, and those soldiers who are still here today to enjoy the freedom they gave us. Lest we never forget their bravery, and the price that they paid.” This was all true and good, I thought, but if only Principal Stevenson would add one more sentence to his conclusion. One more sentence to say that we were remembering the innocent parties on both sides of the war. One more sentence so that the German Army Unit Number tattooed beneath Grandpa’s arm and the poppy on his chest could serve in unison as symbols of what he has gone through and why I admire him. Grandpa jokes sometimes about the government not allowing him a veteran license plate, but hearing someone else excluding him from the group of soldiers for which we were mourning that day made me uncomfortable. I wished I could tell Principal Stevenson and the rest of the room that many of the soldiers in the First and Second World Wars did not know what 32


they were fighting for. Grandpa had suffered as much as any Canadian soldier had, he was here today with his poppy, and he was such a kind man. But I was only twelve at this time and did not trust myself to know anything for certain. Instead I just looked back at Grandpa and gave him a reassuring smile. * Grandpa on helping out some Russian P.O.Ws., Danzig, Germany, February 1944 Then, as I was about to turn a corner, there, coming toward me were two men in Red Army uniform. I was astonished. For a moment I did not know what to think. I saw these two in their moss-brown trench-coats, prisoners of war on some work assignment, moving about every bit as free as I was. As we passed, I glanced at their faces, which were gaunt testaments to their prolonged existence on the edge of starvation. Instinctively my hand reached inside my pocket and my fingers grasped a thick slice of rye bread I had pilfered from the kitchen. With a nod I alerted the pair to be observant. (I acted with caution, for I knew that certain appearances had to be maintained, and it would be better not to attract unwanted attention.) I took the bread from my pocket, and a few steps further on I casually placed it on the ledge of a building. Then, looking straight ahead, I went on the find the photo studio. Some time later, after my visit to the photo studio and the movie theatre, my path once more crossed that of the two P.O.Ws. The words “Sphasibo, tovarich� (thanks, comrade) caught my ear as the Russians passed. * I read somewhere that war hardens people, but I do not think it has hardened my grandfather. I think it broke him in various ways, but mostly I think it has made him softer. His eyes are soft when he looks at people and his hands are soft when he touches things. He taught me to be forgiving, and that the most important thing a person can have is a sense of humour. When I have the opportunity, I enjoy accompanying Grandpa on his morning strolls to the beach. We will walk slowly down the drive together, Grandpa pausing here and there to draw my attention to an unusual plant or a new house being built. We will make our way to the water, where we will silently begin perusing the ocean shores for treasures. 33


I will look for sea glass to add to my expanding collection, and Grandpa, an avid wood carver, will poke around for an appropriate piece of driftwood for his next masterpiece. The reason Grandpa is so at peace with the world is because he knows it is fleeting. He feels as though he is living on borrowed time. When Grandma asks his opinion on taking a trip to mainland Vancouver in a week’s time, Grandpa will shake his head and say, “I cannot think that far ahead,” winking at me. Or he’ll say his “expiry date” is coming closer and he best not make any promises. Grandma rolls her eyes, smiling, and I laugh because my grandfather has been saying this for the past fifteen years. But when death does come for Grandpa I can be happy knowing that he will welcome it with open arms; he is ready to rejoin his long-lost family and friends. Grandpa sees beauty all around him, and is kind to everyone and everything. But underneath his funny remarks and joie-de-vivre is an unmistakable sadness; the shadow of the war is embedded deep within his soul. *

Grandpa on the loss of a fellow soldier, Port of Danzig, 1945: At the harbour I was standing beside another soldier. We could hear the drone of an airplane engine. I looked up. The plane was coming in on its designated target, the port. Sensing danger, I urged my companion to come with me to the nearby underground shelter. He felt this was unnecessary and I chose to remain with him. I judged that no matter what, we two must not be separated. While the plane droned above us, we sat down. I felt better, at least we were closer to the ground. Suddenly the familiar whine of a falling bomb impelled me to grab my partner and pull him to the ground just as an explosion ripped apart a nearby warehouse. Lying on my back, with my right arm hooked around the other man’s head, I saw directly above me a small, dark object in the sky—the now-sinister form of that plane. My partner, frightened no doubt by the first explosion, asked me to remove my arm and let him lower his head. While we were shifting positions he momentarily raised his head. At that instant an explosion shook the ground on which we lay. I felt certain I was headed for oblivion. Recovering from the shock, I looked up. My arm was still in a raised position. Little red beads appeared on the skin of my hand, and a trickle of blood made its way down my arm. There was no sound, no sign of movement from the soldier lying beside me, his head against my shoulder. 34


The sound of the ship’s engines starting up roused me from my reflection; the reliving of the most dramatic experience of my life. That scene at Danzig will be with me for the rest of my days. Years after it happened, the memory underscores my deep hurt at that tragic experience; the loss of my brother, Talrits. * And there it is. The reason my grandfather’s light blue eyes can never quite focus on anything he sees, but always seem to be looking into the distant past. This is why his smile does not quite match up with that of the little blond boy I see in the photograph at the end of his memoir, whose laugh seems so free and so present. Looking at Grandpa in the old pictures of this book brings me both sadness and joy. On the final page of the book, is the only image of Talrits Kaufmanis that exists today. He is seated, as a ten-year-old boy, beside his slightly younger brother Rusins, my grandfather. They are seated with their feet dangling over the low bank of the Daugava River. He possesses the same little upturned nose that I share with him and Grandpa, and he is smiling so much that his eyes are but little crescent moons. The picture is taken from the side, and both boys have their torsos turned toward the camera, their toes dipping into the shallow water. Rusins is closest to the camera, and is leaning back slightly, hands on the grass behind him so that Talrits is able to be seen in the photograph. Talrits’ hands are clasped together in his lap, and his toes are flexed backwards away from the water, as if is a bit too cold for his liking. This is the only image of the boy whose violent and pointless death broke my dear grandfather’s heart, and in doing so has affected my own perceptions of the world. The little boy is so far away from us, but also so close. Sometimes I wonder if one day I will exist as but a single photo in a memoir. The only evidence of my relationship with Grandpa being the way our bodies are positioned, or the creases at the edges of our eyes. I picture a young boy or girl many years from now wondering what we were like as people, and I think of a photograph of us being taken as I lean my head on his shoulder. His clean linen sweater smells like flowers and a tissue pokes out from his chest pocket. I know my grandfather does not have that much time before his legacy is restricted to stills of him smiling toothlessly beside his beloved granddaughter, standing proudly beside Grandma on their wedding day, or as a little boy sitting with his feet in the Daugava River beside his big brother Talrits. But I think the dead are always with us in some way or another, sometimes maybe even more than the living.

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Historical Note: Plavinas is situated on the scenic Daugava River in the center of the small country of Latvia. The literal translation of ‘Plavinas’ is ‘Little Fields’. It was a minute town in the 1930s, which was inhabited by people of a variety of different ethnicities and religious persuasions. There were mostly Latvians, but also some Russians, Germans, and Jews. There were Lutherans, Catholics, and Protestants. Plavinas had two roads back then, one by the river and the other by the church. It had one school, which all of the children attended together, and one town doctor-- my great-grandfather, Leopolds Kaufmanis. Latvia was an independent nation, and enjoyed freedom of expression from its inception in 1918, until it was taken over by Communist Russia in 1939. The Red Army Soldiers did not tolerate dissent from the public toward their communist ideals, and they deported those who showed any type of influence or threat to their regime, sending them and their families to labour camps in Siberia. There, many of the deported died painful deaths. In 1941, the German army launched its attack on the USSR. It gained control of Latvia, and for a period of time these Germans were seen as the country’s “liberators.” Most of the men in Plavinas joined the Latvian units of the German Army at that time. Wanting to do something good for his country, and overcome by a sense of adventure, the then 16year-old Rusins Kaufmanis, my grandfather, was among them. With his unit he fought in the trenches in Courland, the westernmost part of Latvia, against the Red Army who was attempting to take over the country again. He served mostly as a runner, transporting messages to other units of the army. He was injured there and transported to a hospital in Danzig, Germany. After making a slow recovery, he was sent to dig trenches in Stetten and then Neubrandenburg. In 1945, Rusins’ army unit prearranged to meet with an American unit and surrender. Following this, he spent one year in a Prisoner of War camp in Brussels, where he lived on the brink of starvation. In 1947, at the age of 22, Rusins immigrated to Canada. The excerpts featured in italics throughout this story are from his book, Reminiscences, which he wrote at the age of 66 from his home in Ottawa. He is now 87 and lives in Victoria, B.C. with his wife, Gundega. His book was never formally published, and the existing copies are owned by several of my grandfather’s family members and friends.

36


{Transient} Monika Rosen

37


{Leila Clarke}

Sophie Kaufmanis

To work, Leila wore her hair in a black velvet plait It fell softly by her spine, tresses interlaced Like ribbons, glinting with each delicate turn Or change of pace, in the sun it burned Hot to touch, but moving free With the open window’s sunlit breeze That’s when I knew The restaurant was only a background Blurred and indistinct, to highlight and surround Her gentle gait, paces made with such fluidity And sway, hips like ocean waves, deliberately Sliding fabric over soft bronze skin You can’t imagine my horror on making the connection It was Leila Clarke I’d work alongside, Her eyes dark as black coffee, and as wide As the cups into which she poured it, Those eyes laughed, even deplored me, Bottomless, they probed straight to my soul A gaze impossible to hold Those eyes, those eyes, Those beautiful eyes gave me nightmares Leila’s hands flew light as air Tracing here and caressing there She touched whatever she would pass “Doesn’t that feel amazing?” she would ask Pressing cold hands on my cheeks one slow summer’s day Objects melted as she felt their way And I did the same

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{Hipster Bliss} We’re having a picnic today ‘cause no one thinks to have them you know, not anymore And it’s one of those shiny days when you taste the sun and the earth and something metallic like playground monkey bars The good old days I’m packing a real wicker basket punching star-shaped sandwiches out of bread—gluten-free, of course Soy milk and iced green tea, tofu hot dogs with vegan mustard and that wheat-grass-quinoa salad— Jimmy’s favourite Jimmy’s bringing his record player, he’s got Contra on vinyl But I’ve got my iPod, says Des It just wouldn’t be the same There’s something about the needle scratch melody lines in concentric circles So, we assemble: skinny jeans, fishtail braids Tarnished silver spears our ears and brows and lips I read Jimmy’s forearm: Living is easy with eyes closed Sal’s been reading Kafka, again She’s riffing on crime and government I prefer Pushkin but I don’t like to name-drop Cam pulls out his Polaroid Smile! – No wait, don’t!

Louise Hill I arrange myself into a pout Great! I’ll turn it black and white for ya Jimmy’s looking like a Greek myth Dionysius seems right or Icarus, before the blaze He takes out a cigarette, sticks it in his smile He smokes too much Live fast, he tells me But I don’t want to live this day fast The wind making the music new Shuffling body to the quick beat Looking people in the eyes Jimmy runs to the corner store He gets us those rocket popsicles, the kind you haven’t had in years We talk about the 90’s— Grunge music and old cartoons Feels good If we don’t say it out loud we start to think we made it up Laughing and singing, now Cam puts his camera away I look down at my bouncing feet— got a drop of blue rocket on my white Chucks! Oh well, can never keep them perfect So I dig them into the dirt a little two hoof-shaped holes Something for the rain to fill

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{The Cystoscopy}

Amye Nickel

it is an impressive part of your brain that goes allow it, allow it when two strangers poke at your genitals so much so that it turns to worrying about what do these people think of my pubic haircut? the one couldn’t find the doorway to my urethra oh god for the love of fucking christ god though I knew she was trying stop fiddling with my labia please oh please I could have made a polite request but is a landing strip appropriate in any building where people die? razor burn? missed a spot? stop so the other nurse helped and together they managed to insert what the fuck is happening why the anaesthetic tube device but during the removal I found out that’s what the absorbent gown is for and I’m stewing in urine-anaesthetic cocktail when yes! the doctor arrives scorning my former doctor and his progressive bullshit (that promises to have me diagnosed) shut up shut up put it in me and with practiced menace this guy strikes the second tube into the inflamed walls of my FUCK ing bladder “you’re a little red,” he told me I cried on the bus back home I screamed when I peed the antibiotics didn’t work they want to do a biopsy I’m growing out my hair 40


Thanks again for another great year and your continued support! Ultraviolet Editorial Board 2012-2013

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Ultraviolet Magazine Volume 17