What does it mean to be human? Is it defined by our imminent mortality? Our ability to feel deeply and think curiously? Or is it rooted in the connections we form (and sever) with the world, people, and things around us? Our submissions shed light on these complicated questions.

Our fiction pieces explore the happenings throughout various stages of our lives. In one story, a personified newborn star is driven to find its purpose at a feast, surrounded by beings more seasoned in living life. Another piece follows a hopeless romantic on an intimate journey with their sexuality through an unexpected first love. The last story presents an older woman’s battle with cognitive deterioration in a mind-bending form.

Our poetry pieces find relationships at the centre of a rather taxing existence: a little girl is caught between identities and considers whether social categorizations matter in the pursuit of finding herself, and a narrator reconciles power with personal autonomy. Another poem is about longing to escape to happier places, while another questions the future of our relationship with technology. The final poem regards the in/significance of human experiences when chewed through by time. 

We would like to thank our talented contributors—Esraa Abdalla, India Brown, Griffin Sherriff-Clayton, Sophie Corbiere, Kirsty MacLellan, and Niko Haloulos—for sharing their pieces with us. We hope you enjoy this issue.

—Written by Jessica Lappin

Edited by Lisa Grieve, EiC

puppet master

puppet master is a poem exploring the idea of giving up power and control within relationships, playing with dynamics of the powerful and powerless, from the perspective of the puppeteer.

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Luna: A Story About Love

A childhood fascination with the moon leads to a youthful romance as the narrator reflects on love and gender while searching for stability in their tumultuous life.

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antidote reflects on the desensitization of humanity from the onset of information technology, acting as a numbing tool for not only their pain but their empathy.

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No Cop, No Stop

In a one-sided mental battle with the cars at a stop sign, the mind of an older woman begins to unravel—taking readers on a winding experience through the story’s experimental form.

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salt, citrus, and sweat

salt, citrus, and sweat creates an intense atmosphere of longing for summer vacation, tropical relaxation, and undeniable heat. The poem shows the power in longing for such summer fantasies while hoping for deliverance.

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Keychain is a poem of interconnected passages about time and space. The poem makes meaning of the past by invoking references from history, fairy tales, and mythology.

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The Book of Franks

Inspired by the poetry style of CAConrad, The Book of Franks follows a girl named France as she navigates the tensions between her French and German heritage. Through the exploration of gender identity, language, and national heritage, both France and the poem break free from these contemporary rules and restrictions.

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Land Acknowledgement

We would like to begin by acknowledging the Indigenous Peoples of all the lands that we are on today. While we meet today on a virtual platform, we would like to take a moment to acknowledge the importance of the lands, on which we each call home. We do this to reaffirm our commitment and responsibility in improving relationships between nations and to improve our own understanding of local Indigenous peoples and their cultures. 

York University’s land acknowledgement may not represent the territory that you are currently on, and we would ask that if this is the case, you take responsibility to acknowledge the traditional territory that you are on and its current treaty holders. 

York University acknowledges its presence on the traditional territory of many Indigenous Nations. The area known as Tkaronto has been care taken by the Anishinabek Nation, the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, the Huron-Wendat. It is now home to many First Nation, Inuit and Métis communities. 

We acknowledge the current treaty holders, the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation. This territory is subject of the Dish With One Spoon Wampum Belt Covenant, an agreement to peaceably share and care for the Great Lakes region.

From coast to coast to coast, we acknowledge the ancestral and unceded territory of all the Inuit, Métis, and First Nations people that call this land home. Please join us in a moment of reflection to acknowledge the effect of residential schools and colonialism on Indigenous families and communities and to consider how it is our collective responsibility to recognize colonial and arrivant histories and present-day implications in order to honour, protect, and sustain this land. 

In recognizing that these spaces occupy colonized First Nations territories and out of respect for the rights of the Indigenous people, please look for, in your own way, to engage in a spirit of reconciliation and collaboration.