Solstice. A poem by Frances Boyle

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is frances-boyle-author-photo-credit-john-w.-macdonald.jpg

photo by John W. MacDonald

 I hate this season of aerosol 
 expectations, too much
 chocolate, stale traditions, 
 efforts to saturate teens 
 with nostalgic spirit
 when one family evening 
 is a lifetime stolen
 from their real world of friends.
 I cling to outgrown games to slow 
 my daughters’ inevitable drift 
  —empty arms. 
 What ballast can I add?  
 Presents or guilt. 
 I might gift-wrap the girls in shimmering foil,
 Place them beneath a tree whose needles drop, 
 distant chimes echoing tired carols
 I still know by heart. But they’d
 shake free, cry hypocrisy.
 The most I believe in, strong 
 enough to offer in cupped palms, 
 is the quench of seedling light  
 along passage grave’s sunpath.
 Every candle lit
 against the dark I’m just beginning to fear, 
 I gather family to the hearth, 
 shadows faltering across our faces.

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Frances Boyle was raised in Regina, and lived in Montreal and Vancouver before settling in Ottawa. She is the author of two books of poetry: This White Nest (Quattro Books, 2019) and Light-carved Passages (BuschekBooks, 2014 as well as Seeking Shade, short stories (The Porcupine’s Quill, 2020) and Tower, a Rapunzel-influenced novella (Fish Gotta Swim Editions, 2018). Her writing has been nominated for Best of the Net, and appeared throughout North America, in the U.K. and in India. Recent and forthcoming publications include Best Canadian Poetry 2020, Blackbird, Dreich, Prairie Fire, Event, Ayaskala, Ice Floe, Mookychick, Vox Viola and Humana Obscura. Frances was part of the editorial team at Arc Poetry Magazine for 10 ½ years, and now reviews poetry books for that journal and for Canthius: feminism and literary arts. Visit and follow @francesboyle19 on Twitter and Instagram.

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.

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