Thursday, February 22, 2018

Conyer Clayton



I pound my fist against your back
to loosen phlegm. I’ve always
told you smoking kills, but
you’d do it with ropes
and bottle tops. Your soles
unsteady on a wicker chair. 
Pour yourself into
one more moonrise.
Draw out the misery in me.
I can only see

this failing. You disappearing.
A man’s frayed face
and brittle leaves. A boulder
obscured in slow-moving fog.
I can only see

you vanished
among tall desert rocks.
Your mother says
she thinks she’s heard
the last from you,
and I can only see

the chair leg tremor.
Are the floorboards even?
Did you even check?

Conyer Clayton is an Ottawa-based writer who aims to live with compassion, gratitude, and awe. She has two chapbooks: The Marshes (& co collective, 2017) and For the Birds. For the Humans. (battleaxe press, 2018). Her work appears in Prairie Fire, The Maynard, In/Words, Bywords, Transom, and others. She won Arc’s 2017 Diana Brebner Prize and received third place in Prairie Fire’s 2017 Poetry Contest. Check out for updates on her endeavours.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Heather Birrell



The filmy-eyed old man went searching for him during the Polish Festival. He had a sister
but they had to put her down. There were beautiful girls wearing coronets of red flowers
drinking beer out of plastic cups on every corner.


I didn’t know when I met you that any of this would happen. We were playing Scrabble on
an island closer to Africa than Spain. You used the word cozy in a way I had never seen or
heard before. We went to see a movie. La Momia Vuelve.


Desert dog, street dog, half fox, half hare.

Listen. Nails clicking out circles of goodbye, goodbye, goodbye.

Heather Birrell is the author of two story collections, Mad Hope (one of the Globe and Mail’s top 23 fiction picks for 2012) and I know you are but what am I? Her work has been honoured with the Journey Prize for short fiction and the Edna Staebler Award for creative non-fiction and has been shortlisted for both National and Western Magazine Awards. She lives in Toronto with her family.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Chris Banks


Check out these invisible handcuffs. Death
is classically trained. You are free to go
on your own recognizance until the time
of your execution. Every minute is garnish.
The entrée is missing. We live under
an embarrassment of stars. Each face
is a living portrait. A work in progress.
Dreams build cantilevered balconies into 
the world. Hold this mirror. So begins
our secret congress. Let’s not meet out 
in the open. What do you wish to know?
I promise to pull you out of an earthquake.
Give you first aid. When the ocean recedes,
do not go walking amongst the fish gasping
in its wake. Head for the hills. Stay with me
one more week. Wave goodbye before
slipping into a dark limo filled with techno
and champagne. I hate the crowds so I won’t 
be at the premiere with its paparazzi. I’ll be 
working on my patents. There is this one 
for a new type of glass. When you hold 
a hand up on either side, it simulates human 
contact. Here, place your fingers like this. 
I forgot how warm you are to the touch.

Chris Banks is the author of four poetry collections. His first full-length collection, Bonfires, was awarded the Jack Chalmers Award for poetry by the Canadian Authors’ Association in 2004 and was a finalist for the Gerald Lampert Award for best first book of poetry in Canada. His poetry has appeared in The New Quarterly, Arc Magazine, The Antigonish Review, Event, The Malahat Review, Prism International, among other publications. He lives and writes in Waterloo, Ontario.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Tom Prime


the tongue is talking to itself
mumbling, shaking its head
has lost its mind

the throat is its apartment building
the throat wants back payments
the throat has called the police

the tongue is homeless
lives in empty cigarette packages
slips through the streets
a snail without a shell

Tom Prime is in the MFA program at the University of Victoria (specializing in poetry). His poems have appeared in Carousel, Ditch, Fjords Review, The North Testicle Review, The Rusty Toque, and Vallum. In 2017, Proper Tales Press published his first chapbook, A Strange Hospital.