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Upcoast, or, Unsettled

by Rami Schandall

Issue Three: April 1, 2020

Souls and signs

in liquid language raven recalls not the haunting, but its absence

tell me black bird the way to the house of death

the holy vestibule a nave of green windows on the windowless

I know you were here by the sunlit pane of grass

by empty bones upright by treefall and slash

the moss upon carcass upon moss.



beneath dark density of forest, of cloud the white-lipped beach lines another perfect island

home to how many hands clam gardening, shell-steaming meat to mouth, butter-clam tongue traced

remember: the village danced ten thousand winters deep now silent under cedars grown thick in empty hearths

high on clamshell rain

Storm watcher

impatient for the seas to rise take up with the wind to thrash the narrow shores draw down forest and throw it back again

like a pulse and torrent of tide watching for the calm to break in the mudflat stinking below a ruined creek

wild country claimed just long enough for violence the colonial project still works its way through our gums

like shrapnel cutting out where bones stand hollow of merit shards of camp life

decay and decline each wave of extraction another gaping wound slash and screed, silting up


Her apology speaks

her apology speaks against the white whisper he pushes her because she apologizes

there you are, there

because the woman weighs curves has breasts she takes above her fine ass though knuckles pound her body pulling hair because she was nineteen because her jeans because she is sheets shaped like a fan

(“Her apology speaks” is after Kimiko Hahn, “The Akashi Woman Speaks above a Whisper.”)


Rami Schandall is a poet and multi-disciplinary artist based in Toronto, Canada. Her poem, “Timepiece,” was the winner of The Malahat Review’s 2019 Open Season Award. Her prose-poem, “Fernando,” was short-listed for the same prize in 2020. She is interested in the telling and miss-telling of stories, the weird insight available in poetic accident, and cross-pollination between linguistic, visual, and sonic art forms. Currently in development: a poetry manuscript, and a book-length work whose subject is the tragic story of a family that lived on a remote island in northern British Columbia one century ago.

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