WATER STREET STATION
The long sleek train chugs into the belly of the city
draws me here, again, against – my face leans against
the cool glass I feel the pounding of my heart
I am coming home running away
here, darker than downtown, the quiet heart is broken by the sounds of quiet decay
bricks tumble down from mortar, out in the darkness the crash of broken glass
busts the silence. In the distance a crack!
the gunshot marks turf, settles scores
then everything new and true in a soft truce
I walk away from the station, rain threatens, thunder growls low and far away
hurry past over-ornate architecture out of synch
with the decaying cement and granite of this seaside town
I walk away from the station towards hope and light
past the rococo doorway of a used record shop
where a rusty “Drink Coca-Cola” sign hangs on one side
and a sententious poster, faded and peeling hangs off the other
the poster screams “PREPARE TO MEET THY…”
Neon lights flicker, the reflection pools on leftover puddles in the streets
beckons me to dance alone – fluorescent images of stockinged legs
and olives that bob in flashing green and red martini glasses
I hustle past hobos and panhandlers who lurk in the entrances of scrubby alleys
their tired eyes relish the thought of a newcomer, a stranger in a suit
I have lived here before
“Dollar? Dollar, sir? Bless you, bless you.”
This is this street’s gambit
to pass between high rises like they are strung with two tightropes
you must graduate from graffiti sprayer, attain
the rank of trapeze artist and swing through
this jungle of copper green copulas and green tinted glass on steel
your feet never touch the crumbled concrete sidewalk
swing up in the clouds, avoid the confrontation of the crowds
swing up between a clothesline and a telephone wire
Prepare…! Prepare to meet…!
Prepare to meet my maker – there, look, he lives, he breathes
covered in yesterday’s newspapers
he hovers between two elm trees
on that park bench beside a rusted shopping cart
stuffed with bottles and cans and the whole world.
SEAN BEDELL is a former paramedic, lives and writes on the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia. He frequently forays into New England and is currently at work on a novel.
SLEEPING IN MY CAR
Liam drove toward the foothills, passing by dilapidated ranches and skeletal cows. The flapping of eagles was a constant reminder that he didn’t belong there. In the passenger seat, Tabitha pretended to sleep and he acted like he didn’t see through her.
Two days before, he’d sped out of L.A., mind-bendingly anxious to meet the woman he fell in love with. Tabitha was a soloist with a ballet company – that much was true.
After a chance encounter on an online community for sports enthusiasts brought them together, they started sharing snippets of their lives, supporting each other when nothing was OK. Soon friendship developed to love, or something like it.
It was late in the evening. He stopped at a small shop on the reservation and she crept out of the passenger seat to pick something to eat. Inside, it smelled like rosewood and old photographs. He found a pair of turquoise earrings that matched her grey eyes. At a rest stop they ate ravioli in silence. She smiled in gratitude for the souvenir he gifted her. “Want to dance?” Liam gestured to a patch of manicured grass and she said no, she had been too tired.
He knew something was off when he was drinking Scotch at the bar they agreed to meet at and an unfamiliar woman called his name. When she struck up a conversation, he made it clear he wasn’t interested. “I’m waiting for someone.” He said and she pulled him toward her, identifying herself as Tabitha. Muddled, he listened while she explained that she had sent her friend’s pictures instead of hers. “I’m so sorry.” Tabitha cried and their magic escaped into the void. Likely it had been entirely imagined in the first place. Without a word, Liam exited the bar and she followed him outside. He felt her gaze on his neck. She said she was still the same person he fell in love with. “Oh Tabitha, I don’t know.” His words sounded brittle and foreign.
Back on the road, Tabitha was turned away toward the window, sipping on a milk bottle. Part of him itched to turn around, get her home and drive back to L.A., where he’d hide in a familiar bed. In the early morning hours, they reached the National Park. He gazed at Tabitha, the up-and-down movement of her chest, her twitching and heavily made-up eyes. Apart from her voice, everything about her was peculiar. Ready to get out the truck, he opened the door and then turned around abruptly when he heard her mumble in her sleep.
“Love me.” She said softly.
ANA PRUNDARU is the author a chapbook “One Lover, Four Sinners and Three Time Travelers,” by Etched Press. Her work is forthcoming from 3 AM, Kyoto Journal, Rattle and Gingerbread House. Currently, she is pursuing a MSc in Legal Sociology at Lund University.
ABSTRACTION, MOSTLY, FROM A RUSTED BENCH
From the sports fields, the disembodied
noises run out of mouths, up the sides
of the building, into my ears:
I have decided to abandon
my room. Out here, I will
ask an anthropomorphic topiary,
“How often is too often to talk
to another human being?”
The answer could be
every day or twice an hour or
once a month. I imagine a bush
would be able to at least bristle a response
from the breeze of my voice, or is it
the wind rolling across the concrete
down from the mountains?
I have ended
sitting on a rusting bench
under trees’ shade. Time here sends
the message that it passes regardless of me.
I am an intruder, something
from a different wilderness,
one that builds bridges with metal and wires
encroaching each day upon
the spires of branches in their spots
perfect, positioned within their parking lot.
How can I become like them? Firm
like water, space. My own being: water, space
but also food, shelter, community, this last
in flux, in moderation, undecided
as the placement of the first stone
of a foundation — around the edges or in the middle?
The answer may be untellable or
maybe the question isn’t right.
I hear the marching band playing
over the vacant parking lot a music
caught outside of place, think,
“To be alone here is impossible,
with all this light with
all this noise floating
around like fog.”
MATTHEW BAKER is a first-year MFA in Creative Writing student at the University of Nevada, Reno. He had some work published in NEAT, but most of his poetry is still a work in progress. Some day he’dlike to teach creative writing, but right now he is still learning it.
I believe that cities have souls.
When I say soul, I mean that each city in the world has its own personality, one that is unique. You would never mistake New York for Toronto, or Tokyo, or London, or San Francisco, or Montreal, or even Jersey City sitting on the other side of a bridge. Toronto is my city, and it has a soul that is as unique and palpable as any other. I love my city, I love its personality. I feel a sense of ownership over it, and I feel I share that ownership with the others who call this city home. But to truly understand what the soul of a city is, you have to go to the places that are beautiful, places that people visit under the sun, but you must visit under the moon. That is what I did, under the moon.
I started as the sun set, walking through the east of the city. I walked into a dark place, and slipped among the stones. There were names on each stone, and numbers and symbols. Against a few were flowers, old and wilted. I wondered how long ago the last flower had been placed against the ground, and if someone would come and put more.
“Are you looking for someone?”
I blink, and look up. It is very dark here amongst the stones, and very cold. Snow crunches my feet as I squirm uncomfortably. I am a trespasser here. I turn to look at the speaker, to give the approaching man my full attention.
I take in everything about him. I take in his reddish skin, his freshly shaven face. I take in his patched hat, patched jacket, worn gloves, and pants, and shoes. His hair is as white as the snow on the ground everything about this man looked worn and patched, even the skin around his eyes sags and droops like it’s an effort to keep them open. I wonder morbidly if he will have a stone here soon, but I shake it off. That’s a terrible thing to think about someone.
“Can I help you find someone? Someone here you know?” He asks again
“No.” I say. “Thank you but no, I’m just…” My voice wanders off. “Just walking through.” I glance away. I feel ashamed. Even though to my knowledge I am allowed here. I feel like I’m insulting the old man, like I’m dancing on the graves of other people’s grief. I’m looking in on other people’s realities like window shopping, and I fear they think me indecent, and offensive. I fear that they will accuse me of the alien, and they would be right. I’m not one of them. We are of the same city, but that is all. I don’t belong in a place like this yet, I have nobody to remember here. But the frail man only smiles, his face rippling as the lines around his eyes expanded and curled.
“That’s alright.” He said. “Plenty of people do.”
“Do they?” I ask, surprised. I didn’t think a graveyard was a place someone would simply go. I thought people would need a reason, a visitor.
The old groundskeeper nodded. His smile was kind, and understanding. It made me feel ashamed. “You don’t need to know anyone,” He said gently “In order to want to find anyone.”
I didn’t understand. But the old man merely patted a passing gravestone on its head, and stepped aside to allow me to pass on.
I walk away from the frail man, and allow myself to fully take in the world around me. I walked down the narrow paths between the graves, the snow crunching under my black boots. Black, is a Toronto color. Everyone in my city seems to wear it, forcing us into such sharp contrast with the snow that permeates our existence for so much of the year.
I have lived in Toronto all my life. I have explored it for years. There are few places that could be considered a reasonable distance from my home that I have not already been to. But, as opposed to hunting out something obscure, something tiny and hidden that I was yet to stumble upon on my adventures, I have come to the one place I have never been. It wasn’t hard, all I needed to do was walk along College Street until I reached its end. I have come to walk amongst the dead. These are the dead of my city, they are a part of its soul.
I have come to the graveyard. St. James graveyard, where I know none of the names on the stones, where I never met any of the remains buried beneath back when they still walked on the earth. I am a stranger amongst the dead. I look curiously to see the symbols on the graves. There are a few I don’t recognize, but mostly I see the large emboldened t of the cross. Out of I don’t bother looking for the familiar six point Star of David. I wonder idly why people care where their bodies go after they die. I wonder if I’ll care, when I’m old enough to be thinking about how I’ll go into the ground.
Snow curls around my boots, and my lip curls in pleasure as the frozen crystals crush and disperse, alerting the world that this was a place I have walked. If it were another season, I would have stepped on an acorn instead. I am a human being, I cannot help but revel in tiny acts of destruction, to literally force a footprint on the world we inhabit, to force it to acknowledge that we have been here. Footprints in the snow, crushed acorns, and the pop of bubble wrap between my fingers. It feels good, to crush tiny things like that, despite my better nature. I feel the snow creak and compact under my feet, and I dig in my toes, so that I may sink a little deeper into the white cold crystals of winter.
But here, as I walk past stones of the dead, I feel ashamed. Many of the bodies these people inhabited have long since been absorbed by the soil, not even leaving bones behind. Their names have begun to rub off the stones. I stop, and read the text hammered into the graves. They all sound fairly the same. I picture it with my name. I picture it with the dates of my birth and death, the only two days of my life I will not have existed in for its entirety. 1996-20**. He was loved.
The graveyard is beautiful, the trees forming a kind of casket over the earth in the evening light. It is beautiful, and I hate it. I wonder if there are people in this graveyard with no friends left alive, if there are people here nobody remembers anymore, people who have nothing left to show that they existed on planet, except these faded, meaningless stones. I will not be buried. I will leave no stone with my name and the dates that I entered and left this world. I will not leave my physical form to waste away in my memory. I think perhaps, that if I’m to be buried, it will be as ashes. I wish to leave no permanent imprint on the soul of my city, not to contribute to these beautiful places, but to leave them for others to fill at their own leisure.
I keep walking, and I let my fingers brush against the cool granite of a grave. I look up, and through the branches of a pine tree, I think I can see someone else. I can’t make out much, but I can see that it’s a woman. Like me, she has the tips of her fingers resting gently atop a headstone. I meet her eyes, and they are dark. There is something familiar in them, and I see the same air of familiarity dawn about her face as she looked at me.
Snowflakes dance in the moonlight between us. A flake lands on my nose. I blink, and look down, watching it’s continued decent to join it’s brethren on the ground, becoming indistinguishable from the rest. I stared at them, trying to pick out individual snowflakes, and finding that I couldn’t. When I looked back up, there was nobody watching me through the trees. I was alone once more.
As I reach the end of the graveyard, the groundskeeper was there again, waiting for me at the entrance. Behind him, the trees and silence became noise and buildings, the ground underneath the snow becoming harder, covered in the endless bustle of the living.
I looked at him, staring at the white of his hair. I wondered what color it had been in years gone by. “Did you find who you were looking for?” He asked me.
“I wasn’t looking for anyone.” I told him.
“Everyone’s looking for somebody.” The old man said. I stared numbly at the patches sown into the knees of his pants. I wondered if he had done this himself. I didn’t know if I was looking for anyone. I was looking for my cities soul.
“I didn’t find them here.” I said softly. The old man nodded, he understood.
“Keep looking.” He told me sagely, and reached out to put a thin, spindly hand on my shoulder, but I slipped softly out of his grip, fading away into the lights and noise of the city
I leave the graveyard and the old man, walking back into the lights of the city, crunching the snow under my foot, like I would acorns, saying with my footprints before they are wiped away by time. Footprints in the snow, saying softly I was here.
I walk north, past College street, up Young, onto Bloor street. I walk west, and as I walk, Time loses its structure around me. I become unstuck in the history of my city, my shoes and clothes changing and rearranging. I walk backwards and forwards in time, and the buildings around me become smaller and newer, and then larger and newer again. The streets become mud, and then snow, and then paved again, the time and evolution of my city happening all at once. Once, my city was on fire and I can see it now. I can see, more than a hundred years into the past, I can see my cities bloody and chaotic history. Its towers and streets were burning. In 1904, the Great fire of Toronto burned more than a hundred buildings to the ground. I can’t help but wonder why they would name it The Great Fire. Why would we give such a splendid name to something so horrible, something that did so much harm to my city? I don’t know. It’s not the only terrible thing in history we have titled as Great. These things bother me. It seems as if we are celebrating things that should cause only upset.
I walk backwards in time through the flames over a hundred years ago. On the other side of the street, I see a girl in a brown coat with black hair. She walks the same way I do, the flames licking harmlessly at her translucent form. Perhaps she is another traveler through time, someone else who has become pushed and unstuck, searching for my cities soul in the flames and the ashes. We lock eyes from across the street, and I think I recognize something in her eyes. It’s something I’ve seen in my eyes, when I look deep into the mirror. But I keep walking, and she keeps walking, and we soon lose sight of one another.
The Great Fire of Toronto claimed the life of only one man. His name was John Croft. He was a construction worker, and was killed when the third of the three charges he and a construction crew had set went off incorrectly. I know this because there is a street in Toronto that was once named Ulster was renamed in his honor.
On croft street there is a mural painted into a wall, in remembrance. It strikes me, that such a disaster claimed the life of only one person, and that he is so sharply remembered even to this day.
In contrast, I read a newspaper. Three people died in a car accident off the high way. There was no fire, or spectacle, or historical significance. They don’t have a mural, or a memorial. No street names were changed for them. I don’t even remember their names. There was a bicycle accident at the end of my street, and a man was killed. There is a white bicycle on the corner of that street now. The bicycle has flowers planted in its basket for him
Sometimes, my city is petty, and vein. We choose to mourn and remember only things that were surrounded by a story we like. We choose who we mourn and remember in the public conscious almost randomly, without equality. Some people are forgotten, and others are remembered. That is the nature of my city’s soul.
I walk, and the snow vanishes under my feet. Time as drifted backwards, and then farther forwards, and winter has become spring, and the snow has given way to green grass and flowers, the birds have returned to their northern homes. The soul of the city pulls me forwards, pulls me to a living representation of its own history, like the graveyard, but not. It pulls me towards something that has died, but that comes alive again. I walk towards High Park, and the cherry blossom trees.
During the Second World War, the Canadian government heavily mistreated many of its Japanese citizens, forcing them into internment camps for the duration of the war. I don’t know if cities are a part of a larger, country sized soul, but if it is, this is one of the many stains on my countries soul. I don’t think Countries have souls, or at least, not countries this size. I think its souls are split into its pieces, hidden by its cities.
Toronto did not take part in this mistreatment, it is one thing that doesn’t stain Toronto’s soul. And to show appreciation, Japan sent Toronto the seeds of Cherry Blossom trees, which are planted and have grown in High park ever since. They blossom once a year around April or May, and after only a week or two, the blossoms die again, leaving their branches silent and unremarkable until the next year, when they may briefly blossom again. These trees are beautiful, and a highly regarded by the people of the city.
I find it strange that Toronto must be rewarded for not participating in evil. As far as I can understand, all my city did was meet the most basic human standard of goodness. We did not do an evil thing, while the rest of our country did. They are not punished for their cruelty, but we are rewarded for simply treating people with a basic respect.
There are many other times in my cities history where it has failed, and its abuse of people both in the present and the past is like an ugly scar, still fresh, etched across and under the surface of my city.
When the cherry blossom bloom, they bring huge crowds, both of locals and tourists, to appreciate their wonders, to photograph them and walk in the park throughout the day.
Uncounted numbers of people, teeming in, all wanting to get a glimpse of the cherry blossoms, before they vanish. I do not walk in amongst the crowd. I do not share in their experience in the daylight hours. I do not go to the cherry blossom trees when the rest of the men and women and children walk among them, diluting their beauty and distracting with their sounds, the sounds of people. Instead, I wait. I find myself looking for the girl whose eyes had been like mine lit by the flames of a century ago, but no face appears in the endless crowd of people. My city is gigantic, and impersonal. Many people who are seen once, will never be seen again.
I’m not seen as I traverse my city, from the point of my home towards the park of my destination. I’m dressed all in black now, like a widow. I do not take the subway, as sitting amongst the other passengers would break my spell… I know my city well already, and I know which streets to take that will keep me invisible.
I am a shadow, I go unseen, I go silently, and my footfalls make no noise against the pavement. The moon hangs high in the sky, full and shining, but there are no stars. There is too much air pollution in my city for the presence of stars, the only constellations available are the lights that shine from the city itself. I walk in an easy stride, never breaking pace.
I reach the park, slipping in unseen. It is late into the night now, and the woods of the park are dark apart from the moon. I do not know if there are others in this great park, but if there are I do not see them or hear them, nor do they see or hear me. I am for all the world alone, in this huge city garden. I do not know if this park is supposed to be closed, or if I am free to go to and from at any time. I do not care if I am breaking a rule, but I do not break from my identity as a ghost. Not even the birds, sleeping in their nests, notice my presence. For all external purposes, I do not exist. The city is alone with itself, unperturbed by its nonexistent intruder.
After a while, I slip off the established gravel path that has been placed for visitors to traverse. I don’t need it. I know where I am. I slip through the grass without leaving a single footprint. I’m now at the highest point of High Park, and my destination is far down below me. I stop for only a moment to catch my breath.
The sight before me is beautiful. I can see the flowers of the park, spread out under the rays of the moon. There is no noise but the one of my own heartbeat. Wind blows gently on my face, like some great invisible hand, acknowledging that I exist, warning me against harming this place.
Still at the top of the hill, I bend down and carefully untie my shoes. I take off both shoes, and then both socks. I tuck my socks carefully inside my shoes, and place them underneath a bush, where I can find them again, but others would not know to look, just in case. Now, I begin my descent.
I walk slowly now, pausing between strides. With each step, I feel the earth beneath my feet, the grass between my toes, the dirt and the roots. With each pause, I stop to appreciate the world that is blossoming into place around me. With each step my view changes subtly. The range of what I can see gradually lessens, but the details becomes sharper under the moon. I can make out individual flower petals, I can make out the veins that run through them. All the flowers of my city are tinged with silver, from the light of the moon. They are beautiful, but they are not what I am here for.
I’m here for the trees. I’ve seen them before, when I was much smaller. I had walked, pushing and shoving amongst the tourists, clutching my mother’s hand, fearing that if I let go I’d become lost in the sea of people. But I’m not a little child any longer. I’m not here with my mother. I am here with no one. It is the night, and I am not afraid of being lost. Instead, I revel in the sudden lack of direction, letting the city swallow me up, with no intention of ever letting me go again.
I hold no religion, no special or supernatural belief, no magic or gods outside of what I know to be my imagination. But my imagination, my barest understanding and perception of the world is enough. It’s all I need to look for the soul. This is why I’ve come to this place alone in the night with my bare feet and my silence. I’m trying in my city to capture the experience that so many crave, that eludes me in the presence of temples and ideas of worship. A spiritual experience for an unspiritual human being.
But still believe that cities have souls, and in this, I know myself to be a paradox.
I turn the corner past the row of bushes, peppered with hundreds of tiny yellow flowers tinged silver by the light of the moon and the water. I see the cherry blossom trees. Rows and rows of them, some big, their branches stretching outwards like the limbs of great giants, children of the sky reaching out in longing for the heavens. Others small, timid beings that would have trembled before me if they could, delicate and innocent creatures.
This is my time with the cherry blossoms. I walk carefully along the grass, wary of any roots or sticks or shards of glass left over from the visitors of the day, alert to anything that could ruin my time here in the flower trees. I don’t take a photograph. Photo’s only serve to make me sad, to remind me that time is inescapable, and they connect me to something I can’t go back to, and might have missed. I only take photos for the benefit other people. I’m not here for other people.
I’m here for myself. I walk among the trees, seeing them for the first time, their purple-pink flowers staring out at my like sirens, inviting me. I reach up, and softly touch the petals with the tips of my fingers. They are smoother than velvet. What makes these trees all the more precious is that I know they are going to die soon. If I came back in a weeks’ time, I would not find the wonders that I do now. I would find only barren branches. My city is one of seasons. Time brings life and takes it away again with the coming and going of the snow. Life and death encircle each other, and I see them in the flowers of the trees.
I hold no belief, but I believe that cities have souls, that they are in a way alive. I have to then accept that one day, the cycle will end. One day, the flowers will fall from these branches like purple rain drops, and they won’t come back the next year. One day, these trees will die. How they will die, I don’t know. In a way, it will have been time that kills them. And they won’t come back again. One day, my city will die as well. Perhaps it will be a fire, one so much bigger than before. Or perhaps it will simply be time that kills this place, turning it into its own graveyard. It won’t happen today, or tomorrow, or even in the distant future, but one day it will happen. One day, when all the people have gone and the lights have flickered out, the city will die, becoming its own graveyard, full of names and dates and strange symbols.
But here in this moment, the world is still spinning, my city is still a place on earth and is still my home, and these trees are still in blume, here with me in the night.
If you want to understand a place, if you want to see the soul of your home, it cannot be with the crowd. In a crowd, that crowd is all you can see. This is why I have come to see the city at night. I have taken off my shoes, I can feel the city beneath my feet. I don’t take photos, I may concentrate on the sight in front of me. This is my city, this is how I see it. I see it in silence, when all the noises of people have drained away. I see it at night, when the all the distractions have drained away this is what I came to the cherry blossom trees to do. This is what we should all do, to understand our homes, our cities.
I wiggle my toes into the earth, and sit down, letting my back press up against the trunk of a cherry blossom tree, looking at the purple petals, which have turned bright pink in the moonlight.
I sit in silence, letting the silence drown me, consume me. I am a ghost. I am alone with my city’s soul. But I find myself unsettled. I find myself with my eyes open. I look around, and I can’t help it. I know better. But still I find myself looking, and to my surprise, I am not looking in vein.
I am not alone.
She is sitting under a tree like mine, not so far away. She sits with her brown coat wrapped around her, covering her chin like a scarf. Her hair blows gently in the evening breeze. I find myself strangely distracted by the shape of her nose. It is small, and turned upwards to me.
Her eyebrows slant, and I see that she has found me as well. I look down, not to meet her gaze, and see her bare toes digging into the grass.
I move my eyes away, and look at my own toes curling around the earth, doing the same. I look back up, and I meet her gaze. Her eyes are like mine. They are searching like mine. I wonder if she too had walked in the snow through graveyards, I wonder if she’d been asked who she was looking for. But she knows now, as I know.
We do not speak. I don’t get up and walk over to her, she doesn’t get up and walk over to me. We don’t nod, or wave at one another. But somehow, we acknowledge the other’s presence. We appreciate it. And sit inside the city, both searching together.
When the sun cracks a thin ray of light over the sky, I find myself looking down at the water, the river at the end of the park. I watch the sunrise, the rays of orange and yellow through the reflection of the water, and I know she does the same.
I stand up, and without turning to look at her, I walk away from the cherry blossoms, but not before reaching up, and picking a single petal off the tree. A tiny act of destruction, saying I was here, but without violence. It is an act of appreciation, and acknowledgment.
I walk back up to the edge of the park, to the hiding place where I have put my shoes. I find that the girl is standing next to me, and beside my boots are her boots. We each slip them on in silence, and walk with one another to the edge of the park. As the clash of cars and city life begins to rush up on us, she takes me hand.
“Thank you.” She says. Her voice is small, and alien to me, and it comes from everywhere. It comes from the ground, and the buildings, and the trees. She leans over, and kisses me gently on the cheek. Her hair smells like the cherry blossoms.
“What’s your name?” my voice is small, little more than a whisper. She smiles softly, but doesn’t answer. She doesn’t need to, because I already know. Her name is the street corners, and the parks and the subways. Her name is the skyline, and the crowds, and the sidewalk, and the little lights that flicker on at night in the place of stars
I reach out, and press the bright pink petal into the palm of her hand, and wrap her fingers around it, the fingers of my city. We part ways, both satisfied. I know, even as she fades into nothing, that she isn’t really gone. My city is with me, and all around me, and within me. She will never leave my side, so long as I don’t leave hers
I watch the people as I walk home, once again beginning to drift through time. I watch the people of my city, of our city.
They are all looking for someone.
They are all looking of the cities soul. Maybe they’ll find it.
BEN BERMAN GHAN is a science fiction and fantasy author, novelist, editor, and student at the University of Toronto, where he studies literature and English. his first novel Wychman Road was published January 2016, with a sequel already underway. When not writing, Ben is being distracted by cats, snow, and what he suspects to be aliens camping out nearby. His mind currently holds more than half a century’s trivia on comic books, and he finds writing about himself in the third person very strange.
I burrow into place
your breath and billows
of a down comforter
nest in the crisp
scent of sunlight
from the clothesline
I close my eyes
snug to your ribs
that arch mountain strong
beneath my ear
spirits of the ancestors
to watch over us
two sleeping children
amidst the din
of world calamity
Your breath rises
a slow brush
in steady time
calms to your
lead as we swing
I am content
as a cat
P.A. MOFFATT is currently editing a chapbook of poetry,It’s All in the Ginseng, and a memoir, Almighty Minus: A Spiritual Journey in Vertical Time.
In the shed there were bikes
A rusty shovel, wagon without wheels
A three-drawer dresser, swollen shut
Sun-dried nest of baby mice
The dust rained down like stars
Sparkling in the window light
Caught up in the spider webs
Resting thick on the rafters
It was a chaotic sort of quiet there
Among the rotting furniture
All the whispers of the past
Competing for attention
A carriage house in another lifetime
Which meant next to nothing to the child
Who only wanted to wrestle her bike out
From beneath the tomato cages
KELLY MOORE is a writer and artist living in upstate New York.