i am walking the edge of the winter forest. you, behind, preoccupied. i am gathering thin dry branches. bark weather stripped. sun bleached. will they snap dry. i am getting to the heart wood with this knife.
I began “she testifies” after Tina Fontaine’s body was pulled from the Red River in 2014. In the poem, water itself speaks back on behalf of womxn/girls about the multiple violences done to them, and on behalf of Emmett Till, whose black body was at the centre of a 1955 racially-motivated murder in Mississippi. Water refuses to collude with these killers or to participate in their heinous settler-colonial/patriarchal attempts at silencing: “like glass, I drove her fragments to shore.”
Inhale. I take a deep breath in through my nostrils. The air travels through the cartilaginous rings of my trachea, divides at the bifurcation of the bronchi, rushes down smaller and smaller pathways. It expands my lungs, widening my ribcage, stretching my diaphragm, raising my collarbones. Seconds pass before I release the breath, letting it stream out slowly, whispering away to nothing. Exhale.
The street sparkled with ice and the remnants of midnight. Angela loved walking at night, especially in winter. The air so cold it singed the hair in her nostrils, the tree branches a broken calligraphy against the sky, the moon whitely grinning or opening its mouth wide to aaahhh, to sing. The silence of the empty empty streets.
It’s too late to rename NASA’s lunar program but never too late to wonder why it was called Apollo and not Diana It’s too late to be the kind of boy who grows up to be an astronaut It’s too late to be any kind of boy (girls can be anything but first they should be quiet)