The Fiddlehead’s winter issue, the first issue of 2016, is now out and about. As usual it’s packed full of fine stories, poems, and thoughtful reviews.
From Hudson Bay in the 16th century to mid-20th-century Chincoteague Island to a recent stay in cottage country – the stories and poems found within this issue move through a wide variety of settings and times. Among the stories are Sara Taylor's, "Flight," in which a scientist calibrates and recalibrates his memories about his work during the early years of the American space program and his relationships with his family, and Moez Surani's "Cottage," a tale of two couples' weekend getaway from the city. The poetry includes Matt Rader's six sonnets describing six locations in Ireland and Shane Rhodes' poems that employ text fragments drawn from the journals of early European explorers. And this is just a small part of all that is contained within this winter issue!
Below we offer selections to invite you in, and to encourage you to stay by becoming a subscriber.
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Contents, No. 266 Winter 2016
5 Sara Taylor: Flight
21 Mona'a Malik: Dead Pumpkin
40 Mark Jacquemain: Two Stories
63 Moez Surani: Cottage
75 Rolaine Hochstein: Forsaking All Others
97 Shirley Sullivan: Three Quarters Gone
15 Matt Rader: Six Poems
29 Tammy Armstrong: Two Poems
31 Claire Kelly: from Maunderings
35 John Reibetanz: Two Poems
37 John Steffler: Two Poems
51 Shane Rhodes: Three Poems
67 Jane Awde Goodwin: Used to be my favourite
68 Jan Conn: Three Poems
71 Jennifer Houle: Four Poems
86 Diane Tucker: Two Poems
88 Jim Johnstone: Two Poems
92 Marvin Bell: Four Poems
106 M. Travis Lane: Out of Place
geo·logics, Steven Rowe
109 Susan Haley: Handsome, Clever and Trash-talking
When the Saints, Sarah Mian
111 Sean Johnston: "something feral"
A Shape of Breath, Judith Pond
114 Ian Colford: A Contest of Wills
The Birthday Lunch, Joan Clark
117 Anita Lahey: That change in light
My Shoes Are Killing Me, Robyn Sarah
Notes on Contributors 121
Oil on Canvas
48 x 60 in.
Excerpt from Dead Pumpkin by Mona'a Malik
"Begging for candy!” The heavy-set man, his chins covered with sparse grey hairs, stood at the centre of the crowd, pausing for effect. “Our children are begging for candy!”
He leaned in on his fat forearms, squeezing against the dark pigmented wooden podium, pressing down with his fists, and stared about the room. Around him sat fifty men, and if they had peered closely, they would have seen Rorshachian stains of perspiration as he raised up his arms and their eyes followed. “Their children think the black cats and the bats can communicate with dead. Ghosts! They dress up as the devils! These are part of pagan traditions, not Muslim traditions. They think spirits visit the earth on this day. When we participate in this traditions, all this is a form of Shirk! We do not want our children falling in this trap.” Heaving with bass, his voice rose and echoed in the hall.
He recited verses in low droning Arabic. Translating, his short limbs punched the air: “When it is said unto them, ‘Come to what Allah has revealed, come to the Messenger,’ they say, ‘Enough for us are the ways we found our fathers following.’ What! Even though their fathers were void of knowledge and guidance?” He gazed into the eyes of his listeners, moving his own from left to right. All this was captured on the screens of the women’s section upstairs.
“So these peoples knew the ignorance of their ancestors but still they want to continue following those tradition. You see how people are stuck in their ways. They want to make things easy. But Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) will always make things easy for us if we do what is right. Yes,” he nodded, as if someone had dared to argue. . . .
-------Mona'a Malik is from Saint John, NB. She is completing a MA in English and Creative Writing at Concordia University. She was awarded a Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council Professional Project Grant to complete a collection of short stories embodying themes of inter-cultural communication and questions of identity.
Staying by Jennifer Houle
Something wicked nests in
the meninges that encapsulate
routine, pistol butted hard
against the nape of habit’s neck.
Hornets off the porch.
I knock back lemon fizz and eye
the swarm, feet dangling off the side
into snarled cowslip and plantain sedge,
calves twitching dissent after a day spent
raking rills in storebought dirt.
There is anxiety in the water.
And there is something in my drink.
All that effervescence, placated.
My cup’s half full of muted sunset,
a clouded, gritty mix.
Whatever it is I’m feeling.
Flies perch on the lip.
-------Jennifer Houle's work has appeared in numerous literary journals, including The Antigonish Review, Arc, Dandelion, CV2, Room and others. She has been the recipient of several awards for her poems, including the Writer’s Federation of New Brunswick’s Alfred G. Bailey Award and The Antigonish Review’s Great Blue Heron poetry prize. She lives in Hanwell, NB.