A poem by Lydia Kwa, Earle Birney Poetry Prize winner

Accustomed to her presence
however distant or slight

To that voice
warning in tones of fear and recrimination

Held-in tension between power and
rageful victimhood

I think you had skin rashes because you’re lesbian

What do I do now that she’s gone?

As I near my sixtieth birthday
the cells in my body are poised
for an unkempt revolution

No specific plans yet ‘cause
I’m waiting to hear back from my body

Don’t get me wrong
I may be fiery and impassioned
but that’s different than buying into

My mother was the one I was bound to—
the greatest romantic notion in my life until now

No thanks—don’t want anyone to tether me
since I’m neither animal nor child
needing to be held back
in order to be kept safe



Lydia Kwa‘s photography exhibition Tree Shaman opens on October 26 at 7pm at Massy Books, 229 E. Georgia Street, Vancouver, and runs until November 22. She is launching a poetry chapbook, also titled Tree Shaman, with proceeds going to the Pacific Wild Alliance.

Photo by Evelyn from Pexels

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