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Canadian Literary Journal
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  • 02/03/15--18:56: Somewhere Warm, With No Snow
  • by Heather Debling Barbara pointed to the chicken she wanted. It would have bothered her once: the wholeness of the meat, the unplucked skin, the head lolling about, the wattle—if she looked at it hard enough, long enough—still seeming to shudder. But after her trip, she would find what was once normal to be unnatural, her stomach turning at all the headless little chicks lined up in a row at the grocery store, cling-wrap worn like a second skin, tight hospital corners to hold in the juices.

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  • 03/03/15--05:39: Frostbite
  • by Helen Rossiter There is a moment between sleep and wakefulness when anything is possible. You know in that fraction of a second, before your brain clicks into gear, that you are flying or dancing with the stars, or that you are alone in a dark cavern. It’s a fragment of time when the impossible and the implausible might frighten or amuse, but don’t strike you as odd.

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    by Gary Thomson The Chester Billings parkette gathered Clara Knox and her friends many summer afternoons when the companions were between engagements. That was Louella Dickens’ term—engagements—for part time work that paid little, and ended soon after it began. Clara was watching two gulls squabble around an overfull rubbish bin. She bristled when Richie O’Brien nodded towards her cigarets. “Give us a smoke, Clara? I’ll pay you back next weekend.” When pigs wear bow ties, Clara thought. To extend her smoking needs over several days, Clara took care when she left the parkette to leave the open packet with Ayaaz Mahmood who owned the convenience store across the road. He stowed it behind his cash counter in a plastic hold-all with his stapler and a topless ballpoint pen. The surrender of her cigarets was a moral aid towards eventually quitting.

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  • 07/14/15--06:33: The Red Kite
  • by Paula Dunning Rachel is driving the riding mower back and forth across the lawn, the first mowing of the season. It’s springtime-cool—she’s wearing a light jacket, and a bright red scarf holds back her greying curls—but the midday sun is warm on her back. As she backs up to manoeuver around the hawthorn bush, she glances across the expanse of green to the house, where the rose bushes beside the deck are just putting out leaves. When she and Tom moved onto this farm forty years ago, a small yard surrounded the house. Back then, she pushed an old mower that spewed out black smoke while the kids piled up the clippings to make hay for toy cows.

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  • 11/23/15--07:29: Bloom
  • by Brent van Staalduinen Every time I see you in the spring, your hands are dark with the expensive soil you till into those waiting flower beds. It comes in big yellow bags and never sits for long—within days the shovel and wheelbarrow are out for your annual spring performance, you the director, your husband the reluctant player. But today, it’s just you. The hem of the black dress you wore to the service is hiked up, and your knees are as muddy as your hands.

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  • 01/18/16--10:43: Wormwood and Strawberries
  • By Susan Hroncek They said the old woman ate children, but I never believed it. Children disappeared; it’s just something that happened. Some wandered too close to the steel mills or the lake. Others were snatched from the park or on the way home from school. And some simply ran away. Anything to escape the taunting, the fists, the pollution that painted the sky orange and coated our world in coal-black dust.

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    Jamie enters the glass-panelled Sanctuary, interspersed with shades of green; the door whisks closed behind her as she balances her matcha tea. She digs out keys for the simian rooms. Fleur watches as Jamie enters, but stays on her perch as the windows slide back. The chimp doesn’t take the offered apple.

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  • 05/31/16--13:23: The Witches on Floor Fifteen
  • by Brian Rowe The little witch sucks on a lollipop, her lips and chin covered in a pumpkin shade of orange, as she peers inside the hospital room. A tall black hat covers her hair, and her brown silk dress has a large vampire cape that stretches down to her shoes. She holds a small […]

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  • 07/31/16--15:34: Army of You
  • by Jason S. Ridler Dave, I’m dispensing with formalities because it is my last day. Please, read all of what’s below. Some of it is old hat. But the truth is in the details. I want you to know the truth. To help stem the tide of what you unleashed. I’m reminded of my grandfather’s […]

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  • 08/31/16--13:30: Tromba
  • by Frederick Senese In that country, they don’t bury the dead. They pile the bodies on a criss-cross platform of logs and sticks out in the forest, so the flies can eat. The life drips off the bones until what remains is pure, pristine, perfect. Bleached ribcages scoured by the wind, seashell skulls washed by […]

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  • 10/02/16--14:55: Happily Ever After
  • by Mary J. Breen I can’t imagine how people can go on television and tell their stories to the whole blessed world. Like on Oprah, although she does seem like a nice person. Today I watched a show called Abusive Husbands in the Military and The Wives Who Love Them. Couldn’t have been hard to find […]

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  • 10/31/16--10:47: Lisa Morriss-Andrews
  • Lisa Morriss-Andrews studied theatre arts, chemistry, French and Russian, and obtained her MAC in Research. Then she abandoned academics to write full-time. In 2006 she attended the Banff Mountain Writing Program (Banff Centre), and, in 2011, the Summer Literary Seminars: Vilnius, Lithuania. She has won local writing awards, an international online award and a number […]

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  • 10/31/16--11:29: Birds of Paradise
  • by Lisa Morriss-Andrews Mother calls out for my oldest sister, Miranda. Her voice bleats into the sterile silence like a lost child, startled from a nightmare. Death is a nightmare . . . for my mother. An extraordinary and unexpected event. “How terrible . . . how could this possibly happen!” she would exclaim, each […]

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  • 02/08/17--18:36: Angel Food & Rhinestones
  • by Carol Jones The worst part of purging the contents of my parents’ house was that my parents weren’t dead. Gone but not yet dead, I repeated, forcing myself to tackle another box, another closet, another drawer. My husband and I piled the things we wanted to keep in the living room, the things to […]

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  • 03/09/17--08:09: No Fairy-Tale Ending
  • by Hege Anita Jakobsen Lepri The lights in the interrogation room had been dimmed, making the laminate table look almost like real wood. She wasn’t quite sure when that had happened. Probably they’d done it in tiny increments so she wouldn’t notice. They knew how to transform a situation here. It was the good cop’s turn […]

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  • 04/19/17--07:18: Mildred Mendelson
  • by Naomi Lakritz “How are we doing today?” “I’m fine. However, I can’t answer for you. You’ll have to decide for yourself how you are. I’m no judge of that. What’s your name? I can’t read it. They make these name tags so tiny nowadays.” “Kayleigh.” “I cannot imagine a future populated by people named […]

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  • 08/07/17--11:50: Twelve Days
  • by Karin Aurino I have this perfect life—a perfect husband, three happy children, a beautiful home in the City of Angels—even the neighbours are nice. So why am I hiding in my bedroom? Because everything that was good, has somehow turned bad. So I’ll stay upstairs. Problem solved. Downstairs, my husband will be drinking a […]

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  • 09/11/17--07:54: Burning Rubber
  • by Jennifer Marr “Well, aren’t you turning into a little lady.” The doctor glances at my chest, then makes note of something on his pad. He turns to my mother. “Have you given any further thought to sterilization?” “My husband and I wonder if maybe we should hold off until she gets her first period? […]