“Water Snakes or Medusa,” by Keah Hansen


The views expressed in the texts do not necessarily represent the views of the artist.


She asked, “Why is it that women are always drowning?”

And Kate Chopin replied, “The voice of the sea speaks to [her] soul.”

And this soul seemed to wash out over the sidewalks like leafs held by puddles. They were singularly beautiful and flickered in the mid-afternoon sun and then almost jumped like fish in a koi pond. I thought of that good Lady of Shalott as a leaf, perhaps oak, swirling in a soapy green dress then resting amongst the reeds and silt. A body proffered to the sublime. The “dark continent.” The flumes of smoke that rest on eyelids or the foams that fork the beach into bits that yield and bits that take. The water admitted her hunger, spit it out with opal teeth, and the subconscious grasped another victim. But who, I wondered, had first moulded water into a woman?

I walked home and broke eggs in a pan. They sung and floated merrily in butter. I asked aloud, “Who would have the audacity to decide on a woman’s body or soul?”

And these words sizzled like life itself on the floorboards. They scratched the ears of my cat mindlessly and drew quizzical circles of soapy water on the moon-shaped plate in the sink. This soul seemed to hide inside the crinkles of the tissues. Or the steam from a lavender-scented bath. It even nestled in the roots of the houseplant when fed droplets from the dripping tap. But I was ravenous so I ate and thought and moved my body through the kitchen, falling into the news headlines and letting the water recede to wreak havoc in the basement.

Then a nasally voice bleated, “Storm warning in effect.” It was Clorox, which smartened up the murky underpinnings of each woman in her home, breaking eggs into pans and thinking. At this point, I used my tissues and waded into a bath soaked with the sounds of violin and imagined myself a muse then invoked all the saints of this city. The secular and sacred vied for me and I wondered which institution would best house my eyes and swaddle my soul in warm linen, made to look like silk.

I glanced outside and saw teardrops clawing at the windowpane and gathering strength in the rivets thrush against the vines. Then I heard the strength of a voice, and another, break through this window and worm into my submerged ears. It was the distinct sound of soul, not misty nor desperate but full as wildflowers bunched with string. I hunched my shoulders and raised myself, steaming, from that bath and pressed my forehead to the window. The tears had morphed back to rain, and there were women, not woman, moving through the streets with volition. The puddles remained but the leafs were trodden upon and the moving mouths were buttresses for all types of watery symbols.

I dried my legs and arms in time and gently pressed a towel against my wide eyes. Then I donned some clothes and linked with someone’s hand, though my hair still gleamed with wetness.


these words by Keah Hansen were inspired by the art of Sonia Alins Miguel

“Tinaja,” by Ruth Daniell


The views expressed in the texts do not necessarily represent the views of the artist.


Sometimes you wish you could forget your body,
walk away from its needs and all the ways you believe

it fails you. You are not always kind. Just now
you are scrambling up a canyon. The rock is red

and the sky is blue. This is your first time in the desert
and you had not expected to be so in love

but you are. You love the deep blue sky
and the yellow and orange and red sandstone

and the creosote bush and the Joshua trees and
you note with curiosity that the beauty doesn’t

make you less aware of your small self,
it doesn’t take you away from your body. No,

instead your body is a marvel, too, a marvel
that carried you to these other marvels, the sky,

the rock, the creosote bush and the Joshua trees and
now, finally, to the tinaja, this natural basin

carved by wind and filled with rare desert rain. It is
uncommonly wonderful: cool and green and quiet.

Your own body took you here. It is wonderful, too,

to notice your body in this way, when so often

you notice it only when you are hungry or thirsty

or tired or too hot or too cold or you have to pee

and you’re miles from the nearest rest stop.

Your body will be inescapable for your entire life

but you will not be ungrateful. You will press

your hands onto the smooth sandstone

and feel where the wind has come and gone
and will come again and slowly change the world.


these words by Ruth Daniell were inspired by the art of Sonia Alins Miguel

New Prose Poem: “Washi Tales,” by Ilona Martonfi


The views expressed in the texts do not necessarily represent the views of the artist.


No one in the village will tell her. The repossessed house. Her childhood home. The rotting wood. Four rooms. Iron stove. A table. A mother and a father. Two sisters, little brother. Grandmother. Sand dunes, grasslands, reed-lined backwaters, tiny white farms. Disassembled.

Poïesis clangour. Percussive bowing. Scavenging emptiness. Improvisation, nomadic process. Obsessive. The marginal and maimed. That which is cast out. A place of no place. Into the nothing. Riffing off these lines. Her mother reporting the bad news. Or retelling old bad news. Keeping track of shapeless, violent births; confessions and letters; the omen unfolding in real life. Shuffling. Slurring. Inept.

A purple iris. Faceless, carrying her. Name folded into another name. Put black paint back to its unblemishedness. Unbruised.


Wading in warm mud. A womb. Tales of sexual predation. Cruel loneliness.


these words by Ilona Martonfi were inspired by the art of Sonia Alins Miguel

On Sisterhood and Solidarity: “All the Things I Never Got to Say,” by Fiona Williams


The views expressed in the texts do not necessarily represent the views of the artist.


There aren’t enough words in the English language to sufficiently express what you mean to me.
I’m going to try anyway.

I should have told you that your smile is my favourite thing in the world. That the memory of your radiance is what keeps me warm during these cold winter nights.

I should have told you that a hug was all I needed. Instead, you gave me your heart and you gave it to me so fully. You also bought me chocolates.

I should have told you that I never meant to cry during our dinner. You didn’t even question it; you helped me wipe away the tears.

I should have told you that your 2 a.m. phone call saved my life. That the patience and selflessness you have shown me, I will never find in someone else.

I should have told you that I think I found my soulmate. Your intelligence keeps me in awe, and your kindness keeps me afloat.

I should have told you that I worry now that you’re not around. I worry you’ll settle for less than you deserve because even if I could gift you the universe, somehow it still wouldn’t be enough.

I should have told you that you look like Home to me. You look like Salvation. You look like Shelter. You look like Safety.

What I should have told all the incredible women who have helped me become the woman I am today:

Thank you.

I love you.

I couldn’t have done it without you.


these words by Fiona Williams were inspired by the art of Sonia Alins Miguel

On Mental Health: “Fight or Flight”


It was an invisible voice, driving him onward.


He took comfort in knowing he wasn’t completely alone, but he paused, motionless, for someone else to lead the way.

“Hide,” the voice repeated, this time almost a shout.

Faint rustling, as someone else approached, were muffled through his own heavy breathing as he turned to stare, head on, into yellow evolving eyes. He was face to face with death.

He remained, unmoving, assessing what it would mean to his survival: the choice to fight.

He glanced behind his shoulder, out of options, as the eyes grew less distinct and he was forcefully pushed back into his helpless body, unable to run, no longer in time to hide.

Heart beating wildly, chest rising, yet he felt no air reach his lungs.


He opened his eyes and the room was no longer spinning—chest no longer growling. His stomach felt heavy, a bead of sweat meandered down his right cheek. He swiped at it, halfheartedly, with the back of his hand. There was no forest, no golden eyes staring him down, just a microphone in hand and an audience on looking, an uncomfortable pause between applause and speech, hanging in the air as they waited for him to begin.

“Yes-” he cleared his throat.

“Thank you all for coming out tonight.”

The hairs on his arm still stood on end. A shiver ran through his body. “Keep calm,” the voice now instructed.

He closed his eyes to shake himself of the attack, there was a bottle of Valium waiting for him at home, for now, the task at hand remained.

word by Annie Rubin 

From the author: “The harsh edges, intensely vibrant colours, and the vivid animal-like quality of the artwork inspired an intensity motivated by animalistic instinct. The jagged edges and bright lines were reminiscent of a sense of anxiety, in this case manifested in the form of a panic attack. Such an episode takes place as the body’s natural “fight or flight” instinct to combat present danger replaces logic. While many people have suffered from panic, our society rewards silence around the issue, perpetuating a stigma around mental health.”

colour by Marina Gonzalez Eme

Issue #215: On memory and colour


When I look at my hands I start to cry. Leathered and worn, dry skin flakes between my fingers and my lifelines seem etched into my palms, my hands are permanently stained; dark hues of purple and green crept below the surface, and stayed there. My life is on my hands and I can’t hide the fact that I have graced many a wall with my personal epithets. I staked my claim, marked my territory with a manifest destiny-type vengeance and sought out every clear space, every void, and every emptiness to fill it.
 art colour memory
My face is wet and I let the tears fall freely from my face. My hands lay in my lap, unmoving, poised for continued inspection. They tell every memory and moment and hurt with the knowledge of a past ached for.
  art colour memory
In the summer time heat, the humidity was thick and held the paint in the air around me. I searched the streets for new ground and found beautiful canvasses in the neatly tucked away spaces between buildings, inside dimly lit tunnels and parking lots; these were areas ripe for beautification. Can always at the ready, I would surveil the area and quickly throw up my tag. I would come home tinged in color, turned sepia, a danger to all white surfaces in my vicinity. I would take my black off, strip down bare, lay on my back, raise my arms in the air and look at my hands with intense interest. Color caked in the crevices of my cuticles and my knuckles darkened by the paint in the creases of my skin. I would lay there until my arms were tired, feeling the adrenaline leave the extremities of my body. Right index finger bent, I would practice above my head, my tag lines fluid, clean and quick. They littered the pages of my school books, and even now, the discarded envelopes that formerly housed my bills, bank statements and junk mail. I make my mark everywhere, although no one else sees it now.

word by Cora-Lee Conway

colour by Pichi&Avo

looking for nothing

amargo 2

Alice waits a long time to pick up the book. On the deck, beside her, the cover is damp from the ocean spray, but she doesn’t mind. Traveled, the book is heavy in her hands when she flips to the beginning, wet. At first, she can only stare through the worn pages –  it takes time to focus on the words. She hears her mother’s voice (faint, as though yelling from the kitchen) telling her that the first line of a story is the most important. Her dull and grey eyes scroll down to those crucial first words. 

I’ll either be great or nothing at all.

Now that’s how you start a book, she thinks. Deep. Legs laced through the ship’s rail, she reads on, occasionally lifting her head to stare out at the horizon. The lava-red sunset bleeds into the darkening sky, seeping into the black, giving the panoramic a sloppy finish, like God tipped over paint cans. She reads, waiting for the rest of the book to offer more of the infinite pearl glimpsed in those elegant first words.

It never does. Great or nothing at all. Like my story, like everyone’s story, she thinks. Things always start out simply: It’s only after we keep pushing deeper and deeper and pulling everything apart to look for something unknowable before putting it back together only to realize that now it’s just pieces. Commitment is complicated and petty and you can’t see that until the only people left to comfort you are an old book and the sea. He left his name and address. Who knows, maybe things will return to our initial simplicity. She won’t know unless she finishes the story.

She wipes her face and tastes salt on her lips. The last of the sunlight streams across the water. She reads. The ship beats slowly, steadily toward the horizon, and she wonders if the last line will be as good as the first.

word by Josh Elyea

colour by Pablo Amargo