MS-13 in My Classroom

Blue pants, white stripes, trace portable tattoos into the fertile land of a teacher’s psyche: a place where crushed heads and dismembered limbs soak in liquid red. The colours you wear bear a statement of the world your ancestors were unfortunate to inherit . . .

Pain Management

Dennis Hanley had used up three of his four weeks at the institute, a small salmon-coloured building on University Avenue’s hospital row. His Worker’s Comp had paid for the first two weeks, and his parents were paying for the other two . . .

On a Day in May Encounters

My friend, my friend, I cannot stop the rain. I cannot catch your grey clouds in the cup of my palm and prevent the murky drops from seeping through the ridges of my hand. I cannot turn back time to foreshadow what has happened . . .

Zoe’s Dance

Zoe had learned long ago that it was unwise to voice her thoughts about weddings. After all, who would listen to a woman who never dreamed of being the bride? As a girl, she often played wedding with the neighbourhood children . . .

Scented Worlds

Sharmila sat still in a corner seat on the subway. She was on her way home from downtown. The officials in their shining towers had summoned her for a hearing after she had missed two citizenship tests in a row . . .

Armadillo

Connie cries for hours, the tears welling up. She’s an endless fountain and the words that I offer are not the least bit effective in making her stop. I feel like I am really not here while she is doing this: breaking up and down . . .

The Tangerine Conundrum

It was when JD suffered a second stroke that matters came to a head in the Meerchand household. There was no way Birla could continue nursing him around the clock when she was getting frail herself . . .

If You Only Knew

Tony Wong smiled back at the waitress in the doughnut shop, took one final drag of his cigarette, then mashed the butt into the ash tray. He picked up his mug of coffee and gulped down the last mouthful before nodding goodbye to the still smiling waitress . . .

Diaspora

I could lose you, but I haven’t so far. I might amuse you, but I daren’t, so far. I could confuse you, but I won’t, so far. Would I refuse you? No, I say. I’ve chosen you, yes, this far from where I was born, faraway from where I woo you, using my hands to soothe you, meeting your hands .  . . .

Sides

She was very pretty, the girl. Pity how thin her lips were. That was Tara’s first impression. The door to the basement opened and for a moment, the dull racket of the party yawned alive. The girl was the first to leave and she did so passing not three feet from Tara’s chair without so much as nodding her head . . .