Bones

The bones, too. Eat the bones too.

Eat the leaves of strawberries;

do not bite the fruit off and throw the rest away

as if the plant grew itself with the intention of being easier

for human hands.

Soft salmon vertebrae melting into my jaw like warm chalk,

and taking bitter green with the sweet red

shifts my perception of creation entirely.

This is a lesson in scarcity, abundance, and

reclaiming relational nourishment

from what civilization calls trash.

common-carp-by-zoe-s-todd

Artwork: “Common Carp” by Zoe S. Todd.

sîpêkiskâwasâkay

feelingmoonyIt’s cute when we send each other pictures of the night sky, even though everyone knows they never turn out.

It’s cute when we waste evenings talking about lunar magic,
but let me get it out of the way and say:
you’re not the moon.

You’re the endless indigo everything holding up the milky way.

You’re the place where the moon feels safe enough to fall asleep
in the strangest cities, in unfamiliar neighbourhoods,

in the middle of nowhere,
after she’s had too much to drink.

You’re not the moon, no.
You’re the intoxicating infinity wrapping around like a blanket,
turning her mess of stars into a constellatory rest.

Those once-in-a-century full moons are nice,
but let me get it out of the way and say:
you’re the kind of inescapable darkness worth returning to every night —
inevitable and
painfully instinctive.

For northern girls

If you knew how proud they are
that you made it to the age of 16
21
twenty-five
30
thirty-six
age 10.
in this province built up
on the devastation of universes and bodies like ours
you might never feel lonely again.

The next time you wonder if life is easier
outside of all your dark-hair, dark-sky isolation
(because we all do)
The next time you wonder if life would be easier
if you took those northern lights flashing under your dark skin
and set them free:

Remember it wasn’t the bare bone rations of canadian benevolence
but the knowledge of you
that fed your ancestors through
those naturally long / unnaturally starved prairie winters.

And your warm skin is their prophecy of spring
in full bloom


CBC: ‘This is a crisis’: 4th girl takes own life in northern Saskatchewan

miwasin

Poetry gives me freedom, sometimes.
Sometimes forces me into shapes, corners, feminities
that are stunning, suffocating
And deliciously dishonest.

Once I said I wanted my writing to taste good
served with misâskwatômina, like sweet berries.
Like the only way Native women are valuable
is when we are consumable.
Pretty.
Sweet.

But the problem is my writing smells more like the iron in blood,
gushing from an enthusiastically miscalculated sinew needle puncture wound.
My writing is the texture of lard and exhaust,
the taste of trying to fill your belly with the inhaled dust of inner city food deserts.
My writing is too many syllables and too much rage.

Did anyone ever tell you:
Your resistance does not need to be sexy to be real.
Sometimes it’s sexy, and you deserve that too,
but your trauma does not need to be poetic to be worthy.

If the purpose of sweetness
is to make me palatable enough to balance on your tongue
jusqua
until you swallow me whole,

I hope my writing never
ever
tastes like berries.

IMG_0180

A desert tortoise named The Old Lady. She grew up in Hollywood, and is now about 90 years old and has retired to the suburbs. Desert tortoises have an extraordinary capacity for enduring harsh environments. Today I found out she isn’t much for blueberries, preferring either the flowers on my dress or the shade cast under my knees.