Ice Fishing in May

Erin Emily Ann Vance


Antagonistic, smug in broken lace.
a blossoming, hard leather shell
Peroxide limbs swathed in vitiligo
The sea women wither with their pearl nooses
weighed down with heavy scrim
Over and over the bloat still floats
calm and putrid as a swollen cloud.

A blank smile, the porcelain cracks down
a waterlogged face
the foaming stench of the bombyx.
The dark green forest beneath the waves
the thorns sprouting from the corpses
sharp teeth dulled by tide
Stockings heavy, knocking against the floor of the lake.

the weeds attends them, overblown infants.
their hair heavy wet wool
no screaming, no clawing
just stillness, there are no rocks in the pockets
of their frocks, no iron chains
only stillness–the cool water
a grey reassurance


Erin Emily Ann Vance’s work has appeared in numerous journals, including Contemporary Verse 2 and filling station. She was a 2017 recipient of the Alberta Foundation for the Arts Young Artist Prize and a 2018 Finalist for the Alberta Magazine Awards in Fiction. She has work forthcoming in The Occulum, Revue Post, Plentitude, and The Warren Review. Find her at and @erinemilyann on instagram and twitter.