“I Am The Painter’s Daughter” by Kit De Waal

At the harbour, where island boys gather to trade cigarettes and obscenities, where trawler-men unload, the slow ferry docks and I come home. I climb the lane past stubborn cottages shouldered against the sea, to her house, my house now.  The door moans and the fire, long dead, is slow to answer.  That first night, …

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“Iceberg” by Robert Runté

As our little boat puttered towards the iceberg he said, “It’s like it’s been carved.” “A little bigger than any human carving,” I said. I tried to sound bored, as if I had seen it out fishing every day. “By giants, then. Or aliens, or something. But you know what I mean. Look at the …

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“Now You Have to Pee Again” by TL Parry-sands

It’s surprising how much light the moon and the snow make between them when you need the outhouse in the blackness of a Nova Scotia winter and it’s good, because the cold beauty distracts you from the fact that you have to sit on the cold plastic seat attached too tight with screws splitting the wood so …

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“Say That” by Andrej Blatnik

Say that you’re kissing a strange girl. Yes, things like that do happen. Say that you’d gone to a bar, you’d drunk even more than usual, say that you hadn’t gone along with your colleagues this time, remembering your wife sneering as you picked up your briefcase: “Do all these meetings have to end up …

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“Stepping on the Throat of their Song” by Barbara Ponomareff

Clara, Antwerp, 1611             As I enter the kitchen through the waning morning dark, I enter a deep silence. When my eyes adjust, I am startled by the variety of beings and feathers heaped on the surface of the narrow table. Here, the intact head of a waterfowl has been dropped like an anchor while …

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“Secret” by Susi Lovell

When Margie is pressed to share a secret at the annual office retreat, she hesitates, hoping lunch will be announced. It’s been a long morning and they’re all hungry. C’mon Margie, they urge. We’ve all shared our secrets so it’s only fair you share yours. How will we bond if we don’t share secrets? Reluctantly, …

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“BEAR” by Ulrica Hume

I. Once upon a time, no one believed her. Even when Bear stands toe-to-toe with the sheriff, they do not believe her. Even when Bear huffs, or rudely shimmies against the living room wall, marking it with her scent, or crams blueberries into her snout—still, they do not believe her. Worse, Bette left her shoe …

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“I Have To Ask” by Jan Stinchcomb

I want to ask the man standing in line in front of me where he’s from, but people don’t do that anymore. This was always a big city with no small talk. The fact that we’re waiting in line at the airless post office makes it worse. We have all agreed to stand in this …

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“God’s Eye” by Tommy Dean

After supper, we took the kids down to the road next to Bryson’s Pond to see the body. Picture ran in yesterday’s paper of the accident. The kind of thing that makes news in our small town: smashed up car with the hood rammed through the interior and door sheared off, its body leaning against the …

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“The Hunters” by Sara Dobbie

They are standing still, quite near to each other, on a small wooden bridge. It arches over a shallow creek, connecting to a path at the edge of a forest. She doesn’t know why he brought her here, and as he speaks in philosophical tongues she clicks her painted black nails on the slender railing. …

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“Beneath The Skin” by Evan James Sheldon

We were sitting by a stream that runs through a gulley beside my father’s apartment, when he began picking at his thumb. I let it go on for a bit, distracted and listening for my son playing off in the trees, but soon my father was gnawing at it, making small angry noises. He tore …

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“The Pull of The River” by John Haggerty

The river, where its surface can be seen, is a muddy brown. It is indifferent to what it carries, unburdened equally by flowers, or corpses, or shit. Some girls wade in up to their waists, calling out names when a face is recognized. It’s routine now, just another chore, like grinding millet or weeding the …

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