Because it spooks
at the slightest change,
some call the horse skittish,
even stubborn

and yet consider our Morgan, Sonny,
how he can take in an entire person
through those huge nostrils
breathing warm gusts of sweet alfalfa breath
on your skin. In one inhalation
he knows you:

not what you might tell him,
but everything about you that counts
and won’t wash off – your kindness
or lack of it.

In ten seconds of handling
Sonny knows what you know
about horses, or don’t.

Change one thing –
a new water bucket in the back field,
a jacket flung onto a fence post,
loose shingle fluttering in the wind.

Sonny will notice,
will stop, insist on stillness                                                                 
so that the change can brand itself
into his landscape.

The body needs time
to make its peace
with a new morning.

Some call it spooking
and would blame Sonny
for not being quick enough
to accept change

scoff at his request
that his soul be allowed
to catch up.

by Michelle Barker

Michelle Barker lives in Penticton. Her poetry, fiction and non-fiction have been published in several literary reviews including the 2011 Best Canadian Poetry anthology. Her poetry chapbook, Old Growth, Clear-Cut: Poems of Haida Gwaii, was published this year by Leaf Press and is available for sale on Michelle's website (www.michellebarker.ca). Her first novel, The Beggar King, will be out in 2013, published by Thistledown Press. Michelle is an MFA student in creative writing at UBC's optional-residency program.




are not native to this country
they must have jumped
out of Mrs. Prichard’s garden
because life needs
more than dark forest
dry pine needles
dead, grey cedar
forked in shallow water

Now they roam, tiny, purple
along the lake’s edge
on their own
free to plant themselves
like grown children
after she’s gone.

by Alexandra Gilbert

Alexandra Gilbert is a PhD student in English Language and Literature at Memorial University of Newfoundland. Her research interests include Newfoundland Literature, Island Studies, literary theory, and Canadian Literature. She has published book reviews in the Journal of Newfoundland and Labrador Studies and Canadian Literature. She is currently working on a book of poems and a novella.


put your face into the fox’s den or is it a badger’s?
a close fit, like putting on a mask
with its strong musk air old dry fur wet grass dark garden
soil slowly alive with worms and root-tips,
face-first becoming the earth and seeing through its eyes.

 by Kelly Shepherd

Kelly Shepherd is originally from Smithers, British Columbia. Before moving to Kelowna for the Creative Writing MFA at UBC Okanagan, he traveled and worked throughout Canada and Asia, and earned a BEd and an MA from the University of Alberta. Kelly’s poetry and nonfiction writing have appeared in numerous journals and magazines. He has also written three poetry chapbooks: Circumambulations (Publishing Beyond Borders, Reykjavik, Iceland 2003), the bony world (The Rasp and the Wine, Edmonton 2010) and if one petal falls (Leaf Press, Lantzville, BC 2012).


Tibora Bea Girczyc-Blum, Split 2007, Archival Pigment Print, 11" x 14"

Read Artist Statement in Fall 2009 issue

Lake publishes fiction, poetry, critical essays, interviews, reviews and visual arts related to the environment.
The magazine is issued twice a year.

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