Hello all. I have two more days until my Covid quarantine is over and I can walk in the sun again. This bug is no joke! I can’t remember the last time I was this tired.

Still, it’s also National Poetry Month and I was fortunate enough to be invited to share some words with the League of Canadian Poets. The first piece is an essay, 18 Interpretations of Resilience. It’s an odd year to spend time thinking about resilience. I tried to be honest about the ways the concept has helped and hindered me. The second piece is a poem, Avocado. This is both one of my favourite poems and one of my most rejected. In retrospect, that feels right for the theme.

I’m off for a nap (lots of those right now). But be well, drink lots of water, and hug your humans.

H. E.

Weeding the Experiential Archives

It’s been a busy week for releases! My short spec-fic piece, Weeding the Experiential Archives, is in the latest issue of Quilliad. It is available to read or download to your device here. This story is inspired by my childhood spent building my own collection of books bought for a quarter from the library discard bin. I wondered what the future version of this would look like. This was a fun one to write as—something most folks don’t know—I’m a library and information technician. Writing this story helped justify 2 years of cataloguing class. Library people know what I mean.

Centring our Creative Community

If you haven’t checked out Spoonie Authors Network, what are you waiting for? Oh. More spoons? Fair. When you have the spoons, visit them and enjoy interviews, tips, and a kickin’ podcast. And if you don’t know what a Spoonie is, they have you covered there too! The network has a focus on disabled and chronically ill creators, but the tips are broadly applicable and can help any author improve their work.

The Don’t Hit Me Dance

by H. E. Casson
(CW: Child abuse, violence)

It was a hopping from one leg
To the other
In front of mother
A hop-hop
Muscles tensed
I sensed her anger
Stand as I can
Taking it like a fully grown man
But beforehand
My performance
My only chance
The don’t hit me dance
(I gave it that name
In remembrance)

And the partner
The parent
That sent me ahead
The tensing
The dread that began with the words
Get the yardstick
The ruler
The wooden spoon
And wait for me
In your room

What caused the dance
Was the game in my mind
That wanted to run
And to leave it behind
But knowing my size
And my age
And relation
Prevented me
From leaving my station
Beside the bed
With the dance in my head
And the stick in my hand
She would use on me

I would do the dance in public places
When she would show one of the faces
Wait till we get home
Wait till I have you all alone
And anger
Hid behind the stare
Of righteousness
And only this
Defense I had been given
To dance
And keep on living

Originally published in Fireweed in 2002.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

In Christie Pits

by H. E. Casson
(CW: Homelessness)

The wading pool is emptied out
The trees have left their leaves about
You wear no coat, but breathe a cloud
In puffs that float above the crowd
At play in Christie Pits

Last night the swings were flipped around
You try to reach them from the ground
Your sister climbs to set them back
While father mimes a heart attack
Brought on at Christie Pits

You snack on fruit and carrot sticks
On cans of pop and peanut mix
You heed the words from all the mums
To feed the birds but not the bums
Who sleep in Christie Pits

Creative Commons Licence
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.