WordCity Literary Journal. July 2021

Table of Contents

Letter from the Editor, Darcie Friesen Hossack

darcie friesen hossack

Welcome to WordCity Literary Journal’s July 2021 issue.

For this collection, while we accepted works that address many different themes, we also expanded on one that was brought forward by our fiction editor, Sylvia Petter. Sylvia noted that 2021 marks only 50 years since Women in Switzerland won the right to vote.

Fifty years.

With few exceptions, most of this journal’s editorial board were alive in the world by that time.

In Canada, where three of the nine of us live, women’s suffrage, depending on the province, is about 100 years old. A time that is still alive in our most senior citizens.

Certainly, much has changed since that time. Women have entered, have often broken down the doors of opportunities and institutions that were previously closed to us.

And yet, women, here in Canada, in Switzerland, all around the world, are still not equal.

Continue Reading

Podcast by Jane SpokenWord

In this month’s podcast we introduce you to Nathan D. Horowitz. A writer, poet, devoted educator, translator and proof reader. He earned bachelor of arts degree in English from Oberlin College and a master of arts degree in Applied Linguistics from the University of Massachusetts. He currently Lives in Baltimore, MD. ~ Jane Spokenword

Nathan D. Horowitz in Conversation with Jane Spokenword

More about Nathan D. Horowitz and Jane Spokenword


Fiction. Edited by Sylvia Petter

July Fiction Prelude by Sylvia Petter


In the beginning was the story ….it´s always the story.

This fiction issue has long and shorter stories about persons who don´t necessarily fit the expected mould.

In Mitchell Toews’ “The Log Boom”, a father and son deliberate on how to inform émigré Dutch grandfather of his grandson´s coming out.

Gerald Shephard´s “The Silent Imagination” is a hallucinatory playlet accompanied by a corresponding image to help us focus.

Joshua Akemecha’s disconcerting story, “The Shaming of Oshia” transports us into another time and culture.

“Two Dead Poets” where A Poet Revisits Lorca’s Death, Madrid / Granada, July 1936, is by Roger Moore.

“Rasha´s Daughter” by Irena Karafilly is a timely reminder of our misconceptions.

Then there are stories about voting in Switzerland, which give me a certain Shirley Jackson feel. Having lived/worked in Switzerland during two plebiscites – 1974 The Schwarzenbach anti-immigration initiative – and the 2002 initiative for Switzerland to join the United Nations – I nearly missed the 50th anniversary of Swiss women having the right to vote which also had its stories presented in the form of a book aimed at inspiring young girls: 50 Amazing Swiss Women: True Stories You Should Know About (Bergli, 2021)

February 2021 marks the fiftieth anniversary of women’s right to vote in Switzerland. This book celebrates the diverse accomplishments, struggles and strengths of Swiss women. One-page biographies give readers a glimpse into the lives of fifty Swiss women – both historical and contemporary – who inspire and intrigue. Each biography is paired with a unique, color illustration by Swiss illustrator Mireille Lachausse.

Here, Katie Hayoz, one of the authors, tells the story of how the book came about.

Continue Reading…

Mitch Toews

mjt head shot

The Log Boom


Marty and Frederick

The two stood in a hard-packed dirt barnyard, facing the end wall of an old dairy barn. The smell of cows still permeated the air. It was sweet, fetid and oddly appealing — the kind of smell that was at first unpleasant but that, over time, one grew accustomed to. After a while, it was as if your nose craved it. Marty had always found that strange but undeniable. He craved it now.

The younger one of the two, a tall teenage boy, sniffed and peaked his eyebrows.

“Same smell,” he said.

“Yeah, there hasn’t been a cow here for six years, but…” Marty’s words trailed off as he tilted his head up to find the familiar scent.

Continue Reading

Gerald Shepherd

Gerald Shepherd


LEAD Technologies Inc. V1.01


The maker of pedestals meets the maker of goldfish bowls.


Two people enter holding saucepans from which flames emerge evoking a Neanderthal rain dance. The rain puts the people out but leaves the flames intact.

The First Person says: “The Earth in the form of a broom that has ceased sweeping is sick. A doctor is sent for. He arrives with a well sunk in his temple; at the bottom of the well is an eye – when the eye cries we can have water for our crops, when it closes we place our hands on our foreheads and groan. The old lady in the distance climbs down a serpent ladder while the gypsy princess climbs up – they meet almost in the middle like crows on a cliff top”.

The Second Person says “The sailor is a top hat and we must all climb to the top. The top is a hole in a mushroom cloud from which we can see shopping bags with wings come home from the seamen shops. A child clock on the mantelpiece chimes as the trees in neighbouring gardens consume each other and the strands of hairs that have escaped from the confines of old heads become smoke snakes in a land of hedgehog cars”.

Continue Reading

Joshua Akemecha

Joshua A

It was a day in April, but not April 1st, lest you conjecture that it was April fool! A day that would enter the annals of chroniclers in my Oshie clan as the date of the most ridiculous drama of the masked dance dubbed Oshia! The cosmic setting was Ogyi-Onwek, at the foot of the black rocky boulders of Togobei-Ku. This masquerade dance, aka Oshia, usually staged in honour of someone of late, a notable or a militant of the fetish cult, was here celebrating one of ours.

The actors here constituted of the audience, the drummers and the dancers. The dancers included a number of masquerades known as njid, dressed in fibre-woven gowns; the blouses attached to the swinging skirts called awanda. They went bare-foot, with rattles tied above the ankles of both legs. In one or both hands, they held whips cut from the stalks of banana plant leaves. Being naturally hostile towards on-lookers who did not belong to the cult, the whips were used to flog the unfortunate spectators who fell in their snare.

Continue Reading

Roger Moore

Roger Moore

Two Dead Poets
A Poet Revisits Lorca’s Death
Madrid / Granada, July 1936

Clouds gathered over the capital. A rising storm. Rumors slouched through streets and squares. Hunched in coffee-shops. Puffed at cigarettes. Struggled up stairways. Stumbled down alleyways. Lorca took it all in but was not taken in. He knew the signs. War marched through back streets and alleys. War. Civil war. It was time. Time for the poet to leave Madrid and return to Granada. He had family back home. And friends to protect him. That Falangist poet, still his best friend, a Black Shirt from the start. He’d know what to do and how to protect him.  He would be safe in the south. Among his own people. Warmth and sunshine. His own southern hills.

Continue Reading

Irena Karafilly

author's pic 4


It was agreed we would meet by the entrance to the park, where a young Mexican stood on weekends, wearing a sombrero, selling packaged ice cream. Mother, who was two months pregnant, was going to see a doctor, after which we were meant to shop for summer clothes. It was one day before Ramadan, three years after my family’s arrival from Saudi Arabia. Father, who owned a Halal butcher shop in Montreal North, had closed up for the holy month, much of which he would spend in prayer. That Saturday morning, though, he was only going to the bank and the barber’s, and so got talked into letting me tag along. I was six years old.

The spring day on which I was left in Father’s charge promised to be a perfectly ordinary one.  It had rained all night but the morning was mild and sunny, with the sharp, almost painful, brightness that follows a stormy night. Father was holding my hand.

“Watch out, don’t get your shoes wet!”

Continue Reading


Katie Hayoz

Katie Hayoz


February 2021 marks the fiftieth anniversary of women’s right to vote in Switzerland. This book celebrates the diverse accomplishments, struggles and strengths of Swiss women. One-page biographies give readers a glimpse into the lives of fifty Swiss women – both historical and contemporary – who inspire and intrigue. Each biography is paired with a unique, color illustration by Swiss illustrator Mireille Lachausse. 


I’ve lived in Switzerland for 25 years, yet it wasn’t until working on this book that I searched for Swiss heroines. For the first time ever, I realized how many important, influential, and yes, amazing Swiss women there are out there. History has been written in such a way that women are often left out, something we tend to accept as reality. Hopefully, this book will help to give a truer view of Swiss women’s impact on the country and the world.

Laurie Theurer first got the idea to write a book featuring some of the Swiss women she’d read about while researching her Swiss history book for children in 2019. She included a few of the women in Swisstory, but there were so many more she wanted to write about. Swiss women had done some fantastic things and Laurie wanted to share their stories to inspire kids and adults.

Continue Reading



Non-Fiction. Edited by Olga Stein

Olga Stein


Sussing out the Olympic Movement: Where are the Women?

As I tell the students in my sociology of sports course, the Olympics, and the organization at its centre, the International Olympic Committee, is worth studying. So much of what goes on in the world of sports—the good, the bad, and the ugly, pardon the cliché—converges on the Olympics. This includes unabashed nationalism and national rivalries, naked ambition or self-aggrandizement on the part of senior members of national sport organizations (NSOs), delegates, coaches, and participating athletes. Crass commercialism invariably rears its ugly head at the Games, and company logos are so ubiquitous that visitors to sports venues might experience a profound disconnect; they might feel as if they are somewhere other than in the city and country hosting the Games (critics of neoliberalism would argue that it’s the perfect instance of capitalism’s colonizing of the sphere of physical culture, as well as local culture more generally). Of course the branding of just about everything—which is also the selling of everything along with our collective soul—is a global phenomena. It’s just that this merging of business, sport, and an ideology that depends on zero-sum thinking and objectives, is nowhere as fully on display as it is at the Olympics. Darwinism acquires new layers of meaning at these international sport mega-events.

            The Olympics are truly a festival of universals. Everything noble or magnificent about the human spirit and body is to be witnessed there. Disappointment and heartbreak, which usually have to do with the limits of physical (as well as psychological) endurance, speed, and strength, are universal. The desire to overcome these limitations by any means also appears to be universal, as we’ve witnessed with findings of performance enhancing drugs that ended athletes’ careers, and the more egregious revelations of state-run doping programs: East Germany’s initially, and more recently, Russia’s. No doubt we’ll soon be reading about transgressions committed by American athletes and coaches, despite USADA’s trumpeting very loudly its commitment to clean athletics.

Continue Reading

Susan Glickman

Fallen Angel oil 16 x 20 May 2021

The Dove Dove

The scientific name for pigeon is Columbidae, a latinization of the Greek κόλυμβος (kolumbos), meaning “diver”, the name applied to pigeons in Ancient Greece and analogous to the English word “dove”, derived from to Old English dūfan: “to dive or plunge”. Some scholars dispute this etymology because pigeons are not aquatic, but after finding this beautiful specimen lying still and dead outside my door, I can easily imagine it diving headfirst into a tree reflected in the window.

I can imagine it diving eagerly into that mirage of green. I can imagine the shock of encountering that sudden barrier, followed instantly by pain beyond anything the creature had ever known, and then nothing, nothing, nothingness: a plunge into total dark. I can imagine an instant of bewilderment that the world was not what it had seemed to be, that safety was an illusion, that where buoyant spring air had beckoned there was instead something cold and hard and utterly alien. Something from the human world the bird usually swam above: a place of sharp angles and unnatural materials, corners and edges.

Continue Reading


Eva Salzman


Women’s Work




This anthology presents a panoramic selection of leading English-speaking modern poets, with an emphasis on bridging the US, UK and Ireland divides. You’ll find here a dazzling plurality of idiom, style and subject, well-established poets appearing with lesser known and newer voices deserving of a wider audience: the latest contemporary writers set in context against their heritage, to represent the full sweep of the modern period.

Given the space – and a more perfect world – these poets should appear alongside their male counterparts. That book is also overdue.[1] Given the space…well, usually there isn’t the space. All things being equal (which, mostly, things aren’t) editors largely agree that more men than women deserve more pages in mainstream anthologies purporting to reflect the canon; the “indispensable” list is still comprised predominantly of “men poets”. (Stephen Pain recommends the universal adoption of this phrase: “’man poet’ Ted Hughes, poet Sylvia Plath[2], ‘man poet’ Dylan Thomas, etc.” Imagine the Times Literary Supplement review of the “man-poet Seamus Heaney”! The long-awaited publication of Men Poets of the 20th Century!)

How to address a problem not seen as such? In the UK, any glaring gender imbalance is typically explained away as a “coincidence” here, an “accident” there. In that case, one should send for the doctors. If the selection criteria are indeed gender-blind, based on quality alone, this implied opinion of women’s writing is an offence demanding a response.

Continue Reading

Wade Cravath Bell


Why He Hasn’t Been Around      

The manic depressive’s outbursts are incomprehensible to others. After one, Theo was calm and possessed until his girlfriend said, “I will have to leave you. Your moods are killing me.”

His civil service job with its soul destroying boredom and inconsequentiality chaffed him raw. He wrote poems, stories. It didn’t help. Impotent before the fact of his condition, he raged. Yet he had to carry on with his life.

Making a distinction between depression and melancholy, he fell in love with melancholy. He longed for depression to end, to let the melancholy in. It was melancholy’s sweet, sweet sadness and what was behind it: the slowly rising sun.

Continue Reading

Literary Spotlight with Sue Burge

Dead [Women] Poets Society



Dead [Women] Poets Society (D[W]PS) is a collective which began in 2015.  Its aim is to resurrect women poets of the past, both in live events (séances) and online and also to raise awareness of women’s wide-ranging and profound literary heritage, and open up conversations between living writers and these often forgotten and side-lined women.  It’s a great mission statement to have.  During the event, two featured poets present a dead female poet and bring her back to life by reading her work and then performing their own poems, written specially for the evening and which are in deep conversation with the resurrected poets.  D[W]PS evenings also include an open-mic section, with a difference: you can only read one of your own poems if you also read a poem by a dead woman poet or a living/dead non-binary poet.  I’m a huge fan of these séances and both the featured poets and open-micers have really extended my knowledge of the female canon.  I especially love the way the events begin with the evening’s medium (Jas, Helen or Lily who you’ll meet below) reading Maria Tsvetaeva’s poem (translated by Elaine Feinstein) We Shall Not Escape from Hell which begins with the immortal lines:

We shall not escape Hell, my passionate
sisters, we shall drink black resins––

Continue Reading

Writing Advice with Sue Burge



Many of the pieces in this month’s issue of WordCity are reflections on Women’s Rights.  My advice this month is to write beyond your comfort zone, and I have a suggestion for you of how female writers can find the encouragement to do this within the pages of one innovative and highly regarded writing magazine, Mslexia, which has done everything in its power to encourage women writers.  This magazine has been my constant writing companion since its first issue in 1999.  Founder and Editor Debbie Taylor created Mslexia to address the imbalance in the way women’s writing is published, reviewed and perceived.  The magazine only accepts submissions from women.  Debbie Taylor’s article, “Three Cures for Mslexia” which appeared in Issue 1, sets out her justification for the ethos of the magazine.

Continue Reading


Books and Reviews. Edited by Geraldine Sinyuy

Gordon Phinn


Books Reviewed:

Glorious Birds, Heidi Greco (Anvil Press)
Freedom, Sebastian Junger (Harper Collins)
Letters in a Bruised Cosmos, Liz Howard (McClelland&Stewart)
Postcolonial Love Poem, Natalie Diaz (Graywolf Press)
Conjure, Rae Armantrout (Wesleyan University Press)
Norma Jeane Baker of Troy, Anne Carson (New Directions)


I am always pleased to see small presses venture out of their established playground and Vancouver’s Anvil Press’s Glorious Birds by Heidi Greco is just such a case, propelled by an appealing concision and unfussy conviviality. Subtitled A Celebratory Homage to Harold and Maude, it explores territories CanLit rarely reaches. Its author, Heidi Greco, turns out to be as fine a film critic as she is a poet and editor, and her dedication to the second golden age of American film, exemplified in Hal Ashby’s Harold and Maude, a surreal metaphysical romance if there ever was one, is to be itself celebrated.  One hopes she and Anvil will make time and space for more of the same.  And having attended many showings of the innovative works of that era in various repertory cinemas around Toronto back in the day, I can be described as one of the already converted.  Although the era and its output has been covered in a number of anthologies, documentaries and deep dive volumes (such as Richard LaGravanese and Ted Demme’s A Decade Under The Influence and Christopher Beaches’ The Films of Hal Ashby)), there is definitely room for a Canadian slant on what was basically a US phenomenon.  We see things differently here.

Despite being of chapbook length (125pp) Greco has all the bases covered, – the inception, the editing, the soundtrack choices, interviews with principals and lashes of film buff love, I found myself celebrating her celebration and whispering More Please!

Rona Altrows, with video readings and an essay by

Every so often, WordCity Literary Journal may choose to feature an important and engaging book that’s come to our attention. This issue, in keeping with the feminist threads woven throughout our collection, we are giving space to Rona Altrows, for her anthology, You Look Good for Your Age

With a lineup of authors that include WordCity contributors, the pages of You Look Good for Your Age is filled with literary essays, short stories and poetry that explore the many aspects of aging of women in society.

In launching this anthology, Rona and the publisher (The University of Alberta Press) not only organized a live, online launch party, but gathered together a collection of short video readings by the collection’s contributors. We think you’ll agree that it’s both an innovative and generous way to give something to readers and listeners, and a joyful way to present these beautiful works and those who wrote them.

With permission from and thanks to Rona and the publisher, we include those readings here (following a description of the anthology). You may also find the readings on The University of Alberta Press’s YouTube Channel.

Continue Reading

Negotiating Caponata … a review by Josephine LoRe

Carla Scarano D’Antonio’s Caponata arrived late last year and I devoured it in one sitting.  Enough time has passed now for the unique flavours to blend as they would in the caponata my mother prepared at the end of every season from her summer garden:  the marriage of sour eggplant with sweet bell pepper and tomato, the infusion of vinegar and capers to add just the right tang.

Similarly, Scarano D’Antonio’s intriguing collection incorporates at first seemingly disparate components … part recipe book, part memoir of place, part meditation on human interactions, these poems are at turn soft with nostalgia and sharp with the honesty of relationships sometimes difficult to negotiate.

Continue Reading

Summer 2021 Reading Highlights by Gordon Phinn


Usually summer reading round-ups tend to favour paperback novels so readers can while away the hours while sun worshipping or cottaging during the luscious unwinding of August.  Light, entertaining narratives are often top of the list—romances, mysteries and thrillers, with the odd celebrity memoir included.

In my current selection, the only title that fits this paradigm is Polly Sampson’s A Theatre For Dreamers. Polly, long time lyricist for her former Pink Floyd guitarist husband David Gilmour, has situated her coming-of-age novel on Hydra in 1961. That’s where the late ’50s bohemians from chilly Europe migrated to live cheaply and paradisiacally on the Greek myth of sun, wine, and free love. Real life characters, like Leonard Cohen and Marianne Ihlen, and Charmain Clift and others, all fresh faced and excited, are slotted into the arrival of the protagonist, her brother, and boyfriend. Each in their own way are fleeing the bourgeois boredoms of 1960s Britain, long before the dawn of swinging London. If you have seen Nick Broomfield’s documentary Words Of Love or read Michael Posner’s recent oral biography reviewed here, you will be right in the picture.

Continue Reading

Poetry. Edited by Clara Burghelea

with Nancy Ndeke and Lori D. Roadhouse

Ileana Gherghina

Ileana Gherghina


Some people are holding their food as if they had fought like animals for it.
Their prey!!! After so much work, they become the new system.
They hold it with so much tenderness… not to lose any crumbs of it.
They sniff all the smell from it with greed… to not let any for others.
They bite and their tampering lips look like a kiss.
So much love… I witness so much love.
They spin the prey with the tongue over and over… 22 times, by the book.
After, they swallow the longed for prey with maximum care
To make it touch all the encountered parts of the body.
They close their eyes to concentrate on the tickle that the prey produces on its way to the stomach.

Continue to 2 more poems




Rebecca is lying in bed
Rebecca is being laid on by a cartoonishly small dog
Rebecca dreamed about this dog when she was three,
four, five and once when she was seven
Rebecca is trying to make this about the dog

Rebecca, Beka, Becks, Bean and once ‘’Beckham’’
that one didn't really stick, although it was hit into her
by a ten-year-old, full force in the face 
with a baseball bat, at a birthday party
Rebecca does not reply to ‘’Beckham’’
Rebecca does not want to focus on it anymore
Rebecca thinks back to the dog

Rebecca remembers walking the dog around a corner

Continue Reading


Mansour Noorbakhsh

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is canada-persia.jpg

Reality and Justice

               To:   215 children found buried on the site of what was Canada's largest Indigenous Residential School.

We have been playing in darkness
with the covered eyes, 
since we were children
then I wanted to find you
for I needed to win.

Floundered in the footprint of time,
I need to find you 
to find myself, my happiness,
your love,
and still in the absolute darkness.

Children were told
darkness is the reality
and for middle-aged 
covering our eyes with a dirty 
handkerchief was called justice.

Continue Reading

Maryangel Chapman

On the edge of Lago Atitlan

What I wanted, more than anything,
was to fly.
to kick off, strong and sure and shoot up
into the azure sky, arms outstretched.
I wanted the wind,
rippling across my skin --
through me.
It wasn’t enough to stand there,
at the edge of the lake,
and look only so far.
I needed to dive.
Dive into the deepest part,
to swim to the very heart of these mythical waters.

To soar just above
and skim
each inch with my fingertips.
To say that I knew this place
and that it too,
knew me.

Continue Reading

Steve Passey

Ghosts of Grass

It’s the katabatic winds
coming down from the mountains
hard like the love 
and the wrath 
of God.
It’s the borealis that comes
with the thirty below
on the first of March.
It’s the ghosts of grass and a million buffalo.

Continue Reading

Rose Willow

Rose Willow


humans slump in life-jackets
bone cold, teeth chatter
the planet
coughs, trembles, belches
an oily slick
lost in black clouds
thunder and lightening
unable to slice

Continue Reading

Joseph A Farina

Joseph A. Farina

red geraniums

burnt sienna apartment buildings rise above the piazza
blue shuttered windows, opened in the summer light

Continue Reading

Pratibha Castle


Wild Lass of Kells

She shuffles on the kerb outside O’Shaunessy’s, corner of Kelly and Dunleven Road. Her eyes the colour of Our Lady’s veil, scorched bluer by her copper curls. On the lookout for the Da. Her task of a Friday night to wheedle the wages off of him before he sets off on the lash. Glad of a break from the chores. Socks like a flock of crows, forever jostling, hand me down frocks in need of hems, pants snagged on barbed wire, nails, atop of farmer’s walls and fences. Herself, the firstborn of a baker’s dozen; endless mopping up of spats, snail snots, scabby porridge pots.

Licks of laughter, yellow light, sidle out the gaping door into the night, let out by culchies on their shuffle to the bar. Eejits with purple slurs for eyes, glances tossed her way

collection plate

clink of small change at

Sunday mass

Continue Reading

Michael Lee Johnson

Michael Lee Johnson

Kansas, Old Abandoned House
House, weathered, bashed in grays, spiders,
homespun surrounding yellows and pinks
on a Kansas, prairie appears lonely tonight.
The human theater lives once lived here
inside are gone now,
buried in the back, dark trail
behind that old outhouse.
Old wood chipper in the shed, rustic, worn, no gas, no thunder, no sound.

Continue Reading

Nicoleta Crăete

overturned dream 

love is a scaffold where we sleep
whereas our sleep has a sight towards birds

don’t make yourself a cradle from a watered woman’s hair
a bird has built a nest in it
so it could die

you are to plant it the next day
and you will know
that you know nothing that you know
while reading on the bodies with your blinded hands

all you are left with is to tie the trees face down
so that the earth should mirror them when calling you
with a strange name

Continue Reading

Hongri Yuan


Platinum City 

By  Chinese Poet Hongri Yuan
Translated by Manu Mangattu
Assistant Professor, Department of English
St George College Aruvithura, India

Ah! Of iridescent gems of time
The heavenly road you paved light!
In a kingdom of stars,
I found my home.
In the golden cities,
I opened the gates of the city to the sun,
To behold the godly giants.
At the royal palace of the jewel
I read of prehistoric wonderful poems
The enormous, gorgeous ancient books.
Carved with the golden words 
The wondrous strange mystery tales,
Made my eyes drunken.
I walked into the full new universes,
And saw the holy kingdoms:
Even before the earth was born
The erstwhile home of human history.

Continue Reading


Denise Garvey

Once Upon a Prison Metal Time….
They feed you fairy tales with breast milk or
formula. It is all formula.

Little girls are really princesses
waiting for handsome princes or princesses to
kiss them better; whisk them off to their perfect lives.

Your mother says your expectations are so high
you’ll never find a prince to keep you in the style
to which you are accustomed.

Continue Reading

Gordon Phinn



Sipping on cold ales
As supper succumbs

To it own sense of perfection
While Paul O'Dette plucks the

Magic of John Dowland
In this candlelight where

Centuries wither into seconds,

Continue Reading


Samantha Bernstein

Samatha Berenstein


The night I ejected
the embryo sac (at least I think
that’s what it was), I felt
a flash of performing this act, 
this messy process (body shunting 
object large enough to plink like a marble in water, 
days emitting blood and slime, some urgent shits) 
on a cold throne in dark woods, in a backroom pot with sixteen 
people, with servants to cover with cloth and remove.
It was the thought of telling
my husband downstairs that might have been it – the fact
that I could – carried me to what other women might tell;
my sense (as of threat) that these acts women do 
have often been repellant, thought wicked, 
reason for suspicion, dismissal, discipline.  
  To the tribunal in 1593, 
   the girl accused of abortion described her
   miscarriage in a field: The foetus slipped out
   like a piece of ham. 
There in my bright bathroom, carried through
a business uncountable bodies have known, gratitude
for sewerage, toilet paper, privacy, hot water, and the ability
I and most women I know possess – to describe without fear
a sense of the mess we clean up 
as the body resets, primes itself
for our next shot at life beyond death.

Continue to 2 more poems

Hillol Ray

Hillol Ray 2nd Photo

Women Empowerment:

Today’s Vision for Tomorrow’s Mission

In a globalized world, gender equality
And empowerment of women are tools
To achieve sustainable development of societies,
As admitted even by fools!
Still, the violence towards women is an epidemic
Against which no country is immune.
And today, we face more challenges to peace
Due to poverty, hunger, and disease.

Continue Reading

Jennifer Wenn

Jennifer Wenn pic

The Ballad of Margaret Murphy

The spring of another century,
an ancient land cherished and
cared for by First Nations
now flooded by waves of settlers
from an ocean away and beyond,
British, Irish and more, 
all escaping and searching.

Upper Canada in the newcomers’ parlance,
cradled by the Great Lakes, the budding
towns, villages and homesteads
of the 1830’s ruled by a masculine
colonialist elite in distant York;
and caught up in the tides of history
was an Irish girl named Margaret.

Continue Reading


Ken Cathers

a world almost

how delicate
the cobweb strung
between trees

the precise lattice
of design destroyed
as I walk through.

Continue Reading


© This journal and its contents are subject to copyright

WordCity Literary Journal is provided free to readers from all around the world, and there is no cost to writers submitting their work. Substantial time and expertise goes into each issue, and if you would like to contribute to those efforts, and the costs associated with maintaining this site, we thank you for your support.


Make a one-time donation

Make a monthly donation

Make a yearly donation

Choose an amount


Or enter a custom amount


Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

DonateDonate monthlyDonate yearly

Published by darcie friesen hossack

Darcie Friesen Hossack is a graduate of the Humber School for Writers. Her short story collection, Mennonites Don’t Dance, was a runner-up for the Danuta Gleed Award, shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the Ontario Library Association's Forest of Reading Evergreen Award for Adult Fiction. Citing irreverence, the book was banned by the LaCrete Public Library in Northern Alberta. Having mentored with Giller finalists Sandra Birdsell (The Russlander) and Gail Anderson Dargatz (Spawning Grounds, The Cure for Death by Lightening), Darcie's first novel, Stillwater, will be released in the spring of 2023. Darcie is also a four time judge of the Whistler Independent Book Awards, and a career food writer. She lives in Northern Alberta, Canada, with her husband, international award-winning chef, Dean Hossack.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: