Beyond Yuquot

No one wants to turn their kayak and head back. But we’ve been pad­dling for eleven days, rid­ing the west­ern swells over night­mare shoals, and are des­per­ate­ly out of sup­plies. Dry clothes are but a mem­o­ry and the aro­ma ris­ing when we pull off our cock­pit cov­ers is staggering—smoky wool and stale wet neo­prene, pun­gent sea­weed, the unmis­tak­able musk of sleep­ing bag romances, and the rapid­ly decom­pos­ing left­overs of what lit­tle rations remain: Rye-Crisp which is any­thing but crisp, tea-bags used and re-used, bare­ly colour­ing already-tan­nic out­er coast water, and all the rolling papers stuck togeth­er in a long accor­dion spliff.

Read more in The Broken City Mazagine


Lipstick and Spinster Lane

(Lipstick) Standing by my gov­ern­ment truck four­teen kilo­me­ters from town; keep­ing chaos at bay in the woods or so it often seems.   Down the hill comes an old four-door sedan—a real land barge from the ear­ly sev­en­ties, once proud in the coun­try club park­ing lot, now just rusty and fad­ed, sag­ging under a load.  I wave it to a stop and the dri­ver, a weary-look­ing woman, ner­vous­ly glances at my for­est ser­vice badges.   I am sur­prised when I have a quick look inside the spa­cious interior—all the seats but hers are removed and the space piled high with fire­wood.  The trunk lid flaps, unable to close for the burden.

(Spinster Lane) She was giv­en a dead rac­coon by a neigh­bour whose hen­house it had plagued.  She want­ed to make a hat so skinned it her­self for after the five men through her life who brought her win­ter fire­wood and slipped rough hands under her camisole, she’d learned there was no one depend­able.  Scraping the lard off the inner lay­er, she gave it to her dog, Gizmo, Giz for short, who soon went par­a­lyzed in the field, still breath­ing but not mov­ing for a day and a night.

Read more in Rhubarb Magazine


Stranglers, Water Thieves, Wide-mouth Pumpkins and the Sweet Talking Ladies in the White Trailer

The ear­ly sum­mer light­ning storms frol­ic a hell­ish two-step across the forest­ed steeps of the north Island trail­ing fire from Wolf River up to the hem­lock-bal­sam jun­gle of the Artlish that has rarely felt this devil’s lick.  The unusu­al drought ear­li­er in the sea­son parched the forests into corn flakes and shriv­eled the nee­dles and twigs. Lower branch­es curl down in search of scant water.  Underfoot moss and lichen crum­ble to grey life­less pow­der, the earth hol­low in its thirst. Then, this swarm of thun­der­bolts.  Big fires around Gold River, above Muchalat Lake along the umbil­i­cal pow­er lines, and an angry sky close to Vernon Camp and blus­tery Atluck Lake

Read more in the Malahat Review, Winter 2017



I had to know how far to push him, where his edges were, what set him off.  For all I knew he could’ve been my last chance.

After thir­ty years of mar­riage to an oaf, one day I hopped in the Chev. Said I was going out for milk.    I’d had enough, and the kids were grown.  I did like so many women and slipped out the door one morn­ing and drove west, toward the coast, watch­ing the house fade away in the rear-view mir­ror until I could cov­er it by hold­ing up my thumb.  I didn’t tell him I was going, I didn’t pee in his shoes like my friend Sally did with her dear­ly beloved.  No note, no noth­ing, just gone.  I bet he’s still at home, wait­ing in his reclin­er for a sup­per no one’s going to bring.

Read more in PRISM 52:3 Spring 2014