Writing Home

Writing Home: The Home Edition

June 03, 2020 McMaster University/Hamilton Public Library Season 1 Episode 1
Writing Home
Writing Home: The Home Edition
Chapters
00:01:07
“The Trail” by Cher Obediah
00:03:35
“Thanks for Asking” by Ken Watson
00:07:49
"With You" by Chris Alamino
00:09:14
“Still” by Marilyn Pilling
00:11:13
Window Watcher by Ariella Ruby
00:14:47
“A Homeric Poem” by John Hill
00:16:27
“Don’t Call it Home” by Nea Reid
00:20:09
“Drive By Shooting” by John Rook
00:21:22
“Places That Shape Us” by Deborah Bowen
00:24:09
“What Does Home Mean to You?” by Grace McNamara
00:26:24
“Home Again” by Holly Smith
00:30:35
“Callous Address” by Kaitlin Blanchard
00:32:29
“The Way Back Home” by Laura Lawson
00:34:00
“The Void in My Heart” by Sifat E. Rabanni
00:38:41
“Heaven” by Emily Wall
00:41:23
“True Love” by Jessica Lee Flemming
00:42:39
“Home” by Calla Churchward
00:46:51
“I am Canadian/Glass Ceiling” by Julie Knez
00:48:29
“Looking Back at Home” by Sharang Sharma
00:52:24
“Accidental Peoples Champ” by Abdul Hakim Yusif
00:54:32
“Home” by Dympna McCully
00:56:11
“Complacence is a Danger in My Home” by Cathy Smith
00:59:47
“Gestation of Home” by Jane Perry
01:03:17
“Hamilton is Home” by Laura Llewellyn
01:04:12
“Evening Light on Hunter “ by Emily Hill
01:06:22
“A Modest Home” by Elaine Rheim
01:09:22
“Forty-Two Love Letter” by Hina Ranni
01:12:23
“Granary Wash” by Eric Petterson
Writing Home
Writing Home: The Home Edition
Jun 03, 2020 Season 1 Episode 1
McMaster University/Hamilton Public Library

As the COVID–19 pandemic blurs the boundaries between home and life outside of it, the word "home" has never carried more meaning.

Mohawk/Tuscarora writer, radio broadcaster, documentary producer and media and sound artist, Janet Rogers, the McMaster University/Hamilton Public Library Mabel Pugh Taylor Writer in Residence, recently invited members of the Hamilton community to share their stories about what home means to them.

This episode is a collection of poems, essays and other stories submitted by community writers. It features the voice talents of Rogers, the writers themselves, and Hamilton-based Métis writer Jesse Thistle, the best-selling author of From the Ashes and a CBC Canada Reads 2020 nominee

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

As the COVID–19 pandemic blurs the boundaries between home and life outside of it, the word "home" has never carried more meaning.

Mohawk/Tuscarora writer, radio broadcaster, documentary producer and media and sound artist, Janet Rogers, the McMaster University/Hamilton Public Library Mabel Pugh Taylor Writer in Residence, recently invited members of the Hamilton community to share their stories about what home means to them.

This episode is a collection of poems, essays and other stories submitted by community writers. It features the voice talents of Rogers, the writers themselves, and Hamilton-based Métis writer Jesse Thistle, the best-selling author of From the Ashes and a CBC Canada Reads 2020 nominee

Writing Home Podcast - The Home edition 


00:00:06 (Introduction read by Janet Rogers)

Home. The ways we relate to home are vast. So, McMaster University and the Hamilton Pubic Library invited you, the local author, to send us your musing, your thoughts and feelings in the theme of home.

 My name is Janet Rogers, the McMaster University and Hamilton Public Library writer in residence for 2020/2020 and it was an honour to review your submissions and produce this timely podcast for our records. You will hear pieces read by the authors themselves, my voice best-selling author, 2020 Canada Reads nominee, Jesse Thistle, author of From the Ashes – a Métis writer and Hamiltonian himself. 

 You may be listening from inside your home, so relax, sit back and enjoy the Writing Home podcast.


01:07   “The Trail” by Cher Obediah                     

Writer Bio: Cher Obediah is Seneca / Ojibway from Six Nations. She’s a filmmaker workshop facilitator, a writer, speaker and certified fitness instructor. She’s dedicated to inspiring social change and motivating others to recognize their worth.

The trail is a place where I walk a little lighter.

It’s a new world of wonder

each time I enter the edge of the forest.

It has no hinged door but it is home.


It’s where my heart beats harmoniously

with the rhythm of nature.  

A loving space that sees separateness

as a delusion beyond the borders of the birch.

 
It’s a place of peace where my prayers

are given and received with each breathe.

Every site a stained glass window and  

each sound adds measure to the music.

 
Roomy rocks topped in mossy upholstery

invite me to meditate.

Trees hold hands with one another in unity

beneath the carpet of the forest floor,

while others fallen like sacrificial soldiers

serve as Inuksuk’s to show me the way.

 
The squirrels scurry past like children’s laughter.

The birds welcome me through songs and swoops.

The deer gather then prance away awkwardly, 

giggling like little ballet dancers

and the sun peeks and plays with me through the leaves.


The trail is where freedom is felt in each footstep

where I don’t disturb the droplets

of light rain on my lashes.

Where everything is enduring, enchanting 

and exists in a perpetual poetic state.

 
I pack it all in my heart 

to leave with when I’m done.
 The trail has no door, lock or key, 

but it is home 

with a welcome mat for everyone.


03:35   “Thanks for Asking” by Ken Watson                                    

Writer Bio: Writing home was a duty made plain in my childhood by my mother’s example and insistence.  By late adulthood my siblings lived far away and I adopted the weekly letter to keep in touch.  This was pre-email.  On retirement from a career as a High School Science Teacher in Hamilton, I fell easily into researching the family genealogy and adding tidbits from it to the letters.  Writing stories from those distant relatives eventually overtook the letters.   The encouragement of  a previous writer-in-residence, Kim Echlin, was pivotal in nudging me along a path to writing that has been so satisfying.

I’ve been able to enjoy a multifaceted life.   Investments in reading, farming, blacksmithing, singing and travel are now bearing dividends that I can share through writing and that is a source of endless pleasure.  That other people say they enjoy my stories is a joy I had never expected but makes me laugh every time I hear of it.


See at home, calls my wife as she Fitbit's away on a longer walk. It's good to have a place to reconnect. I amble back. Our home is a place big enough for five. It echoes with two now. To replace the missing children and there's our walls display happy moments from then and more distant relatives collected from the collapse of their households. We are the keepers of family legend and likeness. Our home is a living and loving museum of our own making. Our home is not all built of unmade decisions. It's constructed from a triangular decision-making model. Our choices are ours, theirs, and undiscovered. Not cluttered, just comfy. A photo on the wall whispers. Casper survived a war silently. No letters. The panoramic postwar photo of soldiers in his band and their families stare out picnic day somewhere some when. He made the false coloured photo of my mother as a teenager across the room surviving in music and artistic skill. Who hears them now. 

The stories on the back of the photo, like a forwarding address. These moments from our family  are these moments from our family's past and present contest for Home space with tokens of our personal journeys. Past performance photos, Ebony sculptures bought from the workman's hands, sales trophies, volunteer citations, travel highlights, all create a lifetime travel log as we walk from room to room. Our home is a blended nest of memorabilia. What happens to it when we go and go, we will. Or must or should. It's a future worth contemplating in the shade with a glass of local wine. The grapes might've been mine, had the raccoons not got their first, uh, well, we almost share something from other viniers will do.

 Good to see you home I call as my wife comes up the walk, join me. I raised my glass. She does. Hymenoptera swarm the euonymus in sunny taxes. Others names for garden friends. World travellers wave in passing. They admire the daffodil carpet growing wildly and vigorously now. The laundry awaits.

 Recall from the backyard. We alone have a clothesline. Neighbours don't know the comfortable memories of hanging wet slabs of cloth under grey skies and the joy of reeling in billowing sheets of sweet smells under a setting sun. Hanging laundry outside is an act of faith, a testament to homely awareness.

 It restores the soul.

 Cremation has occurred obituary said earlier today. No mantle piece urn for me. We all returned to the atoms from which we came, spread them quickly. We are only current custodians of them and their space. It's elementary my dear Watson. Garden checkup time. So who is now part of you guys? I wonder.

 Radishes stretch up from the dark soil in the bin of my three tiered garden. I used to have five. No, no. Don't want to become a home care statistic. I slide glass over tender shoots against frost coming in the dark. Home should be safe for all. Don't you think.


07:49    "With You" by Chris Alamino

Writer Bio: Chris is an emerging poet from Hamilton, ON. He holds a BA in philosophy from McMaster and a MA in philosophy from Ryerson University. When not tortuously tapping away at his keyboard, you can find him lifting and napping.

With you

I want to plant a garden, eschew doubts 
and marvel astonish’d at what flowers,
nurse sickly leaves, fawn over infant sprouts,
get caught in the rain, drenched in May showers, grieve the white birch and its moat of mushroom, tend to the blackberry bramble above, 

exalt lavender’s late second year bloom,
till and sow the landscape of love.
How a thing flourishes, incite growth, glory, is determined by its rootedness

in the sediment of Earth’s history,
grateful to Nature for its groundedness 
A hymn sung by a solar ministry 
Launch tendrils skybound with patient doggedness


09:14   “Still” by Marilyn Pilling 
           
Writer Bio: Marilyn Gear Pilling lives in Hamilton, but her roots are in the East Wawanosh area of Huron County, which has been a powerful presence in her life and work. She is the author of three collections of short fiction, most recently On Huron’s Shore (2014) and six collections of poetry, the most recent The Gods of East Wawanosh (2019), Cormorant Books. She has won many awards for poetry, literary non fiction and fiction, both nationally and locally. She has read her work widely across Canada, in Cuba, and in France.

Mother. I want you to know

that you can still see Huron’s stripe of dark blue

from the top of Carlow Hill

that the gulls still fly inland to the furrows

that the big hill still protects the house, that the valley

still deepens all the way to the creek

that the Red Maples still give up their sweetness in March

that your sister’s son still tenders the sap

through wooden spiles he makes from sumac

still cooks the sugar water down

in cast iron kettles over an open fire.

 

I want you to know that the frogs still sing and sob

from the pond in spring, that the daffodils

around the foundation of the first house

still turn the west field yellow in April

that wild strawberries still glint from the grass in June

that the Mock Orange still arrives as a perfumed bride

at the beginning of July, that the salmon

still leave the lake for the Maitland River

still leave the river for the creek and spawn here

in the valley between the two farms.

   

11:13   "Window Watcher" by Ariella Ruby   

Writer Bio: Ariella Ruby is a third-year student in the Arts & Science program at McMaster University. She loves to read, write, and admire beautiful views as the opportunity arises. She splits her time between Hamilton and Ottawa.

Window Watcher by Ariella Ruby. My bedroom window is a port hole on the haul of a red brick square ship whose foundations are strong. We are docked, we are landlocked, but we might as well be anchored or stranded at sea. I live mere minutes from my friend for all the good it does me. Yes. I peer outside to the ocean below to the tree, tufts, that dance and the gentlest breeze to the waves of air that taste the leaves.

 Who swirl lazily like they have nowhere to be. The calmness of their motion is what powers my storm. Because those tree tops have been calm since the day I was born. Home is no longer a place where we can choose to be since the house is a ship with no route to the sea. Landlocked, or maybe we're just docked, but even so, there is no hope for strong winds that will send us on our way.

Unlike the Greek army, Alice, we will not sacrifice if a Effa Janaia to the gods to send our ships flying because one life has the same worth as a million lives. So we stay inside, so our boats do not sail. We read the news, we scroll through our feeds, we dream of our neighbours through walls of stone. We cannot bear to unplug because that means we'll be alone.

 How's beside house. We are collectively apart as the outside fades away, so too does the Herth that feeds the home's heart. We cut the rope from the dock, launch the vessel to the sea, drift towards the churning waves of trees that jostle in the breeze. The softly swaying buds sprouted from the new loam carry me away from my window as though on a blanket of sea foam. But as the green leaves are tousled, I myself am tossed and I fall into the dark waters, into a tangle of branches, into a rabbit hole of information and updates on Covid 19 that could be fact or fiction or something in between. I had climbed to the crow's nest looking to the tree tops in search of willow wisps to whisk me away from the walls of my room. Instead, I found wind that whistled and waves that whipped in words that warped, and so I fell. But I always land squarely on my own two feet and I'm standing on the deck of my ship among the landlocked fleet.

 I'm in my room, in my house, on my block, on my street. And so I once a girl who dreamed of Atalanta, Greek countries of your in Argonaut on the seas, I'm now a woman at the window, a watcher of the trees, a Penelope of the 21st century. Her strength was in her patience and for 20 years she weaved, never doubting, never wavering as she gazed out to the sea. I too will weather the storm though it rattles my bones from the proud of the ship that's my window at home.



14:47   “A Homeric Poem” by John Hill   

Writer Bio: John Isaiah Edward Hill is a queer poet and artist from Hamilton, Ontario. He is of the Oneida and Tuscarora nations and Turtle clan.

This is a Homeric poem. I'm not a home owner. I'm not home bound to some home room, and at the moment I'm out of homework. My whole home ward, my whole hometown, my whole home land has to be homemade again from scratch so we can homestay. When can we say we've home grown from this experience? When will I move past home page and think about myself home less.

 I've developed a new theory of queer relativity, homosexuality, which states that this body I live in is homelike and we're all homemakers. Shout out to my mom who taught homeliness to the loneliest Indian this side of homeschool. Homosapiens were never meant to enter homeostasis.

 I can't wait to wander my hometown streets again until I get homesick and head back home to something homemade. They say Indians are never homeless as long as we live on the turtle's back. That's true. Until Homeland security tears your tent down while you sleep. Not everyone can afford to be home bodies, and I hope homeliness stays with us when we leave our house.



16:27   “Don’t Call it Home” by Nea Reid             

Writer Bio: Nea Reid is a multidisciplinary artist, educator, and activist, and her artistic practice is often ignited through issues of social justice and curiosities of an anxious heart. She is the recipient of several awards including, Hamilton Arts Awards for Community Arts and Education, CCTA Galaxy Award, MMVA, World Shorts, and the CBC “Reel Black Award". Her work as the founder and artistic director of Hamilton Youth Poets, Louder Than A Bomb Canada, and Poetic License has enabled her to directly impact the lives of many budding youth poets; providing a platform for self-expression and growth. A passionate advocate, Reid frequents her time in schools, correctional facilities, and within her community. Reid resides in Hamilton, Ontario, with her first and only born child, Maia (the metahuman of all her stories).            

 The woman who use to live in the apartment above me, in 502, was oddly worse. 

 She was a four-day party of Crown Royal on the rocks, voices screaming over music that rattled ceiling lights. I once drummed up the courage to knock on her door, intending to firmly request that she turn down her music. Three knocks and she swung open the door wearing only her bra and panties, screaming, “I’ll get a fucking knife and cut you…”  To my surprise, I didn't back down. I stood my ground, clapped my hands in the air and responded "HELLOOOOO!, Are you here?". She stared back vacant-eyed and replied, "fuck you". Needless to say, I never knocked on her door again and she moved out 10 months later. 

 Flash forward two years. Its mother's day and the piano in apartment 302 has stopped playing. A fight has begun. Stomping feet, thrown shoes, and f-u’s thwarted less accurately. I’m hesitant to move. After 10 weeks of social distancing, I know this moment can go either way, so I pray for the slamming of doors, a confirmation of white flags. After 10 weeks of social distancing my neighbor in apartment 602, tells me her name is Jules and his name is Ivan, and that Ivan steals cars for a living.  My superintendent refers to him only as "a metal scrapper” and  "a problem". Either-way, both profiles of Ivan explain the flat cart that sits outside their apartment, piled high with dirty steel parts. After 10 weeks I know now that the 10 am clogging on floors is Jules running in platform heels from the back wall to the stripper pole they’ve installed in their living room. I know that the metal will screech as Jules's body spirals on the pole, and thundering with a twang as she dismounts. After 10 weeks I know that Jules and Ivan will blast music and resurrect migraines whenever they damn well want to. And after 10 weeks of social distancing, I know that moments of peace are not long-lived. 

 I think to myself, "I don’t understand how they can live like this?” And then it dawns on me," I don't know how I can live like this? This apartment was supposed to be a stop along the way to having a better life. To finding peace. I remember when I was a kid home was chaotic, uncertain, but mostly after a day of hard play home was a  shelter, and a place to eat and fall asleep; When I was married our home was chaotic and uncertain, perhaps now I just live with my ghosts. I’ve learned to work myself into exhaustion and collapse as if being swallowed whole. 

 This is my adult shield. Work till you don’t feel the longing. Numb yourself to tolerance. Be so busy you’re too tired to dream, to dream of a garden, of a quiet place to work, and another to pray. Wear yourself thin weeping lovers, you don’t have, and all the ones who got away. Fill your spare time trying harder and failing your own expectations. Leave yourself with less light than you give… this is the prescription to tuning out your life, and calling it home.


 
20:09   “Drive By Shooting” by John Rook           
 
W
riter Bio: John Rook:lives in Calgary and was a prof at McMaster for 15 years!

She aims and fires

Catching me in a “frame” of mind that disturbs, and

Causes me to “reel” in pain.

I do not want to look like this

To be captured forever 

Lifeless

Dishevelled

Broken, and

So sad.

Shutters click

Capturing my friends in their despair

Their darkness

And their pain.

Maybe my frame will be hung on a wall 

Like a trophy killed for sport, and

Lifeless in my coffin frame

Eyes partially open

Staring at all

Whose curiosity gets the better of them.

And just like on the street

Their guilt

Causes them to look down (on me) and

Away from the pain of which my frame reminds them of theirs.



21:22   “Places That Shape Us” by Deborah Bowen                 

Writer's Bio:
Deborah Bowen’s monograph Stories of the Middle Space: Reading the Ethics of Postmodern Realisms (McGill-Queen’s U P, 2010) and her edited collection of essays The Strategic Smorgasbord of Postmodernity: Literature and the Christian Critic (Cambridge Scholars P, 2007) demonstrate her concern with reading contemporary literature from a Christian perspective, and her belief that God is at work in literature even where the divine is not named there. She regularly publishes articles on contemporary British and Canadian fiction and poetry in books and scholarly journals, and has also contributed a number of papers on pedagogy and on the importance of the humanities. She has presented over eighty papers at Christian and confessional academic conferences and public academic conferences in Canada, the U.S., the U.K. and elsewhere.

 When I first immigrated from England to southern Ontario, I felt as if I’d moved from a human-sized land to a land that needed me to wear seven-league boots. I needed boots that would leap over the wide spaces on the map where nothing happened. No ancient villages, each with a church, a pub, a village green, a post-office and a general store. No twisty country lanes winding like the threads of spiderwebs up and down the landscape, giving the walker or cyclist or horse-rider or driver a dozen different options of ways to get from here to there. No pretty pub gardens where one could sit with a glass of cold beer and order a ploughman’s lunch. No footpaths, with their stiles and gates and tracings of the earth’s cultivated contours. And no one here knew what a bridle-path was. There was just mile upon mile of wild, scrubby, rocky land. Why did it have to take four-plus hours to drive from Ottawa to Toronto? Couldn’t we just take a pair of scissors and cut a piece of that wildness out of the map? What was all that land for? As early Spanish explorers are reputed to have declared when arriving on the East coast, “Aca nada – nothing here.”

 Sure, I still miss the places that first shaped me. When I go back to England now, there is a sense of knownness, a sense of physical comfort with the ground under my feet, that I suspect will never quite be replicated in Canada. But at the same time the English landscape feels small, it feels crowded, as if there’s no room to stretch out your arms. The hedgerows lean in towards the middle of the little country roads, the leaves meet and blend overhead, and the tunnels they create are something from a Lilliputian world.  And so it’s clear to me that my mental geography has shifted. In this lakeside city when I walk the Bruce Trail behind our house each morning, I am blessed by the quiet trees and the ancient rocks. Walkers mostly nod good morning to one another as they pass. A cardinal swoops brilliantly past; a monarch flutters on the milkweed. This province has shaped me to its own contours now; I have come the long way home.                             

24:09   “What Does Home Mean to You?” by Grace McNamara   

Writer Bio: Grace McNamara is an aspiring 17 year old Hamilton based writer. She won second place in her category of HPL’s annual Power of the Pen writing contest. Grace often writes of Hamilton in her poetry and short stories.

Home is what I see

On any given day 

I see it in the strangers 

I meet along my way

I see it in the man smoking a cigarette 

a couple feet away

I see it in the way he stands 

I see it in his gaze 

If I asked him where he's going 

I wonder what he'd say 

I wonder if he'd tell me

He's going far away 

I think maybe he’d say to me 

He thinks that I should too

That I should run to someplace far away

And start my life anew

I think of what I'd say to him 

If all of this were true 

I think maybe I'd say to him 

I’m home and so are you

The pavement covered paradise 

The streetlights and the cars 

Look up and they'll look back at you 

I think they look like stars.


 26:24   “Home Again” by Holly Smith   

 Writer Bio: Holly Smith is Kanien'kehà:ka from the Six Nations of the Grand River territory. She is trained as an occupational therapist and has worked in the field of Indigenous mental health and addiction. Holly’s interests include utilizing artistic and creative outlets for healing intergenerational trauma and exploring the intersections of Haudenosaunee and Queer/Two Spirit identities.

Home again. Confusion and torment cloud my brain seemingly with no end. What is real? What is true? Who am I? Where do I belong? Inherited pain causes the spirit to wander like a hungry ghost with insatiable angst for finding the truth. Contrived society cultivates false identities. The birth of a shapeshifter.

 Morphing to the forms, society, permits and idealizes. Please accept me. Please include me. Please love me. Fitting the mold, dancing to the tune, valuing the opinion of others at the expense of the self. Seeking lust over love to feel the void of perpetual emptiness. Entrapment of the spirit. Tension and anxiety is beginning to crescendo bordering on insanity. Something is going to break inside of me. Conformity versus curiosity. Status quo, easy roading, no longer tolerated. Questions swirl about what is, what is real? Tools of colonialism washed smoke over the reflection of truth. Terror of the true self vulnerability and raw emotions, begging to be acknowledged, to be seen, to be felt.

 Suppressed rage, fear, shame, and guilt threaten to erupt to explode. Mushroom spirits, strip the ego down to naked flesh, softening the brain trenches, which have been cemented to believe broken thoughts. What is real? What is true? Who am I? Where do I belong? Ego surrenders soothed by ancient ancestors. You are an artist they whisper. The heart once exiled pumps, love and purpose, spirit accepts them, doesn't reject them. Ocean waves retreat. Leaving body and spirit intact on shore, corroded connections, cleared and restored. Emotion does not seek to kill, but to teach. Amazement and wonder. Introspection and reflection.

 Acceptance supersedes resentment. Body and spirit understand each other and have common agreements. She can breathe again. See again, speak again. The death of a shapeshifter, reconnecting with no without fear of retribution being used no longer. No more token Indian to enhance your contribution. No catering to fragility, no tolerating toxic masculinity. Free from the uninvited male gaze.

 Show me where I asked for your patriarchal opinion. I just am who I am. I don't need your permission unapologetically and unabashedly queer, divine and sacred femininity. The universe is calling. Can you hear her? Can you listen? Come back to the womb of our first mother and surrender. Present moment. No regrets about the past or anxiety about what is next.

 Freedom to be free. Freedom to live, freedom to speak multiple truths, free to live in paradox. Absorbed with radical acceptance of self. No longer punish, no longer caged by unseen bars and chains. The bird flies free with unbounded exploration and creativity. Doors are open to story, movement, dance, and authenticity.

 I am whole again. I am home again.


30:35   “Callous Home” by Kaitlin Blanchard

Writer Bio: Kaitlin Blanchard is a queer, chronically ill settler academic who works and lives on the lands governed by the Dish with One Spoon Wampum agreement. Their doctoral work yokes together queer ecologies, crip theory, biopolitics, and (new) materialisms, offering an exploration of the material and theoretical affordances of plastics and plasticity in the colonial governance of life. Kaitlin’s doctoral research is supported by a Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship.

Like any word, home has a cellular resonance, that attends— depending on your orientation—on the earth, or on those that live on her. But its resonance is tympanic and recessed, it hangs between the arch of an idea and the lintel of its frame, offering a prosody of diminishing returns for those that grow still there. 

I haven’t known home in many years, not in the vulgar sense of property, not in the comfortable domicile, nor even in the more ubiquitous condo. What I miss is the sense of home. Something you can stuff your toes into like the footbed of a favoured shoe: the outside weathers as the insole callouses the heels. But my toes keep reminding me that as we grow such dermal armour we forget the texture of the outside—and then the shoe wears the foot. 

My home is the callous. 


32:29        "The Way Back Home" by  Laura Lawson               

Writer Bio: Laura Lawson is of Mohawk Turtle Clan on her maternal side and European ancestry on her father’s side. She is a member of the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte. She lives with her two children and husband in Hamilton.       

You are learning the names of things in a language never taught to me.

My robin is your tsiskó:ko.

Aonkwe’tá:kon is what you call a squirrel.

These are words spoken by your ancestors when they lived on the land in ways both you and I have forgotten.

How many generations have gone by?

How long has it taken to find our way back home?

You are proud of who you are. Your heritage a gift. Your ancestors flow through you.

Your grandmother is a moon and a bird. She visits often, building her nest year after year.

Through the window, we watch terì:teri in the silver birch, delicately pulling twigs and stitching them into her nest.

We watch and learn. The old ways are not forgotten.

Later, when you are outside in the yard, you peer at me through the window and blow a kiss.
 
 Konnorónhkwa, you say, as if love is a language.

 

34:00   “The Void in My Heart” by Sifat E. Rabanni       

Writer Bio: Sifat-E RabbaniI am an English graduate student at the Department of English and Cultural Studies of McMaster University. I thoroughly love reading and writing and hope to be in a profession that allows me to do the same extensively. I have recently moved to Canada as a Permanent Resident and so am trying to build a new life in this new world from scratches.

What is home? 

What is home for me? 

They say home is where the heart is. A cliché indeed but no less true for me. 

I have been living abroad for the last eight months. For the first time in my life I am living alone, without any family. Do I miss home? An absurd question to ask myself…of course I miss home! But what is it about home that I miss? It does not require any mental exercise on my part to get an instant answer. I miss the people there. I have left a piece of my heart with my people back home. Now my heart misses being whole. It will be very wrong to assume that I do not miss the concrete and physical experiences attached to my home. I do miss lulling myself to sleep in my bed, I do miss the breeze that caressed me when I used to stand at my balcony in the dead of night. I miss the short-lived anticipation after pressing the calling bell, wondering whether I will see my mother or sister on the other side of the front door when it lets me in. But what I miss most is the air inside, that my mother and sister breathed in and breathed out - that very air used to give me life. I miss their actual voice reaching my ears through that air that filled so completely the void among us and in my heart. I miss the fabric that was being woven by our combined lives being lived within the confinements of those four walls that we called our home, wherever it be. I miss that vital part of my life that was being written within that space. This pandemic has forever scarred our lives. The rhythmic year 2020 that we all had started off with so much anticipation and zeal has already turned into a nightmare. There are very few people in this world who really are enjoying their times living 24/7 in close contact with their families, locked in their homes. Living 6,848 miles away from my family in a 12 by 14 feet student room, I have been following different social medias to see how other people were spending their isolation period. They are wasting time, utilizing time, learning new skills, group chatting, reading, playing mindless online games, painting, spreading rumours, taking dares to do this or that, exercising, worrying about the end of the world and what not? But the fact remains, domestic violence and child abuse have increased alarmingly. Hell has been unleashed on so many poor souls within the safe haven of their homes. While some of us are contemptuous of our confinement in the sanctuary of our homes, many are counting days to be able to leave the hell they call home, be it for only part of a day. But whatever positive or negative experiences this pandemic has forces us to confront at home, it has undoubtedly provided us with an opportunity to rethink what home really is for us and what we want it to be. Maybe this endless amount of time provided by divine intervenes is an opportunity for us to fix what is wrong within our homes and deep in our relationships? Maybe we are for the last time given the time and occasion to turn our homes into cherished places to be in? What if 2020 turns out to be the most loved year of our lives because this was the year when we had figured out what was wrong at our homes and fixed it? So, I dedicate these humble lines of mine to those of you spending many long hours of days with your families at your loving or loathed homes. We never know when the world is going to end for us. So instead of wasting time on social media or musing in your own rooms, be together and cherish the togetherness. Pray to the Almighty and work on that troubled relationship with your parents, spouses, siblings, or other members of the family because not all are fortunate like you to be with their families and feel at home during these trying times.


38:41   “Heaven” by Emily Wall

 Writer Bio: I’m a Hamilton-based poet, from Hamilton originally. I’m a high school math teacher, and recently completed graduate studies in philosophy at McMaster.

Heaven. I want to be at a sandy place where a wide river opens to the sea and grass holds dear to the land and things change their weight to obey the stream flow. I stand away from the edge knowing not to break the overhanging crest full of grassroots I cannot see. Sand castles show that I can dream on sand.

 That sand is more than sand and cannot be divided from itself. I can form a house caked together in safety. The sea can form a ring all around it. What more is needed then? I remember how the sky stood emboldened at the Riverside, each of its passing moods, a kind of mineralized rain that fell. This castle, this home stands only because the overhead storm does not yet break. It's not yet melted down into a chance for next time. A dream that must not be lived on this day, but suggests instead another day between days between heavier and lighter clouds, this castle carries forth in the heaven of my heart, in my eye.

 I can see it sitting still in front of the river. This home. This heaven is the place of near and far of reds and greens extending to and taking up shadows. We are made apart and together by walls holding us in rooms. We both know. And where my lover is here, silent like light in my strain for his arm, his chest, his sigh, the feeling of him in me in what we called home in the thick of the summer of it's construction.

 How else could he come to mind if we were not in heaven? How else could one know shadows while crumbling apart on the way there. Memory makes the walls lesser, more transparent, and eventually leads us to embrace and dot the Riverside. This castle, I have sculpted stands for everything we longed for in each other there. The river pounds its point and it's flowing out.

 My knees sink in round as I hear this loudly again. I sense the basement of this castle floodable. I Mark one day toward my own burial and I know the stream has made it out as the wind carries wet to my hair, hands face. These same sides of me you saw for the first time and by which we were drawn together.


41:23   “True Love” by Jessica Lee Fleming         

Writer Bio: Jessica Lea Fleming is of Métis and Scottish ancestry from Penetanguishene, Ontario. She is an award-winning filmmaker, published poet, producer and performer. Jessica works in theatre, film and multi-disciplinary mediums as a means of exploring connection, identity and traditional, land-based knowledge. In 2015 she was a featured Leader for the Ontario Ministry on the Status of Women, in 2017 she was one of twenty Invited contributors to the 20th Canadian Arts Summit. For 2020, she is the Artist-in-Residence at Theatre Aquarius, a Guest Curator for the Toronto Public Library,  and is currently a Finalist for Canada’s prestigious Prism Prize. www.jessicaleafleming.com @jessflamingo   

True love. In these first long summer nights, we turned bedroom into soft moon landing. Your hand casting shadows on my salt rock, stomach, your voice singing small one into lazy somersaults. These moments dissolve quickly. Sweetly. Grannies, mints make my tongue red river Michif song I forgot I knew flows out of me from the bottom of a lake.

 I gulp at this time, drink it greedy. Wish desperately to slow the pulse of this season of deepening love, true love. We are in the time when marriage settles. We are beginning. You have been for me a many ringed tree strong and stable and bearing fruit or shade or shelter as needed. And now I can exhale.

 I can let go of fear. Did let it go. Thank you for your patience. In our bedroom fort we relish these fleeting days of just you and me. Just us two waiting on other. Little one welcome to our sturdy shack family home covered in dancing, copper pine needles, the sunset breaking through our thatched roof sky.


42:39   “Home” by Calla Churchward     

Writer Bio: Calla is a trained actor and recent graduate of the PhD program in English and Cultural Studies at McMaster, where she also worked as a proud member of the custodial team for five years. The subject of her PhD research was freedom. Calla enjoys dancing, laughing, talking with trees and animals, and falling in love with everyone she meets. Calla currently resides in Hamilton where she works as an independent researcher and creator.                       
I know I am home when I am on the land where I was born. The trees recognize me here. The sky above the course of stars in this part of the hemisphere The way the land curves and falls, the variation and the weather. The smell of the soil, the flow of the waters, these things are of my body, and to have guided the rhythm of my step, the cadence of my heartbeat, the longings of my soul

 The liberal arts program at the university has told me that education and truth and good scholarship means first acknowledging that this is not my land. This is not my home. I do not belong here. The family I was born into does not belong here. I am white. I am a settler. I am of a colonial legacy. The university institution of learning it's lecture halls and administrative offices stacked on the land where I was born. It shamed me. Now there is a state of emergency in this country of Canada, this country on the land where I was born. Schools have been closed. Only essential services are open. Things like the cops and fast food chain drive throughs. 

 The government has tooled the citizens to stay in their houses.I live on my own in a one room attic apartment. It is a friendly place and I feel safe here. It is on the land where I was born. I sit quietly in my little attic room and watch the clouds. The wind tossing birds across the sky. 

Weeeeeeeee.

 The first star comes out peeping at me through a web of tree branches. Hello, little star I say aloud. He sparkles to me and I know he is listening. I tell him the news I got a day ago. That my grandmother has lost her mind. She was quarantining in her apartment like she was told to, and she has failing health and chronic pain and is hard of sight and hearing so long by herself.

 She became confused. The days all blurred together and she got her meds mixed up or forgot to eat, and then there were intruders. And police and rat sized viruses, but reality wasn't real anymore. Finally, one of her kids went in and got her out of that stuffy apartment with the heavy plush carpet, that hides all sound, and the TV perpetually playing the news station.

 That apartment she lives in on the land where I was born.

 I kneel by the window with a snotty nose and wet eye lashes gazing up at the star, sitting quietly in its patch of sky. The land where I was born, where I do not belong. It held me. Good night, little star. Thanks for listening.

 
46:51   “I am Canadian/Glass Ceiling” by Julie Knez   

Writer Bio: Julia Knez is 20 years old, from Oakville, ON, and an undergraduate student at McMaster University.                                       

I am Canadian

 Where the lines meet
 In practice and habitually Where the lines break And weave in the place That I am. 

I am Canadian
 Or at least that’s what They say to me.
 I trace underneath
 So that
 Where the lines meet I am safe. 

One day,
 The glass ceiling Encompassing, in between All you know of me. 

All these barriers Between you and me Glint for a moment And we’ve just begun. 

Join at a seat
 Really, all are welcome here At this table
 Of the many, the powerful. 

Maybe the glass ceiling Is not above
 But in between.
 The glass, half a mirror 

Making us see
 A glint in that moment The world told us
 We were separate. 

 
48:29   “Looking Back at Home” by Sharang Sharma               

Writer Bio: My name is Sharang Sharma, and I am going into level II of the Arts & Sciences program at McMaster University. I am an international student and originally come from India. I’m also loving my time here in Canada. 

I left my first home when I was two

Too young to remember,

Too young to care.

Pushing against the unyielding tides of time

And the chunks of memory 

It slowly dissolves into itself,

I only see me,

At that moment where, driving away from

An ever-shrinking monolith of an apartment complex,

I finally saw home.

 

Next, I stumbled into a miniscule dorm-room,

Too small for the unyielding energy of a four year old,

But just large enough to fit microscopic memory sediments

Which I can barely grasp,

But hardly hold on to. 

Engraved, lay images of me:

Clambering up and conquering red-brick dragons with primordial friends,

Realizing that, yes, my dad really had let go of the bike,

Dreaming up realities stronger than the ones I remember.

I see moments, melting into that eternal stream

Like tears, in rain.

One stands stronger than the others, an image of me

Shuffling in an airplane seat, realizing 

That I had just left home.

 

Next, I stepped into a quaint little apartment,

Larger than the last yet vastly

Cozier,

Closer.

Right outside, an all-seeing sun shining light onto that mythic childhood

That we can all feel at home in.

Instead of clasts, I find whole amethysts.

I don’t look for them, they call to me.

Embedded I see an infinite spectrum of images in motion:

Friends, grudges, playdates,

Crickett, bike rides, accidents,

Me, flowering and blooming, before me.

Even clearer, I see my first anxiety. The horror

Of hiding the fact that once again

I had to leave.

Home-less, once more.

 

Next, I was thrown into a clean, sleak, modern, and

Cold apartment.

I looked up to see an abyss looking down at me, 

Every now and then I still feel the seductive lingering of its gaze.

Instead of amethysts, rocks:

Ugly, brutish, and steadfast. Engraved, I find 

An endless horror film, which I watch through parted fingers:

A series of ceaseless bus-rides, stretching just beyond eternity,

Just far enough to veil the dread of that which lay in-between.

School. That tightly-packed home of loneliness.

Never before had I lived somewhere,

Where I so missed home.

Yet, I also remember the ultimate horror

Of finally leaving

And finally realizing

I had done it, again.

 

Next, I nervously entered an outlandishly large apartment,

Where my toilet matched my last bedroom in size.

Too recent to be remembered and 

Too old to be present,

These sediments lie waiting patiently

For their turn to be taken by that stream, where my homes have found their home.

I know what memories they hold,

Far too many to be carried in their entirety:

The ends of growth and the beginnings of maturity,

Finding passions, and even people

To share passions with. 
 Yet, I can’t call that place home.

Perhaps I’m too close to realize

That in this growing distance,
 Yet again, I am leaving home, behind.

 

Next, I sat by a new dining table,

Writing and reminiscing 

Home and homes,

Into life.


52:24   “Accidental Peoples Champ” by Abdul Hakim Yusif       

Writer Bio: The artist formerly known as Abdulhakeem .M. Yusuf was born in Nigeria where he lived for the first 18 years of his life. He went to study in South Africa first, then Hungary and finally settled in Canada with his family. He studied Graphic Design at Mohawk then got his B.A in Comm. from York. Performing as MistryKiDD for music and Najim Zafir for art he is a multimedia storyteller and creative writer.

I think I'm El-Rufai / Wole Soyinka

Chinua Achebe/ Dele Giwa / Saro Wiwa

Writer with a cause, finding ways so we can Speak Up

Lock away the Force, Cause they know we’re Fire Breathers

Sieve out Deceivers and Separate the Fakes

Feel like I'm swimming in a lake full of snakes

Playing High Stakes but my brains full of aches

Days full of rage, getting paid at the Rate

Bored with the games but its still Monopoly

God give us Leaders Everyday we pray

And we pray and we pray but still ain't nothing change

But we still know that we can never lose the faith

Parents losing kids now it’s a home-i-cide

Someone from your home has died

Breaking families up so now you feel like ain't no home inside

Crazy how you lose your best friend too much homie-cide

Thought of it is horrifying                


 54:32   “Home” by Dympna McCully

(Dympna McCully, retiree)

When I first came to Canada as a child the longing for relatives and pets left behind referred always to “back home”.   It took many years for my family to consider Canada “home”.  A transition is required, a letting go of what was and accepting of what now is.    A settling of the soul is required and the longing of the familiar which must be set aside to allow “home” to become where one is in the moment.  I have returned to my childhood abode and stood outside the house I once called home.  Distant memories of the activities that occurred within those brick walls stir the heart but it is no longer home.  Whenever I travel and return back to Canada, I now return home.  I walk into the house in which I raised my children, in which my parents once sat and where friends were welcomed.  Where tears were shed and disagreements ensued, where laughter abounded, dogs barked and babies cried.    The smell of baking, the gardening, migrating birds at the feeders, digging the car out of snowdrifts accumulated in the long driveway, helpful neighbours, and gatherings for Christmases and birthdays.    It is now in this Pandemic quarantine I wait peacefully, content and safe in my home.

 
56:11   “Complacence is a Danger in My Home” by Cathy Smith         

 Writer Bio: I am a writer who lives on the (Six Nations) Rez. I have 17 publishing credits and was a co-winner of the  2016 Imagining Indigenous Futurism Contest and got an honorable mention in  L. Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future contest.

I’m luckier than most people. My home is my refuge, and I prefer to be a homebody. My biggest danger during this lockdown is becoming complacent, but it is a genuine danger.

It’s easy to overspend when you’re bored. I paid for some distance ed courses to keep me occupied. I also bought some eBooks to entertain me. This can add up fast if I’m not careful. But so far I’ve made sure that I cover the essentials without feeling deprived. The public library helps with its free online courses and ebooks. However, they don’t have my first choice of books or courses. Though they help keep me from feeling deprived when I have to cut back on eBook and online class purchases for the month. I have a few more months left of my COVID-19 benefits, and we’ll see what happens to my finances once I get back to work.

 Making sure I eat, and exercise properly is a struggle. I’m tempted to overeat out of boredom and slack off my exercises. However, I’m lucky that I have enough to eat and can use YouTube to find exercise videos. I’ve found one instructor who gently challenges me. They’ve been generous and offered their exercise video library for free during this time. They also upload new videos on YouTube. Fortunately, I already had the equipment I need for these new videos so there is no cost for the exercises for me.

I hear about all the precautions they want people to take when they go into public. Yet, it’s hard to remember to wear gloves when I leave home to run an errand. I also have to work on making a face mask for myself because there’s none to buy. I bought a nice set on Amazon, but it won’t arrive until June because of the delay with the post office. I have to fight a tendency for carelessness when I go into public. At least, I’ve been able to remember to keep up the social distancing so far.

 I’m snug in my home but a recent car accident happened one-lane-way from mine. It proved to me that I can’t afford to be less than diligent. I feel at ease outside the roadway to my house. But this person flipped their car and injured themselves. They needed to be extracted with the jaws of life and airlifted to the hospital. Which goes to prove I can’t afford to become complacent in my home. The struggle against inertia seems futile but I still need to stay alert to my surroundings.


59:47   “Gestation of Home” by Jane Parry

Writer Bio: Jane Parry is a PhD candidate in McMaster University’s Department of Health, Aging and Society, researching ways to address urban poverty through primary care.  She is also writer, who in her professional life specializes in public health and development, and in her creative writing examines themes of belonging, dislocation, family, and the joyful, painful mystery that is love.

Gestation of a home. Nine months since the relocation to Hamilton, and I'm on a plane sitting on the tarmac waiting to go home for a visit for the first time to where I came here from where I used to live, the place I called home for three decades. I can't fully say I'm going home though. Home is here now. I guess.

 If I was born there, I'd be able to say I'm going home, but I wasn't. I only lived there, albeit for 28 years for more than half of my life. When people here ask me where I'm from, I say I'm from there, which confuses them because I don't look like most people from there. My accent usually the reason why they've asked me where I'm from in the first place is from somewhere else entirely, not here nor there.

 That place, my place of birth, my hometown is somewhere I will always be able to call home. Even though I haven't lived there for decades, so let's try and get this straight. Liverpool, my hometown is my home, even though it isn't and hasn't been for 35 years. Hong Kong is no longer my place of residence, so I can't say I'm going home when I go there.

 Even though it's the only place on earth I truly feel at home. And Hamilton is home because it's where I live, where I'm a doctoral researcher where I study and work and shop and cook and drive and watch TV with my kids and do all the busy things of daily life. It's where I travel from where I returned to, but I don't feel at home here, and I don't yet know if I ever will. Nine months on since we landed here, the kids, and I.

 With 12 suitcases, three backpacks, and two carts. Don't ask me where I'm from or where's home, ask me where I belong. For now, it's an all three of these places for different reasons. All too often though, it feels like my body is in one place and my mind is in another. The plane is about to taxi. The engines are revving up the dock.

 Tom Mark is slick with rain. Pack a Hong Kong Brawley, a friend there had messaged me. It's raining that too. It's 2:00 AM but I'm wide awake, wired with excitement, and if I'm honest, a little apprehension, not knowing how it will feel to be there. Back in my beloved Hong Kong. Wherever you are, however many places you think you belong, you can only ever be in one place at any one time.

 Wherever that is, life continues without you somewhere else, you can ask yourself, what would have been different had you stayed home, not got on the plane, but that's in the past already in the realm of shoulda, woulda, coulda, and you didn't and won't and can’t. What an enormous privilege it is to know more than one home. Waiting to take off I don't know the ship. In a couple of weeks, I will come back from Hong Kong to Hamilton with a new realization. It's true. You can only ever be in one place at a time, but the heart can do magic. The heart can have more than one home and it's expanded, not divided by the elliptical, slipping between them.


1:03:17  “Hamilton is Home” by Laura Llewellyn     

Writer Bio: Laura Llewellyn Proudly Hamilton born. Mohawk College Graduate             

Home is Hamilton

Home is art and architecture

Home is Hamilton

Home is community and caring

Home is Hamilton

Home is education and excellence

Home is Hamilton

Home is family and future

Home is Hamilton

Home is history and hope

Home is Hamilton

Home is industry and innovation

Home is Hamilton

Home is sport and sportsmanship

Home is Hamilton

As the clock ticks and time goes by

The generations grow

Home is Hamilton

Hamilton is Home


1:04:12    “Evening Light on Hunter “ by Emily Hill     
     
Emily Hill Last week, I wrote this little piece about where I live, so I thought I might as well send it in.

At a certain point in the evening the light hits the tree outside my kitchen window in a way that makes the tree glow golden and casts a shadow on the nearby pavement. 

 Here I am in the middle of a city, but it feels like a slowly fading country evening. 

 Maybe it is the long days at home that remind me of summers as a child.

Maybe it is the old workshop that also catches the light and reminds me of my grandpa's farm shed.

Maybe it is the talk of veggies we will grow and honey that will be harvested when this is all over. 

 Whatever it is, it feels like home.

 This is not where I imagined I'd find myself at thirty-seven years old.

This is not where I thought I'd find myself in the middle of a global pandemic.

This is not where I thought I'd be if the world ever fell apart. 

 But here I am. 

 Maybe this is what the old ladies in church mean when they talk of undeserved divine grace.

Maybe this is what the peace which passes all understanding actually feels like. 

Maybe God's light, whose beauty is also magnified when it falls upon something solid, has fallen upon me. 

 The solidness of my being has now been set aglow with a light that, even a few hours ago, would have seemed impossible.


1:06:22    “A Modest Home” by Elaine Rheim     

Writer Bio: Elaine McKinnon Riehm is the retired Managing Editor of the McMaster quarterly, "Eighteenth-Century Fiction."  She is co-author, with Frances Hoffman, of the biography of Hamilton mathematician, John Charles Fields.                  

 
A Modest Home and Something about Its Occupants

I have a clear memory of moving out of the house that my parents had rented for 11 years on Old Orchard Grove at the northern edge of Toronto. We had been evicted peremptorily with two months’ notice because the landlord wanted the house for his son who was being married. Not by choice, therefore, we were moving four blocks south. 

The house on Old Orchard was a semi-detached uninsulated brick house, with a small frame breakfast room at the back that was separated from the kitchen by a curtain that tried to keep the cold out. Our mother kept everything spotless, washing floors on her hands and knees and polishing the wood floor with a woollen cloth under a flat stone that she pushed around. Daddy painted the interior, but as tenants, we were not responsible for the exterior, and as the landlord didn’t want to be bothered, gradually the outside grew dilapidated, and the front porch developed a tilt.

There is a family photograph taken in front of the sagging porch. The five of us are setting off on a summer picnic, hamper packed, picnic rug rolled, and a large thermos of lemonade filled. We are first going to walk to the City Limits, and then board the Yonge Street trolley, a streetcar with straw seats that swayed its way down and up Hoggs Hollow heading north to Richmond Hill. At the end of the line, we will get off and walk east a mile or two where we are sure to find a shade tree by the road, and there we will have our picnic.

This photograph proves that it was not always winter when we lived in that house.

A day or two before we moved from 297 Old Orchard Grove, our landlord phoned to ask if we would like after all to stay on. His prospective daughter-in-law had seen the house and, noting its shabbiness, said she refused to live there. 

This caused us great merriment

     
1:09:22    “Forty-Two Love Letter” by Hina Ranni                 

Writer Bio: Hina Rani is a second year student at McMaster. For me, a global pandemic meant leaving one house for another, and being left with the task of carefully parsing the meaning of “home” between my family and student residences. It was an inordinate amount of love that I felt for my home in Hamilton: the first house that selflessly allowed me to shape it and fill with my own essence. I sensed the wide-eyed youthfulness in this sentiment – the notion of “playing house,” even as an adult – and decided to embrace it. In the melancholy of missing the other half of my life that lay outside of my hometown, I wrote “Forty-Two Love Letter,” a letter addressed to my first student home.

 To our beloved Forty-Two: 

 It’s a different kind of love that you build with the first place you can truly call your own. It's a different kind of affection you have for those walls that, despite being older than you can imagine, find within themselves the life to grow, breathe, and change along with you; grounding you in a time when you yourself struggle to keep track of the person you're becoming. Forty-two, you were the most beautiful house on that street, beating out even the weird one shaped like an octagon just down the road (the one I thought I had imagined when I drove past it for the first time). Even though your garage door featured the visually offensive amalgamation of rust on white paint, and your driveway was so overgrown with weeds that only our most frequent guests could find their way in on the first try, there's a certain charm to the overgrown White Oak that so stubbornly sat in the middle of the front yard, scratching at windows and making it hard to park our cars. It's a tree that, much like the house, demanded to be loved; to be climbed and explored and to make sure our First Aid credentials are up to date. Even more demanding were the neighbourhood cats, who tried and failed to hide their curiousity about jack-o-lanterns, garbage bins dragged to the curb, or the smell of baking cookies coming from inside the house. Bumping their heads against our shins; rolling over for belly rubs; trying to catch our eye through the back door as they stalked through our backyard: never once did they grow tired of the pursuit of our attention. That was never a problem, though. We at Forty-Two had love to give in spades. 

 When I look back at this part of my life, I'll remember you as the in-between home. The place that bears my footsteps just as I'm learning to stand on my own two feet but not the home where I will take my shoes off for the last time. In this liminal space, you're the hammock that bridges the gap, making me feel okay about not knowing where I'm going just yet, so long as I get to come home to that sunlit kitchen at the end of the afternoon. It’s a shame that we had to leave when we did. There are still unfinished paintings on the walls of the living room and the unfulfilled promise of birthday sangria hanging in the air over the kitchen counters. There's still that mildewed shed we have yet to muster the courage to enter and a garage we have yet to organize. There are lots of breakdowns, celebrations, and shared meals still to be had within your walls, so don't you worry Forty-two. We'll be back.

 Love, 

Your Girls 


1:12:23   “Granary Wash” by Eric Petterson

Writer Bio: Eric Petterson, a young senior.  I scribble short stories, flash fiction and a bit of poetry for fun.  Each completed piece big or small gives me a feeling of accomplishment that powers the hours needed for the next creation.  Hamilton has been my home for twenty-five years and I have recently moved to the quiet countryside of Burlington.

A soft summer rain fell as Ingrid and I watched through a window of our cottage-home. We could see boats moored on the Sixteen Mile Creek and the old Granary building next door. Rain now pounded much harder. Silver sheets rippled and danced over the shingles of the Granary roof. A spray of water gushed from the downspout at the end of the building like a fire-hose. 

Mom broke the spell as she handed me a battered galvanized bucket, “Get some water Sonny” and she pointed toward the Granary. I had to act fast before the downpour stopped. For Mom, rain-water was a wash-day prize; it made a time consuming chore much easier and gave soft cuddly laundry. 

I found one of my rubber boots and had to chase Ingy for the other. She had scampered off with it when she knew I needed it for the rain-water chore. She wasn't allowed to help, it was boy's work. I cornered Ingy, grabbed my boot and pulled it on. Rubber boot tops were always folded over several inches, far easier to tuck pant legs into and they looked work-man like. Now I'm ready, I had the bucket and headed out the door. The plank porch was treacherous when wet. I was careful. I slid down the steep bank and crashed through hip high weeds, toward the downspout torrent. I thrust my pail into the rush of water and it overflowed in a flash. I tramped through more burdock and nettles and didn’t spill any precious water. I struggled up the greasy hill, and splashed my first bucket-full into the McClary Washer. Mom’s faithful work-horse stood on the porch by the clothes-line. 

Meanwhile, I yelled for Mom to pass me soap and a face-cloth. Mom appeared and saw that her McClary Washer was full and smiled as she passed me the Lifebuoy. 

“Thanks son!” My wet tee-shirt was a struggle to remove and my boots squished with water. I worked them off, socks next, and noticed my toes were stuffed with slubs of blue cotton - nasty. I swished my feet in a bucket of water and used the lifebuoy to work up a good lather from head to toe. No one was watching so I slipped out of my shorts and Lifebuoyed my jewels and backside. Another half a pail of water was enough to rinse with. I grabbed a fluffy towel hung on the inside door knob and jumped into dry clothes. I was Lifebuoy-clean and good till the next rain-shower or creek swim, whichever came first. Mom was very happy with her McClary 2-Speed Wringer Washer, full of rain-water. It was ready for Monday. She thanked Ingy and me with huge hugs and gave a grateful nod toward the Granary.

“The Trail” by Cher Obediah
“Thanks for Asking” by Ken Watson
"With You" by Chris Alamino
“Still” by Marilyn Pilling
Window Watcher by Ariella Ruby
“A Homeric Poem” by John Hill
“Don’t Call it Home” by Nea Reid
“Drive By Shooting” by John Rook
“Places That Shape Us” by Deborah Bowen
“What Does Home Mean to You?” by Grace McNamara
“Home Again” by Holly Smith
“Callous Address” by Kaitlin Blanchard
“The Way Back Home” by Laura Lawson
“The Void in My Heart” by Sifat E. Rabanni
“Heaven” by Emily Wall
“True Love” by Jessica Lee Flemming
“Home” by Calla Churchward
“I am Canadian/Glass Ceiling” by Julie Knez
“Looking Back at Home” by Sharang Sharma
“Accidental Peoples Champ” by Abdul Hakim Yusif
“Home” by Dympna McCully
“Complacence is a Danger in My Home” by Cathy Smith
“Gestation of Home” by Jane Perry
“Hamilton is Home” by Laura Llewellyn
“Evening Light on Hunter “ by Emily Hill
“A Modest Home” by Elaine Rheim
“Forty-Two Love Letter” by Hina Ranni
“Granary Wash” by Eric Petterson