Their Arborg, Manitoba, house was tiny,
overwhelmed with snow, the oil tank
level with the eavestroughs. In the kitchen,
Oma, short and always warmly bundled
(whose matronymic has disappeared
somewhere out of mind, if ever learned),
over many cups of vile black coffee
recites her fabled recipe for vinarterta –
brought here last century by ancestors
escaping from hardscrabble farms
made matchsticks by the lava
of Katla, Askja, and Grímsvötn –
names as rehearsed as those of elves …
* poem, in its entirety, is available in the printed version of the current issue.
Steve Noyes has published numerous books, poems, stories, and reviews. His writing has appeared in many journals and newspapers, including the Vancouver Sun, the Globe and Mail, the Malahat Review, the Literary Review of Canada, and previous issues of Queen’s Quarterly.