3 poems by Sally Quon


Rough Living

He’s been “rough living”
as they call it.
Skin over bones,
frost-bitten hands.

“How’re the kids?” he asks,
like it matters now.

“They’ve got me quarantined,
 top of the shelter.
Might have the virus.
Might not.”

The words blur;
rearrange themselves.

“You shouldn’t have left.

I’m going to die and it’s your fault.”           

I have no reply.

File the email away with the others,
close the door.

I’ve been here before,
made the mistake of letting the door open.
A crack,

all he needed
to inflict the pain
of ice-cold fists and             

carcinogenic tongue.

Instructions for Starting Your Day During a Pandemic

1.	Open your eyes.  It was a rough night – breathing was shallow.  More than usual?  Less?
2.	Check for fever.  Is that a fever, or are you just warm from sleep?
3.	Take your morning meds.  Is your throat sore or is it just dry?
4.	Go to the washroom.  Wash your hands.  Use the toilet.  Wash your hands.
5.	Check your eyes.  Do they look normal?  Bloodshot?  Jaundiced?
6.	Wash your face, brush your teeth.  Wash your hands.
7.	Was that a cough right now?  Did you cough?  Did you cough into your sleeve?  Do you have a cold?  Wash your hands.
8.	Feed the cat.  Wash your hands.
9.	Disinfect anything and everything in the house that anyone may have touched in the last three to six hours.
10.	Call your best friend and cancel coffee… just in case.  Wash your hands.

home invasion

we locked our doors
hid ourselves away
tiptoeing quietly
through our days
until a blast of frosty air
through wind-shattered door 
brought the unwanted guest
holding us hostage
with threats and taunts
fever and chills
invading our home
bursting the iridescent bubble

Return to Journal

Sally Quon is a dirt-road diva and teller of tales, living and laughing on the traditional territories of the Syilx people in the Okanagan Valley. She has been shortlisted for Vallum Magazine’s Chapbook Prize two consecutive years and is an associate member of the League of Canadian Poets. Her personal blog, https://featherstone-creative.com is where she posts her back-country adventures and photos.

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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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