Month: December 2017

The Blood You Aren't Born With

The Blood You Aren’t Born With

1. I remember the hymns of these words like a late-night infomercial; people telling me to move on. People telling me to get over the fact that I don’t know my dad. It sounded the same each time, coming from different lips. Therapists and lovers. If you have a dysfunctional family, there are other options out there for you. You can gather family in new people. Someone you just met on the street, a man which you, by tender accident, brushed against at a train station. Someone you’ve been sleeping with to fill the void of what feels like a swollen water ballooned chest of loneliness. You can gather new family in a co-worker, asking her how her weekend was like an inflamed mother would. Or a teacher, imagining him as your father, teaching you what to do and what not to do. Letting your heart liquefy when he tells you you’re doing an exquisite job. There are other options if you aren’t close with your relatives. If you’ve never met your father. If you …

Dead People I have Known

Dead People I have Known

Ean Hay—December 23, 1925 – May 26, 1977 They appeared quite suddenly in our midst. On my island, where everyone knew everyone else, these newcomers stood out like papayas in a basket of apples. Each one of them: Ean and Mary, and the kids Lauren, Toby and Colin, wore one of Mary’s handspun hand knitted and hand dyed sweaters, each one with a row or two of diamonds across the front. They were Mary’s signature, those diamonds. She had marked her family with roads of diamonds, as if she might lose them without a map. When I came to know Ean better, so much better, I spent many hours gazing at the diamonds on his sweaters, when I was too embarrassed by his attention or too shy to look into his sharp blue intelligent eyes that seemed to read me so thoroughly. The pungent scent of the wool was always strongest after we had walked together, usually up to my house from the hall, through the west coast winter drizzle. Ean was a music man …



Caterpillars come in mid-September. Green-brown backs sectioned off with black rings around their torsos. White fuzz jutting out in erratic tufts, like madmen. They cover our porch, writhing about on the wooden planks, piling onto the welcome mat, inching towards the front door. Impatient guests. Careless, we squish them between our toes like grapes. First, we feel the prickle of the hairs, then the gumminess of their spineless bodies as we press down, waiting for the hesitation, the pause, the apex of the worm’s life, and then the release, a yellow-green bile oozing out of their ends, which sticks in the space between our toes. Many find refuge on our front door and survive our reckless sortie. Father welcomes them inside. Tradition: Father opens the door and leaves it to gently swing in the autumn gusts until the worms have all made their trek inside. He lures them in with piles of newspapers and cases of our mother’s decaying books, nesting grounds and plant matter for the selfish worms. They spin their webs about the …

La Cumparsita

She wished that he would stop trying to give her things. He was shuffling through his unpacked possessions, producing items as makeshift gifts. She assured him that she did not want his half-used bottle of deodorant, nor did she want his copy of “The Communist Manifesto”. Most of the items were presented as a joke, but others were objects she knew he held dear. He loved the scarf that he had just tossed over her neck. Swirls of silver and moonbeam blue. A pashmina that he wore only with the navy overcoat. The coat that would surely become the staple of his wardrobe up north. She anchored her gaze onto the hardwood floors, focusing on the slants of light striking the hall flooding from his bedroom. It was an excellent way of dodging the tension she felt rise in her chest when she made eye contact with him. Pulling the fabric from her neck, she chucked it at him and the fine threads clung to his right shoulder blade with autumn static. She focused back …

ascending rearward

Ascending Rearward

Although it was our first ascent we chose the route of most resistance Beneath brown cardboard doors you spoke of flowing rearward From far below the surface these things reflected differently and to you our altitude meant little I think you felt the marching feet of wasps and the mounting weight of smaller stones when I poured you out beneath the spruce

Nelson Star piece

Sure you can write, but can you publish? It’s one thing to sit in a classroom, to participate in workshops and learn how to critique your classmates’ work. But it’s quite another to learn how to copy edit, how to format text properly and prepare it for posting online. And that’s the opportunity Selkirk College aims to give students through the newly birthed Black Bear Review, an initiative spearheaded by Almeda Glenn Miller, Renée Jackson-Harper and Leesa Dean. The online magazine aims to release its first issue by December this year. “We’re hoping this will generate some excitement around the Creative Writing program while giving the students some experience with the editorial process,” said Miller. “The editorial board will be student-driven, but overseen by us.” And though they’re starting small, they’ve got big plans. “We’re going to start out being only open to student work, but we hope to expand to being open to other Kootenay writers and eventually we’d like to take this Canada-wide.” Miller envisions the journal ultimately growing into a cultural force …