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From the archives

The Path of Poetic Resistance

To disarm Canada and its canon

Are Interests Really Value-Free?

A salvo from the “realist” school of Canadian foreign relations

Going It Alone

The marvellous, single-minded, doggedly strange passion of citizen scientists

Cures of patients, who suppose themselves to be glass, may easily be performed by pulling a chair, upon which they are about to sit, from under them, and afterwards showing them a large collection of pieces of glass as the fragments of their bodies.

Dr. Benjamin Rush

Tinted windows in the killer’s Camaro, burnished windows of the Wall Street skyscraper, bulletproof windows of the Popemobile, stained-glass window made in my grandfather’s name (gold makes the wine-red colour), window-face of my father’s watch, cracked glass in the parking lot, shards in the park sandbox, encasement of light in bulb, substrate of the looking glass. Look at my history:


I fancied of glass, first my fingers and then arms. Once translucent, I let the doctor see through me: using a candle, he saw my glass heart, glass liver, glass spleen. He diagnosed an error in the furnace: I was fired imperfectly, I should return to flesh and begin again. It is true: I wanted to die. Before I agreed, I asked about impurity: what is the purpose of becoming like light when grit and bark prevent a perfect image? He said: fall, break, and you shall be made flesh again. He pushed my chest and I shattered on the ground.


How I see: through eyes of glass that are painted and then burnt intact. I feel through the silica whorls of fingertips. I love the smooth, cold texture of my thick limbs and on my brittle lips are hymns to the light. I am invisible except as intensification of light that glows past bits of dirt. The doctor is blinded when he looks, he holds hands over his eyes that are also glass, but he is afraid to become an entire eye, a pane.

Shane Neilson is the author of Saving and, with Roxanna Bennett, The Suspect We.