“I Still Taste Salt” by Caragana Ennis


last night I watched the tide polish stones to nothing 
the crunch   of waves on rocks 
thorny branches and the smell of salt 
I raised generations of daughters 
echoes and echoes and echoes 
twigs like teeth and tangled hair 
nothing sounds quite like the sea 
sky grey like a sidewalk wet with rain like 
exhaust fumes like dust that collects in corners 
grey like illness   like endings 
but I was a bird who had never left her island 
so the sky was grey like the sky is grey 
and the waves sounded like waves sound 
and we did as gulls in dream-constructed islands do 
stuck to the trees mostly 
leaving the beaches to team with small   life 
candy-coloured crabs and slimy things living in sometimes puddles 
everything awash in brine and branches bleached white 
and I had lived longer than any bird should 
decades  of collecting food for my flock 
of measuring the curve of horizon to sea
watching the young turn old as tides do 
revealing scattered treasure and sweeping things away 
what happens to those who grow old without growing wise? 
I collected twigs and tried to pretend that the messy line of blue 
where water meets cloud 
was the edge of everything 
but I was well read as birds go 
I knew of infinite somethings 
I knew my wings could never carry me far enough to see them
I knew I was running out of time 
so when thorn thrown shadows grew unbearably long 
and the company of the young no longer made me feel youthful 
I flew to the edge of the sea 
and with a voice of cracked eggshells 
of sun-baked starfish and storms that drown sailors 
I screamed to the sea about the injustice 
of being given something so sweet 
so dirty and painful and exquisite 
that was always always going to be taken away 
when I wake up 
I still taste salt 

CARAGANA ENNIS is a queer woman of settler ancestry living in Treaty Six territory on Turtle Island. She recently completed her Honours English BA and will begin her English MA through the University of Saskatchewan in the fall. She is an organizer and performer in the Saskatoon Spoken Word community. 

“Synapse” by Clara Nencu


Like the forked branches of a tree
Whose trunk rests straight and strong,
Split is the mind divided in decision. 

But nothing shakes its core—
It, unlike the wind, is rock. 

Only thin twigs tremolo, and snap 
Under the might and pressure
Of temporary gales.

Born in Bucharest and bred in the banlieues of Montreal, CLARA NENCU is a twenty-seven year old writer, teacher, and editor with a background in English literature. 

“Launch” by Chris H. Sakellaridis


The Fates 
launched the player
the instrument the god made
next to the shining
ours is
the time-bound 
the rocking bridge
between oceans
the splitting moment
between borders 
spheres and forces;
ours too

the pain of endings.

CHRIS H. SAKELLARIDIS was born in London but grew up in Crete. His work has appeared in magazines and anthologies in the UK, Greece, Ireland, Spain and Italy. He co-produced and wrote the motion poem ‘Transmission’ (https://vimeo.com/190275599) which was featured in international festivals and has participated as a reader in poetry events and performances.

“Hands and Mirror” by Joshua S.


What are they good for these claws
Gathering daffodils in Macondo?

Has all this not happened before,
The rearing of cognizance to heights? 

Where is the fire of love
That lay beyond images,
Beyond words? 

Are hands real
If all they do is mirror me 
And I them? 

JOSHUA S. has been living and writing in Montreal for over ten years. He studied anthropology and history at McGill University. He is the first writer of his family.

“Claude Claudette” by Cassie Doubleday


I do not like the voice I have
I wish it was originally sweet
Le français, something comme ca 

I can order coffee—and cigarettes, too
…with the voice I have
Mais je suis Anglophone; 
I’ll never be as classy as you.

CASSIE DOUBLEDAY is a Canadian poet, writer, and journalist currently living in France. She has a graduate diploma in journalism from Concordia University. Her work has been published in Subversions Magazine, The Canadian University Press, Cult MTL, ForgetTheBox.net, The Link, and others.

“(Dis)obedient Girl” by Marjorie Silverman


You should wear more make-up
(Translation: you don’t look feminine)

That colour washes you out
(Explanation: you don’t know what’s best)

Is it time for a haircut?
(Paraphrase: you have unused potential)

Are you sure you want to wear that?
(Interpretation: you reflect badly on me)

Did you gain some weight?
(Rewording: I want to control you)

You don’t want to shave?
(Revision: don’t make waves)

But you used to look so pretty
(Summary: remain an obedient girl)


You don’t have to look far.
The answers are all there.
Whenever you’re wondering.
Move back in time with me. 

MARJORIE SILVERMAN is a former Montrealer now based in Ottawa. She is an emerging writer who has published in The MaynardMontréal Writes, and Bywords. She is currently working on a full-length poetry manuscript. Marjorie is also a professor of social work at the University of Ottawa.

Poems by Ilona Martonfi



Some days I’ve caught the universe 

living smaller lives 
nourished by the breath 
giving a low hoarse croak

I’ve been alone here, 

heard the sound of flapping egret wings 
in slow flight low over brackish wetlands
was not part of a system 
was the answer that to

think that it was a breeding plumage
bright green facial skin, yellow bill 
informing the lyrics, the night, 

done it all my life. Joining the dots
we cared. We’ve swapped roles
renovated aphoristic storytelling 

threading carcinogenic city streets

feeling rage, an impulse to howl

dragonflies and damselflies, whirligig beetles, 
waiting motionless for prey, 
stalking their victim

habitats for migration stopover sites 
but what truth would they be masking? 
Cut off mid-sentence

dark, windowless.

Is it posthumous? Dazed and irradiated

white is an absolute silence. List of names. All
names taken from tombstones.

Dancing under azure light of summertime.


I am fond of deer dung
sprouting fungus
to catch a female’s attention
I sing up the land
rainforests of Papua:
took years to build
completely roofed over
dead twigs
rose purple, carmine, claret
pieces of sea shell
scarlet, orange
what’s in it for me?
Eucalyptus leaves
vermillion feathers
laced lichen
magenta sun 
red moon
carpet of moss
plainest of the family
olive brown, polygynous 
black stems of tree ferns
beetle wings, orchids
properly arranged
do my courtship:
she, a single mother
lays her eggs
while I try to impress 
another lass.

ILONA MARTONFI is the author of four poetry books, Blue Poppy, Black Grass, The Snow Kimono and Salt Bride. Her work has published in numerous journals across North America and abroad. Five chapbooks, Visiting the Ridge, Charivari, Magda, Adagio and Mud. Her poem “Dachau on a Rainy Day” was nominated for the 2018 Pushcart Prize. Artistic director of Visual Arts Centre Reading Series and Argo Bookshop Reading Series. QWF 2010 Community Award.

“The Phoenix” by Lee Weimer


The phoenix, graceful, lithe
from horizon to horizon
up to the heavens
and down to the earth below.

It is the first fire seen with naked eyes.
The brilliance of the first day
in the Orb placed to receive the light
it streaks within.

Igniting the fire
that will burn
thru all eternity.

LEE WEIMER: Growing up in the Northern Ontario bush country, paper was hard to find. My fascination started early with the printed page. The arrival of the Sears and Eaton’s catalogues was a big event in our little community. I remember pouring hundreds of hours into its’ glossy pages; visualizing myself as the perfectly dressed little girl who had everything; on paper. I’ve been a dreamer and scribbler ever since.I’ve been doing a lot of re-visiting and re-structuring of childhood memories. It comes out in bizarre ways. But I’ve learned to accept the unacceptable.

“From Delft to MTL” by Audrey Hébert (translated by Deborah Ostrovsky)


The Girl with the Pearl Earring
works at the wedding ring counter 
at Birks

Delft 4ever on her index finger
soft, smooth voice 
she and Scarlett Johansson resemble each other 
like two drops of Smirnoff

Vermeer gets pissed off when she dances 
in the bars on Saint-Laurent
with those nobodies
his sketches are filled with spasms

at last call he pulls out his iPhone
and takes a selfie with her

true memories are all on JPEG

*from the collection HOCHELAGURLS, 2018.

AUDREY HÉBERT‘s first book of poetry, HOCHELAGURLS was published in 2018 by Éditions de l’Écrou. Hébert was born in what is known by residents as the Hochelag (Hochelaga-Maisonneuve). In 2015 she finished an MA in Art History on the needlework of the French artist Louise Bourgeois. She is now completing a doctorate. Upon doing genealogical research she discovered she is distantly related to the writer Anne Hébert (although she would have preferred being related to Edie Sedgwick).

DEBORAH OSTROVSKY lives in Montreal where she is an editor, writer, and translator. Her creative non-fiction, essays and satire can be found in carte blanche, Geist, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Tablet, and other magazines and journals. She is the recipient of the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund and the Marian Hebb Research Grant, and was chosen by the Writers’ Trust of Canada’s as a Rising Star in 2019. She recently returned from a self-directed writing residency at the Banff Centre for the Arts. Her previous translations non-fiction by Sonia Anguelova and Francine Pelletier as well as other poems by Audrey Hébert.

‘Midnight is Dark Lunch’ by Ingrid Cui


When my girl is not in the room
I let myself down and climb
out of the divided line. I psychoanalyze
chunks in my skin, that phase of
my youth; your condescending
glance surveying my paper:
stop using that and which
when you don’t even know the difference.
Obey precocity’s flirt,
prostrate nietzsche at stone’s depth,
flaunt abercrombie stitches.

Meet the boys with white shirts
sipping high london tea, dream
chiaroscuro thrillers
in bars at deep midnight –
dorian tried opium
maybe you should too.
When the phase moves on,
give baudelaire a good burial.

My girl cannot stop the time;
she is gone, gone
through the crowd of loose
bodies, and her eyeshadow sways
music into stillness. He did this too, morgan,
smith; there must have been clubs back then.
There is nothing soft
about the dancing of animals.

When we go to denny’s after
I ask, what does a man amount to
if he only lives for three years?
You take my temperature
and tell me to eat my pancakes.


INGRID CUI is a student at the University of Toronto and an editor for The Trinity Review (https://www.thetrinityreview.com/). Her work has been published in L’Éphémère Review, Half a Grapefruit Magazine, Ghost City Review, and Poetry Institute of Canada.

Copyright © 2020 by Ingrid Cui. All rights reserved.