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SCARBOROUGH FAIR is currently hosting a Flash Fiction and Poetry Contest open to all University of Toronto Students. The strongest pieces will be selected by a panel of judges and be published by Scarborough Fair.

The contest deadline is October 31st 2015 at 11:59 PM.     

CLICK HERE for complete submission details.


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Sudoku Word-Search Sestina

by John Dias


The bedroom in Mai’s apartment is incomplete:

A  PEN hangs on the edge of the TABLE,

Beside an unfinished Sudoku grid.

Lingering thoughts make me ransack the room;

Even the BED in the room is turned over.

Past thoughts are brought to me through Mai’s belongings.


DEPARTure is what I’m reminded of by those belongings.

Rummaging through them I am incomplete,

Nothing replaces the regrets I won’t get over.

Memories of Mai are scattered around her TABLE,

and I find the PENDANT she once wore, across the room.

Her room is an unforgettable yet unsolvable grid.


Below my feet, the floor paints a tile grid

in which I do not fit. I shouldn’t be longing

for Mai to come back because her room

will forever be without her and will remain incomplete.

The hopes Mai and I once kept under the table

Have met their END and are all over. 


My thoughts about Mai are of course not over.

I am a crooked RAT in a maze, an ANT in a grid.

I try to make sense of things as I sit by Mai’s table.

Her silk stockings are just one of the belongings

that lie on the floor like shed snakeskin. They are incomplete;

a mere reminder of the woman who once wore them in this room. 


I make a twisted PLEA through the TALE I tell in this room

I wish I could fill in the chasms Mai left, but I’m BENT over

And out of shape. I wish I could fill in voids like the incomplete

Squares Mai left on the Sudoku grid.

But without Mai what good are all her belongings…

Wet wood grain veins run through her table. 


As rain spills in through the window behind the table,

Sudoku ink BLENDs with water. I realize there’s no room

for change. I’ll forever be haunted by Mai’s belongings.

They are a montage of photographs that have fallen over,

That drag me down with them into a remorseful grid.

Mai and I are apart and that is why I am incomplete. 

But I am incomplete, not only because I am alone in Mai’s room,


But because I’ve kept no timetable. I’ve wasted time here over and over.

I’ve chosen the confines of a grid to seek a sense of belonging.


puzzle (1): Finish the Sudoku.

puzzle (2): Use the finished Sudoku to solve the empty grid below it. To do this, look at the first letters of the first nine lines of this sestina below. Replace all the numbers in the puzzle with their corresponding letters: All ‘1’s become ‘T’s. All ‘2’s become ‘A’s, etc…

The underlined words in the poem are the hidden in Mai’s room. 

Find them.