an act of growth


Jay Besemer


Jay Besemer is the author of the poetry collections Theories of Performance (The Lettered Streets Press, 2020), The Ways of the Monster (KIN(D) Texts and Projects/The Operating System, 2018), Crybaby City (Spuyten Duyvil, 2017), Chelate (Brooklyn Arts Press, 2016) and Telephone (Brooklyn Arts Press, 2013). He was a finalist for the 2017 Publishing Triangle Award for Trans and Gender-Variant Literature and was included in the groundbreaking anthology Troubling the Line: Trans and Genderqueer Poetry and Poetics. Find him online at www.jaybesemer.net and on Twitter @divinetailor.



Derek Webster



In the morning
I turn it in my hand,
a stunned thing 

wonder of ivory
hooks, iridescent
feathered skin. 

What was that
—green, invisible—
what was lost 

am I
night waiting
in its undercoat 

my own helplessness,
slow shiver 

in one wing?




Derek Webster’s Mockingbird (Signal) was a finalist for the 2016 Gerald Lampert Award for best poetry debut. He received an MFA from Washington University in St. Louis and was the founding editor of Maisonneuve. His poetry and prose have appeared in many publications including The Malahat Review, The New Quarterly, Boston Review, The Walrus, and elsewhere. He lives in Montreal.


Monty Reid




The Lockdown Elegies





The normal ghosts



at the normal time.


I don’t like the looks of them

any better.


They look like they still

don’t understand


what is revealed when they leave.





Dead masks

flower in the Costco parking lot.


The air has passed through them

so many times


it must now be improved.


As a kiss is improved

by the kissing.





The bereavement multiplier

has included you among the bereft.


For every loss there are 9 additional losses.


Until everyone is lost.


And everyone is found.





The curtains are always drawn

over my neighbors’ house


and I can’t tell if they’re sleeping

or partying again

so I suspect the worst.


But then I find out

they left a while ago

and there’s nothing behind the curtains


except the dust

and it could be dancing like crazy.





Already, I’m nostalgic for the lockdown

even tho it’s still here.


I’ll always love

the smell of hand sanitizer


and sex in mid-afternoon

just because everybody’s home

and bored with zoom.


Don’t worry, the camera was off.


Except for that one time

and you missed it.





In the particles of the present



In the small grit of the now place.


I want to see the world differently





Monty Reid is poet living in Ottawa.  Among his most recent books are The Luskville Reductions (Brick) and Garden (Chaudiere), and chapbooks from above/ground, postghost, corrupt press, and other small publishers.  He was the Managing Editor of Arc poetry Magazine for many years and is currently the Director of VerseFest, Ottawa's international poetry festival. 




Natalie Simpson



from one unit of her body
to the next shambling refuge
from one torrent of mystery
to another formless garment
from one braid to lexicons
from mercury to hailsong
to catapults to trills
from one looping engagement
from depth to caressing
from leisure to winnowing need
from one limit of her apprehension
to the extension of her mapped pleasure
an endless girl tallying loss



Natalie Simpson is the author of accrete or crumble (LINEbooks 2006) and Thrum (Talonbooks 2014). Her poetry has appeared in several anthologies, including The Best Canadian Poetry in English, and many chapbooks, most recently Anonymous (Widow) Anonymous (Wife) (The Blasted Tree 2020). She practices pro bono law in Calgary.


the end of the noctuid series


Jay Besemer



Jay Besemer is the author of the poetry collections Theories of Performance (The Lettered Streets Press, 2020), The Ways of the Monster (KIN(D) Texts and Projects/The Operating System, 2018), Crybaby City (Spuyten Duyvil, 2017), Chelate (Brooklyn Arts Press, 2016) and Telephone (Brooklyn Arts Press, 2013). He was a finalist for the 2017 Publishing Triangle Award for Trans and Gender-Variant Literature and was included in the groundbreaking anthology Troubling the Line: Trans and Genderqueer Poetry and Poetics. Find him online at www.jaybesemer.net and on Twitter @divinetailor.


Things I Want in My Coffin

Ashley Prince



Not that time will matter, but my watch from Dad.

Line it with a quilt made by Mom and Grandma;

a treasured, stitched hug warming the passage.

A pen and paper. Book of Canadian poetry.

The postcards of our travels, those nights we danced

to blues music, the image of our secluded lake.

Throw in a map in case I get lost along the way.

It’d be nice to know I look alluring, so please

keep my hair long and dress me in a skirt.

The words that had yet to touch these lips

or be engraved across a page - bury them.

Tuck in that tiny little bit of my heart, put on reserve

if he had ever wanted me back - he’s lost his chance.

But please leave out my wit and ability to laugh,

pair it with my love and optimism; embody them

in those solitary nights when even mice prefer

to remain silent, afraid of catching grief.



Ashley Prince is a writer and social worker from the Ottawa Valley, Ontario. She holds a BA from the University of Prince Edward Island and a MSW from Carleton University. She has been published in bywords.ca, the UPEI Arts Review and has a poem forthcoming in The Maynard.


Three erasures

Shiksha S Dheda






Shiksha S Dheda is a South African of Indian descent. She uses poetry (mostly) to express her internal and external struggles and journeys, inclusive of her OCD and depression roller-coaster ventures. Mostly, however, she writes in the hopes that someday, someone will see her as she is; an incomplete poem.

Her work has been featured (on/forthcoming) in Mixed Mag, Aerodrome journal, Poetry Potion, Visual Verse, The Kalahari Review, Brave Voices, Glitchwords, Neuro Logical, Versification, Dead Fern Press and Resurrections Magazine.


the snow geese in conway might not be geese at all


Constance Bacchus



they might be swans from a
russian fairy tale flying around
w/a borrowed lake as they land
on the much flooded valley of
green below little mountain spaced
off of I-5 close enough to party
on the beach w/oysters & crab
off of march’s point they throw
dice go to the casino run like a
girl in burlington see the tulip
festival pick up ice cream in fir
island under cotton balls of blue grey 

the snow geese are munching on
thanksgiving lefse in stanwood
hunting for glass globes entertaining
people driving home w/a
curtain of ah! as they rise 



Constance Bacchus lives with her daughter in the Pacific Northwest near Grand Coulee Dam. She has writing in or forthcoming in City Brink, Revolute, Salmon Creek Journal, Dreich, Cirque, Shrub-Steppe Poetry Journal and Cathexis Northwest. Her first poetry collection is named Lethe (Cyberwit, 2020) and a second one is due out soon. She has some writing at Them Dam Writes Online.


card shop


Lisa Marie Brimmer


I had guard / skills too but I never grew / my thick baby arms / only
thickened when I read / angelou / I thought about cages and cabinets
I remembered how they were carved / springs in the river’s shoreline 

a new and natural image / dirt stamped on ho-chunk land / a people
who kept returning and I wondered  / to where / we walked down
sauk street / to mr. wilson’s card shop / the front porch LLC / sauk
land / we opened topps packs / like asmr before asmr / we made trade 

on the Victorian sleepout / on red showroom carpet / sacred land
a company / the self-protection of with collectible childhoods / in
elementary gym class / wilson made short legs / run hills / on sauk 

glass cabinets / illumed Souix idols / pez dispenser oversees trade
visitor guide / I used to keep / an eye on Horace’s / plastic goggles
the eagles passing over the river /we would run up to touch water
towers / rush towards totems of colony rusted in disuse / we 

scrambled up the rain wet stones / yes there was pushing / asthma
attacks struggle / yes weeping / sweating / guilt / yes we wanted to
go home / pleading where can we go where can we go





Lisa Marie Brimmer is a poet, essayist and theatre artist born on Ho-Chunk land now living on Dakota and Anishinaabe-Ojibwe land in so-called Minneapolis, MN. They are published in The Public Art Review, Gasher, Open Rivers, and The Alliance of Adoption Studies and Culture Journals, Konch Magazine and multiple anthologies. @leesuhmaroon & LisaMarieBrimmer.com


alternative medicine noun

Domenico Capilongo



definition of alternative medicine

: any of various systems of healing or treating disease (such as chiropractic, homeopathy, or faith healing) not included in the traditional medical curricula of the U.S. and Britain


hidden whispers of ingredients found only in sicily. smuggled in the hollow bottoms of suitcases. we had to wait for nonna to visit, unpack, and ration them out. roots, leaves, or lemons wrapped carefully in napkins. powders for cuts, top-quality bandages, creams for all ailments. little treasures stuffed in the back of the bathroom medicine cabinet. fizzy brioschi for stomach aches was my favourite. I would steal the deep blue plastic bottle and shake some out like nuts. the twisty white granules piling in the palm of my hand, worm-like. the fizz filling my swollen cheeks. one day, my toddler brother was caught in the grip of a screaming fit in a dark greek restaurant on the danforth. the waitress, shocked, whispered, malocchio, the evil eye. my mother’s face went white. she knew what she had to do. long distance telephone calls, drops of olive oil in bowls of water. a series of prayers and the wringing of hands. until he stopped.



Domenico Capilongo is a Toronto high-school creative writing teacher and Karate instructor. His first two books of poetry, I thought elvis was italian, hold the note and short fiction collection, Subtitles, were shortlisted for several awards. His latest books of poetry, send, is about the way we communicate. His work has been featured in several anthologies as well as national and international literary journals. He has recently finished a manuscript about words that were born in the 1970s. He also writes an interview series called Un Momento for italocanadese.com. Find out more about him at: domcapilongo.wixsite.com/home


Dean Jocelin


Jeremy Luke Hill


I am he, laughing, chin up, and shaking
my head, spokes and wheels and a fire 

at the spine. My will is in the pillars
and in the high wall. I saw the pinnacle, 

an image in stone, but water invaded the graves
of the great. The foundationless pebbles stirred 

with the slow stirring of grubs, and the earth
urged them this way and that, like porridge 

coming to the boil in a pot, and the grubs
were made to crawl by it, as dust crawls 

on the head of a tapped drum, as Satan
rose out of the west, clad in nothing but hair. 

I tied my chosen ones to the sky
with bands of iron, cabled and riveted, 

but their glory bent my spine. The tower swayed
like a tall tree above the blue cup of earth.  

– from William Golding’s The Spire



Artist Statement: These poems from a series of poems entitled, "I Am What They Make Of Me". Each is written from the perspective of a character in a novel who has influenced me as a writer and as a person. The poems draw much of their language directly from the source texts, arranging and adapting them to emphasize the elements that speak most to my connection with the characters.


Jeremy Luke Hill is the publisher at Gordon Hill Press, a literary publisher based in Guelph, Ontario. He is also the Managing Director of Vocamus Writers Community, a non-profit community organization that supports book culture in Guelph. He has written a collection of poetry, short prose, and photography called Island Pieces; four chapbooks of poetry called Poetry of Thought, CanCon, Trumped, and These My Streets; two poetry broadsheets called Grounded and Indexical; and a series of poetry broadsheets called Conversations with Viral Media. He also writes a semi-regular column on chapbooks for The Town Crier. His writing has appeared in in ARC Poetry, The Bull Calf, CNQ, CV2, EVENT Magazine, Filling Station, Free Fall, The Goose, HA&L, The Maynard, paperplates, The Puritan, Queen Mob’s Tea House, The Rusty Toque, The Town Crier, and The Windsor Review.