Migrant Worker as Temporary Illusionist by Faith Arkorful

Faith Arkorful – “Migrant Worker as Temporary Illusionist” – published in Issue 5 of Canthius (2018). Yesterday night my uncle returned  from the farm which in itself is  a miracle. Some men fall from trees and  never get back up. I watch generations  grow and die in the harvest season.   Uncle returns each year a little  weaker and just as poor. Cheap apples  don’t cure the road. He brings a barrel of fruit  and my mother gives him my old phone.  Beetles flee from flame and I am a roach shaking away from the light,  digging into a rotten apple,  eating the core and all the seeds.   For the best six months of the year Canada steals my uncle way to dig around in the earth for  a hidden secret. One night I was born  and ever since I have had the small power  to argue about the prince in which  I am  willing to hurt. I do not use this shaky power because I am probably a coward.   Real hurt is found in the constant reaching  upwards to pick fruit. This reaching shreds  lineages like a game of tug-of-war. We play  for keeps, for life. I do not use this shaky  power because I do not know how to use it.  I do not use this shaky power and all apples go bad before I can make anything out of them.   Bio: Faith Arkorful has had her work published in GUTS Magazine, Peach Magazine, PRISM International, Hobart, without/pretend, The Puritan, and Canthius Magazine, amongst other places. She was a semi-finalist in the 2019 92Y Discovery Poetry Contest and made the shortlist for the 2019 CBC Poetry Prize. Faith was born in Toronto, where she still resides.


Canthius celebrates poetry and prose by women, trans men, non-binary, Two-Spirit, genderqueer, and gender non-conforming writers, and these poems were chosen to reflect that diversity. The poems also speak to the currency of the world and human occupation of these current times. Jacqueline Valencia’s “Micro macro” from Issue 2 (Spring/Summer 2016) and Faith Arkorful’s “Migrant worker as Temporary Illusionist” from Issue 5 (2018) reflects the relationship between the minutiae of micro and the overarching influence of the macro. Similarly, the three upcoming poems in Issue 9 (September 2021)—Jody Chan’s “stay at home order,” Bahar Orang’s “What can be disentangled from language,” and John Elizabeth Stintzi’s “Where The Hours Go”—point to how our relationality, or the way we relate to each other, has its basis in being human, being alive.

–Sanchari Sur, Former Managing Editor, Canthius


Cover image of Canthius, Issue 09. Image is colourful and depicts and the lower half of several bodies, from belly button to feet, displayed symetrically and artfully, reminiscent of flowers.

Canthius Issue 09 includes new writing from Callum Angus, Tara Borin, Sophie Crocker, Jody Chan, Sofia Ezdina, Jennifer Alicia Murrin, Alton Melvar M. Dapanas, Bahar Orang, Roshni Riar, John Elizabeth Stinzi, Hannah Senicar, Kate Sutherland, Erin Wilson. This issue’s featured visual artist is Caitlin McDonagh.