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Welcome to SENTINEL LITERARY QUARTERLY

Vol.3. No. 3. April - June 2010

 


CONTRIBUTORS

POETRY

SECTIONS

Barrie Darke
Bruce J. Berger
Chad Norman
Christian Ward
Chuma Nwokolo Jr
Claire Askew
Colin Gallant
Davide Trame
Gary Beck
Ivor W. Hartmann
Katie Metcalfe
M C Hardwick
Michael Conley
Minna Salami
Pete Court
Roger Elkin
Warren Paul Glover
George Freek
 
 
 
 

CHAD NORMAN

 

After the women left

 

One day every week the women went to town

at different times for appointments with grocers,

doctors, hairstylists, or to study the bible and pray

in a living room being lit by a late summer sun

quietly drying the wash they left on their lines,

a late summer sun they comment on in stores

pleased to be away from the demands of men.

 

During the few hours Bert knew the house was his

to fill a pipe, to brew some tea, to seem well,

required nothing other than a clarity he claimed

in front of the grandson left unable to question

moments easily described as miracles, simply

an afternoon when a disease seemed to rest,

not to rely on his wife for a box of matches,

one match she usually lit to start the pipe,

an afternoon when his mind came back

and a memory of a trip to family in Coquitlam

became the story he shared with wide smiles

appearing between puffs he exhaled, he blew

in the direction of a picture used to divide

the on-going past from a time he stood by

a window waiting for his wife to drive in,

to allow him to be in need again, arteries hardening.

 

The return of a wife late in the day ends silence

her goodbyes coming in the kitchen window

after wheels grew loud on dry carport stones,

her hellos filled the hallway into where he

resumed a kind of partnership with dying,

went away from being who she wished to ask

out to their swing, cool & still, in a maple's shadow.      

 

The other yesterday

 

Time or fashion or the age had nothing on Gladys.

And I believe she knew what she needed to know

to be her gender, to be all the women she was,

comfortable in a selection of chairs away from

and part of the farmhouse she kept and fortified.               .

 

When the day came to drive with other wives

able to occupy her choice to be a Christian

with the chosen scriptures and popular cookies

meant to enhance the weekly prayers for others

put forward by a congregation she knew by name.

 

At home Bert pretended to fix an edible snack & tea.

The afternoon spent listening to the clock & cattle,

a silence in the kitchen helping him to accept routines

they must be alone to know, and together to call their own.

 

A few hours apart allowed Gladys another happiness

in an era when the church prospered beyond the pew,

mothers, sisters, grandmothers, women after years of love,

on a road they follow to home, the road back to a fridge,

a table, a sink, a meal of leftovers, a holiday apron on a hook.

 

Summer flies

 

After the July day's jagged heat

became dusk's prayed-for breeze

Gladys, a sly fading grin,

almost gave away her amusement,

routinely took down the

red wire-handled rubber swatter

with one hand, and led the

shy suburban boy with the other,

her visiting daughter's only son

chosen over the other grandsons

usually around, loud, shoving to show

how to squash a lot with one swat

out in the shaded yet stifling

favourite glassed-in side porch;

Gladys, a low loving snicker,

she almost let turn to full laughter,

loyally decided the kitchen's demands

would wait a moment or more

to cheer silently as the

helpful merciless boys ended the hunt,

to gladly offer a round of Revellos

in order to enjoy one herself,

and also a moment to forget

how, at dawn, all the filthy little corpses

seemed to signal replacements alive & abuzz.

 

 

CURRENT COMPETITIONS

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Short Story Competition (July 2010)

 

Poetry Competition (July 2010)

 

Sentinel Literature Festival Poetry Competition 2010

 

 

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April-June Index
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Chad Norman lives and writes in Truro. These poems are from his manuscript, Masstown, which deals with the disappearance of family owned and operated dairy farms in the Atlantic region.

 

April-June Index / COMPETITIONS / DRAMA / FICTION / POETRY

 

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