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Cover of issue #219

Current Issue: #219 Contested Migrations (Winter 2013)

Canadian Literature’s Issue 219 (Winter 2013) is now available. The issue features articles by Vinh Nguyen, Miriam Pirbhai, Rachel Bower, and others, as well as new poetry & book reviews.


by Jean Eng

In another country
where gender is justice
he would not stand for this fire
coming from a woman’s belly
her match-lit voice
searing back drafts
into midnight silence.

When she asked him (politely)
to put the cell phone down
while he was driving
he could have killed her.

Instead—he told her
          just a minute
and waited until a dialogue
concluded with his intended party.
She asked him twice. The meter kept running.

Now, in front of her building
she is trying to burn off his thick accent
to that part of his English
capable of understanding: safety hazards, conscience.

He drives halfway around the world
to pick up his own angry god
stone-walling her logic with incantation.
          I did put the phone down.
          I did put the phone down.
          I did put the phone down.

Now—she wants to brain him
with all of the weather inside her.

Instead, she gets out
takes down the cab number
and slams the passenger door so hard
it sends him back to where he came from.

This poem originally appeared in Canadian Literature #163 (Winter 2014), Asian Canadian Writing. (pg. 156)

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