I watch Ava peel down her panties. Her ass a kicked apple: Brown. Purple. Blue. She tucks wads of newspaper inside her jeans, zips up, and smiles. “Ready.”
“Little Billy died last Sunday,” I tell my father, who’s visiting for a while during my husband’s absence.
Numbers safety-pinned to matching blue tank tops, our last name, Fraser, emblazoned beneath them, my sister and I double-check that our shoes are laced tight. Attached to these laces are black chips. These chips will be used to establish our official marathon time, which determines whether or not a runner qualifies for Boston.
Today is one of those days of sloping light that you sometimes get when the hard edge of winter cuts into spring. Where the sun doesn’t just shine, but scuds across the fields in great golden planks. It is one of those days where mothers everywhere are nagging at their kids to get out and do something. Like mine.
It’s late May when James arrives in Rose-Marie, fresh from Antigonish, where he lives now. He shows up without fanfare. Without flourish. Without so much as a phone call to let me know he’s coming. He is simply, suddenly, standing before me in the grey light of a late Monday morning.
Jack tilts back on his chair, balancing on two legs. A circle of smoke drifts up from a saucer beside him. “Need a big purple job,” he says. Kenny, your younger brother, slings a monster purple pill across the kitchen table.
The cyst behind Andy’s left knee is soft as an overripe pear, the veins and arteries blue and purple. She believes that the left side of the body is the feminine, dependent, side.
Some sixty to seventy miners, mainly married men with families, went down into the underground workings at Pioneer Mine for the first mine ‘Sit-down’ in Canada.
I journey to nameless shores to wrestle glass balloons from other women.
Do a dry run on the bus a week before you start, at the right time of day, carrying the right amount of stuff, in the stiff uncomfortable black shoes you can’t run in. If you don’t own such shoes, buy some. Don’t get paint on them.
The island, thirty-five minutes by air off the coast of Belize, is too small for anything like a runway.
There is no point in describing a man who traverses Nova Scotia on a ten-speed bike with a concertina strapped to his back, is there? Let’s just say that Randy was resourceful, which is why he answered my ad in the first place.
One of the honourable mentions in our 2006 fiction contest.
One of the honourable mentions for our fiction 2006 contest.
Our 2005 fiction contest winner, "Seedlings" by Helyn Wohlwend of Cobble Hill, BC.
In Arabic, her father put questions to the old man. Whether these were advice seeking, or advice giving, Safia could not be sure. She never came to understand what her grandfather wanted from any of them.
As she sails over the barbed wire fence, a hot dry wind behind her, the cow thinks of birds. How useful wings might be at a time like this. Her spindly legs crumple and pink udders squash as the round of her girth meets the hard of the ground. Parched weeds prickle and lightning bugs flash.
I think I smell like alcohol. I’m sitting, eating a doughnut and thinking about last night. I wonder if my liver is O.K.; if I keep this up, I’ll kill myself. No, if I keep this up, I’ll become my mother.
Slivers of cut grass stick to my calves and hands. Sweat soaks my bra. I am sweating.
Currently on Newsstands
Room 40.2, Our Rubble, Our Loss
Edited by Meghan Bell
In this issue:
Carleigh Baker, Leslie Beckmann, Isa Benn, Alison Braid, Maggie Burton, Ava C. Cipri, Kayla Czaga, Ruth Daniell, Leanne Dunic, Tanis Franco, Andréa Ledding, Tanya Lyons, Kim McCullough, Amber McMillan, Nav Nagra, Sarah Nakamura, Zehra Naqvi, Annmarie O’Connell, Eva Redamonti, Amanda Rhodenizer, stephanie roberts, Emily Schultz, Idrissa Simmonds, Mallory Tater, Erika Thorkelson, Debbie Urbanski, Susan E. Wadds, Laurelyn Whitt, Irene Wilder.