Still No Word

Still No Word
by Shannon Webb-Campbell
$16.96, paperback, 96 pp.
Breakwater Books, March 2015

Still No Word Shannon Webb-Campbell Breakwater Books

Harvest Your Heart

When you arrive at this loneliness write a letter to each lover and examine what was taken. Remind them with memories and pinpoint subtle ways they touched you. Recall the way they buttered your toast and spread your thighs.

Bring them to your tower, where you’ve been hiding since you left them, learning and unlearning, doing and undoing, covering and recovering. Cup your hands over their eyes and linger until anxiety turns to ease, familiarity.

You know the years have worn on them; they’ve worn on you, too.

Give them a moment to adjust, to take in the view. Ask them to bear witness to your shame, a transformation of pain, reclaimed.

Tell them of the centuries you’ve spent grieving. Give them, and yourself, mercy. Apologize before a harvest moon. Set right what can be set right and finally drop what you couldn’t let go of. Hold your own hand, and kiss your palms goodnight.

Love again, this stranger in you. Set a table for two and forget to blow out the candles before bed. Burn down the house and build anew.

 

Other Waves of Thought

these spirits of place
are ancient

you remember landscapes
landscapes
remember you

every view holds memory
all horizons meet the horizon within

quiet mind
quiet body
there is nothing more to this

from this shore to that
avoid rocks, bottom,
high winds and water
it calls lightning to its breast

these rituals
meditations of undoing
all of us breath

 

Tell Me Medicine Woman, Who do I Belong to?

once I was a fatherless daughter
now I come from a landless band
from west coast newfound land
where earth meets coast

I am an Irish-named river
born close to a mountain
married to the ocean
uncertain of my sense of place
now father’s last name echoes
on the wind

I am Qalipu Mi’kmaq
product of the Indian Act
he’s a man of few words
has never built a teepee
shingles suburban houses
only ladder touches ground

I try to sing to you
in Gaelic, English,
French and Mi’kmaw
but don’t know your languages

you were hunter, trapper
healer, and bootlegger
a midwife to seven hundred babies
around Bay of St. Georges

you travelled by dog team
horse, sled, and snowshoes
to expectant mothers
father says you were small,
only four feet tall

you bring gifts –
eagle feathers, rock, tree bark ‒
to remind me of a place
in the possibilities,
woman, you are mighty

Still No Word
by Shannon Webb-Campbell
$16.96, paperback, 96 pp.
Breakwater Books, March 2015

Written By

Shannon Webb-Campbell is the inaugural winner of Egale Canada’s Out in Print Award and was Canadian Women in Literary Arts 2014 critic-in-residence. Still No Word (Breakwater Books, 2015) is her first collection of poems.

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