Welcome to the Winter 2014 issue of The Fiddlehead! The weather may have taken a turn for the cold, but that means there's more opportunity to sit beside a crackling fireplace with a book (we humbly suggest this issue of The Fiddlehead).
We're very pleased to be introducing our readers to UK writer Jane Rogers. She is the author of eight novels, many of them award winners! Rounding out the fiction side of the ledger, we have three up and coming young writers. On the poetry side, we're ecstatic to present a selection from a longer collaborative project by Marvin Bell and Christopher Merrill. We also have new work from Alice Major, Robin Richardson, Adam Sol, and many others.
Below we offer selections to
invite you in,
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Contents, No. 258 Winter 2014
5 Jane Rogers: The Disaster Equation
39 Michelle Barker: The Things We Lose on Purpose
65 Emily Bossé: Last Animal Standing on Gentleman's Farm
97 Michael Patrick Jessome: The Crate
24 Christopher Merrill and Marvin Bell: Six Poems
30 Alberto Ríos: Two Poems
33 Ricardo Pau-Llosa: Two Poems
35 Alice Major: Two Poems
38 Molly Sutton Kiefer: Hela
50 Adam Sol: Two Poems
56 Jeredith Merrin: Two Poems
60 Glenn Hayes: Two Poems
63 Bruce Bond: Two Poems
80 Robin Richardson: Two Poems
82 Michael Eden Reynolds: Two Poems
84 Antony Christie: Two Poems
86 Lee Peterson: Things That Go
87 Shane Neilson: Three Poems
93 Gary Allen: Two Poems
102 Laurie D. Graham: "An emotional logic"
Just Like Her, Louise Dupré. Trans. Erin Mouré
104 M. Travis Lane: The Under-Singing
Vox Humana, E. Alex Pierce
107 Richard Cumyn: The Beautiful Lie or the Opposite of
Cabbagetown Diary: a Documentary, Juan Butler
Crossings, Betty Lambert
112 Richard Kelly Kemick: The Roots of Summer
The Hottest Summer in Recorded History, Elizabeth
114 Rebecca Geleyn: A History of Apocalypses
The Paradise Engine, Rebecca Campbell
Notes on Contributors 118
Acrylic on Canvas
48 x 48 in.
Excerpt from Last Animal Standing on Gentleman's Farm by Emily Bossé
I came out in the morning to find three wattles frozen in the mud outside the pigs’ pen. They had turned greyish overnight, the melting ice on the ground waterlogging them into plump, fleshy petals. Maybe this is just something chickens did. Shedding wattles. Dropping chins to attract roosters. Chickens, am I right? There were clumps of feathers and down drifting across the half-frozen mud, but no signs of blood, as though the chickens had decided to reconfigure themselves into clean chunks, as if that just worked better for them. The rooster nodded sleepily on top of the fence post, undisturbed by their disappearance. The pigs blinked.
I went into the kitchen and dug around in the junk drawer until I found the Zodiac calendar I’d picked up with my Triple Seven order. Pig and Rooster were not listed under the ‘no match’ column. In fact, they were a ‘match,’ though not an ‘ideal match.’ This made good enough sense, as the chickens were slowly becoming part of the pigs but judging by the pools of yellow bile floating on top of the mud, the chickens were fighting the merger. I called Paul to see if he thought this meant anything.
“I really don’t know what the hell kind of meaning you’re looking for here, Davey.”
I unrolled the calendar again. “I don’t know, something about my perfectionism being consumed by, uh, loyalty or, shit, I don’t know.”
“Your pigs just ate sixteen chickens and the first thing you do is look at a Zodiac on the back of a takeout menu?”
“Why would they eat them? All? In one night?”
“This has nothing to do with the Zodiac, dopey, and everything to do with the fact that pigs eat fucking everything.”
“Sure, if they can get ’em. And once they taste flesh, well, that’s the end my friend.”
“Give them some Pepto-Bismol. And stop looking at that fucking pussy Zodiac.”
I began to really feel that the pigs were going to die.
-------Emily Bossé is entering the second year of her MA in creative writing at the University of New Brunswick. She is a three-time winner of the David Adams Richards prize for prose. She was recently named the fiction runner-up in The Pinch Journal’s 2013 literary contest.
Life adapts to inhospitable environments by Alice Major
Snowflakes sidle in the air,
sparse paramecia in a test-tube solution.
Ice has packed down on the roadway, hard
as the glass below a microscope’s ground lens.
Apartment balconies are stacked to the grey ceiling,
like drawer handles in a naturalist’s collection,
Is the eye clinical or kindly? Regardless,
in this harsh niche, the cell life multiplies.
A bent old woman’s cane wavers before her,
an agitated, energetic flagellum.
The man in the red toque rolls a cigarette
in one clawed hand. Ash fragments flake.
Specimens impenetrable as curios,
transparent as a slice of stained tissue.
-------Alice Major has published nine collections of poetry, including The Office Tower Tales (winner of the Lowther award) and Memory's Daughter (winner of the Stephan G. Stephansson prize). Her latest book is the essay collection Intersecting Sets: A Poet Looks at Science. She served as Edmonton's first poet laureate. Visit her website.
Dr. Williams to Miss X an Aspiring Poet by Glenn Hayes
Cigarette? You remind me
of a patient
a boy I thought at first
in baggy pants, shirt,
but whose disrobing
the curving chest and belly
of a girl.
of a private discomfort,
said with a knife-thrower’s look
she’d rather end it,
asked for a thing
I rarely offer
but which cried
for speed and action.
When I had her settled
she looked away
spit like a curse
a name I knew well,
which as a doctor
and a man
like blackbirds sometimes
thread between the reeds
in red and yellow flashes,
I will not
even in this private room
divulge to you.
-------Glenn Hayes's poetry has appeared in many literary magazines and journals, including CV2, Dalhousie Review, Descant, Grain, and Vallum. His work last appeared in The Fiddlehead 165 (Autumn 1990). His poetry has also appeared in two anthologies: Christian Poetry in Canada (ECW Press, 1989) and Larger Than Life (Black Moss Press, 2002). He lives in Newmarket, Ontario.