Our fall issue, Grain 50.1, heralds the beginning of a new publishing year—and Grain Magazine’s fiftieth anniversary—a half-century of showcasing brilliant work from Saskatchewan, Canadian and international writers.
The issue also features the 2022 Short Grain Winners. Congratulations all! You can read excerpts of their work on our social media.
We chose the theme “Infinite Potential” from Leanne Toshiko Simpson’s story “Things Could Be Different Here” as a positive, celebratory note to begin our fiftieth year. Of course, other themes emerged. Themes of family, identity and history. Themes of grief and loss. Jaynie Himsl’s vibrant textile art also speaks of family and place while evoking feelings of nostalgia, foreboding, and hope.
As the weather cools and the leaves turn, we invite you to cuddle up and enjoy the read!
Mari-Lou Rowley, Grain Editor
GIRL IN SEPIA [excerpt] | Kaye Miller
It is funny to me how swiftly families change from generation to generation.
My mom is the first generation on her father’s side to have been born off the colony, and I grew up a whole province apart from my Hutterite family. One way or another, I am a second-generation atheist, fourth-generation Canadian, and first-generation lesbian—so far as I know.
I HAVEN’T SEEN YOU SINCE YOU DIED [excerpt] | Yasmina Jaksic
but i feel you, sometimes, a shadow in the shape of a feline
rubbing your new lithe, downy body against my back, but when i turn—
there, in the blue-lilac of a fall dawn when the breeze is conscious
again after summer’s stillness, a gentle knuckling under my eyes and over the
ridges of my ears.
MILESTONE, SK [excerpt] | Sandra Maxson
Later, people would ask Jenny about the sound and how she knew it was gunshots. On the news, people always said they heard pops, like firecrackers. They didn’t expect gunshots. Jenny said she must have somehow thought gunshots were more likely than firecrackers even in the only real estate office in Milestone, Saskatchewan, population: eighteen-hundred.
GOD DAMN THE CAPTAINS [excerpt] | Steve Passey
One hundred and thirty-two of us signed on for sealers on the Newfoundland. We sit and shiver on the ice in the dark of night, each of us alone now. Papists, Anglicans, lunatic evangelicals, men who call themselves Canadians and men who say they’re subjects of the King of England, and one Mi’kmaq named Billy who says he doesn’t believe in anything and never will and that this boat is a strange place to argue religion with men bunking head to foot, all of them signed on to beat two-week old whitecoats to death with long-handled hammers so as to furnish the pelts to garb some European swells no one will ever meet.
FROM THE SPANISH | Tom Wayman
Words grown in a noon so hot
a shadow crawls under an olive tree
to be out of the sun. Two small boys
meantime carefully bear the pot of gazpacho
to the fields for the communal meal.
Words that fly overhead: a brass lamp from a
broken synagogue, Damascus knife blade found in
a looted house, an icon that candles have darkened
with soot. Carts burdened by hay or missing teeth
or graves are pulled by an old tractor. Behind the wheels,
dust flickers silver on the moonlit road
and at dawn rises into flashing gems of the sun.
A barge of words enters the canal lock of another
language, its cargo transported to dreams of wharves and the sea.