BY ANNICK MACASKILL
Light slow as honey
in its antique shell, rubber stopper
lazy at the end, snarled curl
of the lip ring silver
round glass—yes glass, but thick,
the kind that keeps you guessing,
stretching feeble for the other side.
The way a frenzied starling
builds her nest in May,
one flimsy clutch of twigs
at a time. The light unclaimed
through my delay, seeping in
as if from nowhere, stilted,
clotted as in the white-shelled
tank I saw
one inverted summer day
in Melbourne, where a squid lay
slumped in a corner
like a pile of unwashed laundry,
her eye a steady accusation
before the rounded window
that glimpsed our own grey-glimmer world.
TRY TO HATCH FISH AND STONES*
know what to do
with your chalky misfortunes.
like mammoths, an old
relationship. Await the birth
of a patience, eternal,
yet to be mastered
in any hemisphere. Know what to do
with disappointment. If lucky,
lucky. In the long quest
for an everyday, don’t forget
to revise your expectations.
Protect the charge
that is your wanting. If queer,
what to do
with heartache. Hitch your wagon
to a laboratory. Keep that hope
within your belly,
under the perfect tuxedo flap
of skin, snug
beneath your lungs.
*“Berlin gay penguins adopt abandoned egg.” BBC News from Elsewhere, 12 August, 2019. Reporting by Martin Morgan.
Annick MacAskill is a queer and feminist poet and translator based in Kjipuktuk (Halifax) on the traditional and unceded territory of the Mi'kmaq. Her debut collection, No Meeting Without Body (Gaspereau Press, 2018), was nominated for the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award and shortlisted for the J.M. Abraham Poetry Award. Her second collection, a book of love poetry, will be published by Gaspereau Press in the spring of 2020.
WHAT TIME LEFT
BY GEOFFREY NILSON
Geoffrey Nilson is a writer, editor, visual artist, and the founder of poetry micropress pagefiftyone. His work has appeared recently in PRISM, CV2, Coast Mountain Culture, and is forthcoming as part of Sweet Water: Poems for the Watersheds from Caitlin Press in winter 2020. He lives with his daughter in New Westminster on the unceded territory of the Qayqayt First Nation.
BY TRYNNE DELANEY
our grocery store is out of tofu
o town that runs on beef & crude oil
understocked soy blocks
a sign of hope
when we’re usually just coughing
our way out of smoke this time of year
the amazon’s burning for profit and everyone’s
so scared of death they forget
some of us will survive The End—
mass extinction doesn’t happen in a day!
yap the dinosaur jaws compressing below us
and if climate change is getting you down
you can send a gif of Jeff Goldblum
through a server system
that will burn as much fuel
as the airline industry
it’s all pretty bleak
but you know, uh,
life, uh, finds a way
Trynne Delaney is a Black/EuroSettler queer living as an uninvited guest on Treaty 7 territory. She's currently completing her MA in Creative Writing at the University of Calgary. You can catch her bundled up like a 7 layer burrito watching the river and waiting for another chinook.
BY D.A. LOCKHART
OTTO E. ECKERT STATION TAUNTS FIRE TO GRANDMOTHER
She rises through
nitrous oxide sunset
greets the Boji Tower,
greets it in persimmon
sky, arrives in the fall
of this late burning sun.
Before her, coiling bolts
of coal cooked air pour forth
into diminishing light,
slip and fade in opaque
whisps. One street over
in a sapling park, several geese
lament the lost Oldsmobile
plant. What song will rise
to greet the final train load
of Powder River Basin earth,
when it arrives to be cooked
up beneath the Eckert Station’s
unfiltered bundle of shareholder
ambition, pleasure, ambivalence.
Landmarks, despite their poison
are missed in the absences before
and behind us, their ends the loss
of measures to our traces left
upon creation. Grandmother rises,
her downward fixed gaze rests
on the steady tumble
of coal-fired smoke
feeding a hundred-thousand air conditioners.
SWALLOWS RUN FRANTIC AT THE WATER'S EDGE
Trace the pathways
of swallows, running
veins atop Waabiishkiigo,
left by minnows,
stalking the same hatch.
Discarded, yellow ash leaves
islands unto themselves
crest and fall on this lake
swollen past temperament
by distant snowfalls,
creation rising to meet creation
Beyond us, northward
our land peters out into
shipping lanes, currents
of sand, algae, driftwood.
Each caress of this lake
refreshes us, slows us
Horizon holds mid-lake
lighthouse, toilet shaped,
blotting out Wheatley beyond.
A lesson that lake freighters,
pleasure boat fishermen,
ignore in due course.
The lake, creation moves
slow. Swallows frantic atop
it, us lazy on this beach,
and the water rises, another
freighter steams past lighthouse
green moves atop high waves.
I come to you as you squeeze
into the cement culvert bisecting
the heart of Springwells treaty land
at fence line you stretch out
to the horizons, beneath lowrise
office buildings, straight as a slash
of a shixikwe bite, still, as moments
after the strike. Know your destination
arrives at an island of fire, constant
grumble of angry earth. Above us
shopping cart rapids slow to glass
top rifle of water, wailing past
weeds, nènèskakw burst skyward
from cracks in constricting shore.
D.A. Lockhart is the author of Devil in the Woods (Brick Books, 2019) and Wenchikaneit Visions (Black Moss, 2019). His work has been widely anthologized and has appeared in Best Canadian Poetry 2019, Grain Magazine, the Malahat Review, CV2, and Triquarterly among others. He holds a MFA in Creative Writing from Indiana University-Bloomington. Lockhart currently resides in the Souwesto region of Ontario where he splits time between Pelee Island and Waawiiyaatanong in Three-Fires Confederacy Territory. He is the publisher at Urban Farmhouse Press.
THE END OF THE WORLD WAS ANTI-CLIMATIC
BY CASSIDY MCFADZEAN
Bees waxed apocalyptic
Change came in drones
Cryptocurrency mining hurled the earth’s temp
over its two degrees stronghold
The permafrost thawed Iced Capps capsized
Ancient seeds sprouted primordial strains of disease
We were plagued by ennui
Gave thanks our daily laundry
to the teens practicing necromancy
We battened the escape hatch
Lowered false flags to half mast
Missed the last lifeboats
Setting sail off lost coasts
Cassidy McFadzean's new book is Drolleries (M&S 2019).
ARTWORK BY JESSICA JOY HIEMSTRA
POEMS BY KATHRYN MOCKLER
Part of a series of cathartic reactions to Kathryn Mockler's #thisisntaconversation poems: searing, pithy, moving and funny snippets of writing that put a finger on our collective nerve around climate crisis. Kathryn and I decided that we wanted to donate 100% of the proceeds from these prints to Shades of Hope Wildlife Refuge, a registered charity based in Georgina, Ontario. Licensed by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Canadian Wildlife Services, SOH serves the GTA and areas throughout the South Central Ontario corridor. Their mandate: to nurture and rehabilitate injured and orphaned native wildlife with the goal of releasing healthy animals back into their natural habitats.
Prints are available for purchase from this series, and 100% of the proceeds go to Shades of Hope Wildlife Refuge.
Jessica Joy Hiemstra likes what Paul Klee once said about art – that one eye sees, the other feels. Jessica works in a variety of mediums on many kinds of surfaces - from watercolour and thread on paper to acrylic on acetate to plastic bags sewn into canvas. Jessica’s also a poet and designer. One of the things people often ask Jessica is “what’s the difference between all the things you do?” Jessica doesn’t distinguish much between her mediums. She just chooses the best medium for exploring whichever question, concern or exaltation is most pressing to her in the moment - from delight in the body to sorrow and anger at how poorly we care for our world and each other. Sometimes she uses words, sometimes pencil, sometimes paint. A selection of Jessica’s work is available as limited, signed prints in Jessica’s online shop.
Kathryn Mockler is the author of four books of poetry and six short films. She is the Editor of Watch Your Head, Canada Editor of Joyland Magazine, Publisher of The Rusty Toque from 2011-2017, and she teaches creative writing at Western University. She has a poetry chapbook written in collaboration with Gary Barwin forthcoming from Knife | Fork | Book (2020) and her debut collection of stories forthcoming from Book*hug (2121). She is working on a TV series pilot called Yardbird.
BY NISA MALLI
PRAYER FOR HOMESICKNESS
We brought tetrapacks
of scents so our children
would know the smell
of summer rain
on earth, video to show them
what life looked like before
and after the heat boiled
the rivers and soil was never
truly damp. In gravity
just loose enough to trip us,
our children lost their parents’
hooked-necked gait, their fixed
hip-flexors, their fixation
on shielding themselves
from the sun. They grew
leggy and light-kneed in this light
world, grew out of their
hand-me-down flight-suits. In their new
home, where there is no
way back, we wanted them
to know what it means to come
from and to a place.
WE SPREAD OUR MILITARY MISSION
in a thin serum of science, sent
our soldiers into the desert
with dictionaries, our exobiologists
armoured in exoskeletons. In movies,
first contact is almost always
a surprise: the alien
among us, unveiled by inhuman
behaviour; the ship shimmering
into rush hour. Ours had the formality
of a late-collapse climate
summit: everyone avowing commitment
to shared cause and collective
consternation, the real debate
ducked into side rooms and under-
mined by ceremony. All the safety
protocol of first dates or hiking
in bear country: begin
in daylight, in public, pull rank
on the audience of predators pulling
their tongues out in hunger.
Nisa Malli is a writer and researcher, born in Winnipeg and currently living in Toronto. She holds a BFA in Writing from the University of Victoria and has completed residencies at the Banff Centre and Artscape Gibraltar Point. Her first chapbook, Remitting, was published by Baseline Press in 2019.
An anthology of creative works devoted to the climate crisis and climate justice.
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