survey crew

by lesley-anne evans


Shock was not
canvas tents strung along
the shore of Lake Superior rather than sleazy
shag-carpeted motel rooms south of Marathon
no.

Shock was not flying clear dome bell chopper
black fly and bear territory
land-on-a-dime river side
in the middle of the God-forsaken-wilderness
or God’s country depending on how you look at it
no.

Shock was not watching Roy walk pissed off
straight into the bush for a three hour no map
bush-whack straight back to camp
to roll cigarettes
and hork into a smoldering fire
no.

Not night sky infinity
pin pricks bleeding out heaven
not silent adrenaline
pregnant pause voids
not hard luck off rez boys
drunk fireside fights
no.

Shock was
axe clean cut through boot and bone and
big Dan felled like a lodgepole, you pinned
like a bug to the forest floor.

 


“Survey Crew” was first published in The Antigonish Review Issue #177

pacific chorus

by lesley-anne evans


June hangs humid, and Spring Peepers 
call their lungs out just beyond 
the pasture fence. They are a wall 
of sound, a wave of mud dwellers 
all spit and polish in a lovestruck serenade
around the neighbour’s pond. 
  
Pacific Chorus of a thousand perfect pitch
and all for some lithe gal the next field over,
an unsuspecting young thing in a hot chase 
of the more and less suited. She’s empty bellied
and he’s thinking she’s a dish 
best served soon, riparian delight.

She waits at a meadow edge, held by voices 
vying for her and her sisters. All she needs
is a moments peace, hush 
in the dark, to consider if a mass of eggs 
between her legs 
is what she really longs for - with the moon ball 
suspending time, a woodland 
of knowing eyes, skunk cabbage 
unfolding herself, and the pond abuzz 
with fairy moth, mayfly, and water strider.

His green question lingers like eighth notes 
on the stave of her skin,

					dolce 
					delicato 
					dolchissimo 

the repetitious nature of hunger.

and so it goes

by lesley-anne evans


A resident must ensure that no air conditioning units, laundry, flags, clothing, bedding
or other articles are hung or displayed from windows, balconies or other parts
of the building so that they are visible from outside of the building.

Let’s imagine she hauls the basket up the iron steps around back 
and hangs the socks, toe first. Next the shirts, always upside down, 
measuring out the pegs and their double duty, one shirt holding
hands with the next, grasping the next. This pattern 
of one of these things is just like the other, over and over 
along parallel lines, swung over the garden 
where strawberries promise jam in matching jars 
when she gets to it later. Pillowcase and towel flags 
celebrate morning and the sun bleached fresh they’ll share come dark.

“Works and Services” includes highways, sidewalks, boulevards, boulevard
crossings, transit bays, street lighting, wiring, water distribution systems,
fire hydrant systems, sewage collection and disposal systems, drainage collection
and disposal systems and such other infrastructure or systems as may be provided
within the City from time to time.

Let’s say we’re with him in the drive shed tinkering, oil under his nails 
and it won’t wash out. He’s staked the tomatoes, harvest is heavy 
this year. His brother’s coming to take steers from their mothers 
and move them up the east field, their wet noses meet him at the fence 
each morning he puts down alfalfa. They question his intent,
but no use working himself up when the south gate needs mending
and cherries are due for spray. Each day has work enough of its own. 

The Noise Control Bylaw regulates or prohibits the making of
objectionable noise within the City of Kelowna that may disturb the quiet or
enjoyment of other individuals. Objectionable noises include playing radios
and stereos at high volume, or keeping animals or birds which by their noise
unduly disturbs the surrounding neighbourhood.

Let’s picture Sunday afternoon and they’re all there, blankets 
spread on the grass, boy cousins playing stick ball, girls all whispers 
and giggles. He looks at her sitting across from him, remembers
how she planted whips in the fields alongside the men. How her mouth 
is a rose opening, her legs summer gold and capable of carrying them 
well through winter. He bites into his pie, Macintosh, cinnamon,
pastry flakes on his tongue, the flavour of what the land gives
and what it withholds. She leans over, her finger to his mouth 
returns to hers. A taste of him and the pie, that sweetness 
taken in, as she will welcome his body 
in, their harvest in a small house 
by the side of a gravel road.

“Parcel” means any lot, block, or other area in which land is held or into
which land is subdivided, but does not include a Highway.
“Subdivide" or "Subdivision" means:
(a) the division of land into two or more Parcels whether by plan, apt
descriptive words, 
or otherwise;
(b) the consolidation of Parcels into one Parcel by plan; or
(c) the creation of a Highway or a portion of a Highway by plan.

We’ll end it here, say nothing of yellow excavators, fallow fields, 
a sign crudely taped to their white front door. We’ll downplay entirely 
asbestos removals and shattered foundations. We certainly won’t mention 
the grandson’s salvage operation, his pickup and flat bed trailer 
with the old drive shed loaded high, a land barge 
floating long down the lane way, dust clouds in waves,
the field of ripening alfalfa. 


Portions of text taken from the City of Kelowna Civic Bylaws, “intended
to keep Kelowna clean, healthy and safe. City Council enacts bylaws that are
created, interpreted and administered by a number of City divisions and departments.
Bylaw Services promotes, facilitates and enforces general compliance with bylaws
that pertain to the health, safety and welfare of the community.” 
(http://www.kelowna.ca/CM/page1329.aspx)

vineyard

by lesley-anne evans


To walk a vineyard’s long line,
the thrumming rhyme
of post and wire, post and wire,
post and wire. Gnarled stumps
of last year’s growth pruned back hard
to four thin arms, how
everything waits
from the ground up.
Rivers of stone hand gathered
and laid down row by row by row
to warm the waking roots,
this pause, this expectancy,
this too is a prayer.

country mice

by amber dawn


crickets, monarchs, paints and sparrows
frenchman river, sweet grass sky holds still
out here everything stops
for the wind

— “everything holds still for the wind,” Leah Horlick
 

We find each other
in the cosmopolitan squint, polished
concrete, smoked chrome rooms.
She’s hard to peg at first
lace dress chic, prosecco cocktail
starry in her hand. She’s been
chin-upped by the west. Tested
by an incomprehensible horizon
and passed, but for her pose and bend.
For the wind

that sweeps the wide-open
motherland has left her
with a slant stance, sideways
as corn bowed to a storm.
I too am made
from orchard and axe, crop
and scythe, harvest born
humble earth miles and years
behind me. It’s all rock
out here. Everything stops

making sense in the seam
of mountains and million
dollar condos, high-rise residential
more density, more gravel, more glass, more.
Where I come from elevators
are for nursing homes or sawmills.
She sees the soiled knees of my jeans
knows I kneel to a once-was prayer
late waterways, bygone wells
forgotten river. Sweet grass sky holds still

during these vigils, holds space
for choked swamp, cedar stump
tributaries split from the ocean
Vancouver’s bloodstone—step forward.
My home is a backwards stamp, like hers.
parched-lawn green, forever level.
Now we find each other turned by urban obstacles.
The far-removed markers we share and seek
chokecherries, ink caps, chorus frogs, golden yarrow
crickets, monarchs, paints and sparrows

 


“Country Mice” was previously published in Where the Words End and My Body Begins (Arsenal Pulp Press, Spring 2015)

coyotes on the edge of town

by sean arthur joyce


— New Denver, BC, March, 2014
 

Crisp March night
under half-moon sky.
Coyotes on the edge of town
throating the song of the forest—
fluted, wild as an icy crag,
flawless ease
of ancient lore,
all the dogs silent.

What shivers
is the sub-zero night.
Moon-carved shoulder
of Goat Mountain
an eerie resonator.
Cobalt blue of winter sky
brilliant—stark against fir
steeped in black.
One thing is sure
amongst so much doubt—
a voice
calling out mastery
from the dark

exhibit: in the woods, outside duncan, british columbia

by renée sarojini saklikar


That a bomb is made. That is known.
That the bomb is set off, that is known, in the woods, outside Duncan, cousin-town
                        to the village Paldi.




*



Of all the locations in Empire, real and imagined, past and present,
                        It is here: June 1985, 
there are no straight lines— 




if there is a man, he is making detonation—
                        Time loads up incident.
                        In recounting there is implication. 
                        Describe all particulars.


                        Piney scented,
                                    the woods.                    Where is
the past 
                                    also present


we never speak of it

 


“Exhibit: in the woods, outside Duncan, British Columbia” was previously published in children of air india, un/authorized exhibits and interjections, (Nightwood Editions, 2013)

low tide

by diane tucker


low tide, and everything hidden
is now uncovered: the black weed, certainly
but also the upright fields of barnacles fighting
for space with the black mussels, these
gathered like a thousand shiny goat hooves
tied up and down the oily piles

the air is not their native habitat
in the breeze they clamp tight shut
nothing moist and pulsing
must be open to the sunlight

and we admire their defense, breathe
in sweetly their walls’ salt smell

when the tide lowers around our own
wet hearts there is no shield to slam
no doors we can clap closed around it
like the lid covers the glittering slick eyeball

no dreaming in briny bone-cells
for our washed up, low tide hearts

while the sun shines, they must lie
still in it, let their tissue-thin skin crack
and curl open, gasping in the open air

tides change
turn and return
barnacles and mussels, even the black
weed crunched in the sand, know
the tide will miss them and come back

our hearts, baking in their cracked-up
hides, lose all knowing, can breathe only
shallowly for reasons they cannot remember
trying not to lose what’s left of slippery life


“Low Tide” was first published in Bonsai Love, by Diane Tucker (Harbour Publishing, 2014, www.harbourpublishing.com) and is shared here with permission.

blue melodica

by diane tucker


The wet-felt overcast air packed
into the August afternoon is scattered,
cooled by your melodica and your voice
in old French song.

The humidity gathers itself
into raindrops and rushes to you.
It throws you all its tiny silver coins.

All the damp sweaty scurriers,
tourists and shoppers, be damned.
You are going to sing.

Thank you for your blue-boxed breath,
your thin paisley dress dripping
bohemian beside designers’ doors.

At the rushing hour of the afternoon
you pull harried ears to the curb,
bring into focus the waiting bench
and the fresh tree. Your song’s
momentum speeds us into stillness.

vancouver dry-dock

by diane tucker


The gulls’ shadows, temporary crows,
rush up the dock’s rust-stained sides,
meeting their white-as-angel selves at its lip,
all under the gaze of two yellow
tyrannosaur cranes on their bee-striped feet.

Some of the black bird-shapes are real crows
and the rest are seagulls’ shadows, wider,
their wings narrower and knife-shaped, gulls
trying to paint themselves up the vast grey
building’s side. But the image never sticks
and they fly by again: living, rising brushes.

The crows are smaller and smug in the distance,
racing up and meeting their shadow-selves
in the sky. But they can’t streak it either, great
horizontal slab a block long, metal tunnel
disgorging ships, wall of wind gathered and pressed
flat and swung up perpendicular to the water.

Into this both crows and gulls slam their shadows,
scrape them up its sides, sweep them back down
again, day after day of invisible avian ink making
time itself the paint against the wall, a streaked
and graven web of swift calligraphy.