One Love

Seventeen circle the rim of the gym in orbit around the instructor who yells and yells and yells. They listen to him. (The fathers, in hopefulness, peer from the halls.) …

Illustration by Jason Logan
Illustration by Jason Logan

Seventeen circle the rim of the gym
in orbit around the instructor who yells
and yells and yells. They listen to him.
(The fathers, in hopefulness, peer from the halls.)

Seventeen scissor their legs on the mats,
slashing the air, like quick little knives.
They are told to develop their glutes and their lats.
(The fathers remember their whey-pasty wives.)

Seventeen shoulder their bags to the courts;
their elders assure them it’s not about winning
but wince, as the possible pecks at their hearts.
(The fathers are fat and their forelocks are thinning.)

Seventeen play to the darkening hours
then peel off in columns, exhausted and little.
They go to the washrooms and tremble in mirrors.
(The fathers bare teeth, lemon-coloured and brittle.)

Seventeen eight-year-old creatures are moving;
they climb into vans. As if speaking to God,
they venture, I think that I’m really improving.
The fathers hit gas and devour the road.

This appeared in the November 2016 issue.

Alexandra Oliver
Alexandra Oliver won the 2014 Pat Lowther Award for Meeting the Tormentors in Safeway.

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Jennifer Hollett I have been digging into the pages of The Walrus Summer Reading issue and remarking at all of the contributions from our former and current Fellows. It reminds me that every issue of The Walrus is a result of a culmination of efforts (including lengthy fact-checking) from the editorial team, the emerging journalists they train, and the generous supporters who make all of this happen.

Through The Walrus Editorial Fellowship Program, we have the privilege of training the next generation of professionals who are passionate about the integrity of journalism. In the Summer Reading issue, 2021 Cannonbury Fellow Connor Garel wrote a piece on Frankie Perez and the art of breaking. Tajja Isen contributed an excerpt from her first book, Some of my Best Friends. Isen, who also began her career at The Walrus as a Cannonbury Fellow, is currently Editor-in-Chief at Catapult magazine.

Our 2022 Chawkers Fellow, Mashal Butt, was instrumental in making sure we got the facts straight in our Summer Reading issue, having fact-checked six features, including Sarah Totton’s short story “The Click.” And, you can look forward to a cover story on housing affordability by our 2022 Justice Fund Writer in Residence, JS Rutgers. (Rutgers is now a climate reporter for The Narwhal.)

Donations of any amount (great or small) mean that we can keep on training future journalists in the rigorous practice of fact-checking and editing. With your support, we can continue to keep The Walrus available to readers everywhere as well as help foster the next generation of reporters, copy-editors, fact-checkers, and editors.

With gratitude,

Jennifer Hollett
Executive Director, The Walrus