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From the archives

Paper Rout

Postmedia in the gutter

Past Trauma

Richard Wagamese and an Indigenous literary resurgence

Family Pride

Profiles in gay life

The Condolence Call


I cradle the phone gently.

You are so far away.


Your grief surrounds you now

like a moat full of dark water.


I cannot reach

far enough to comfort you.


My words flit around, useless

as flies.

What, after all, can be said?


It’s a parent’s worst nightmare, you say.


I imagine I would have howled.

I imagine I would have rolled on the floor.

But in the end, I cannot begin to imagine.


I’ll be okay, you say,


but your voice is so remote,

as if you’ve left us all


for a bleaker planet


where the air is charred,

and you cannot find the path

that leads

back home.


Marsha Barber is the author of two poetry books: What Is the Sound of Someone Unravelling (Borealis Press, 2011) and All the Lovely Broken People (Borealis Press, 2015). She has won several first-place awards from The Ontario Poetry Society and been shortlisted for the international Bridport Prize for poetry and longlisted for the national ReLit Award. Marsha’s work has been published in a wide range of periodicals including The Antigonish Review, The New Quarterly, The Walrus and The Prairie Journal.