Sacred Loss

by Michelle Poirier Brown

Michelle Poirier Brown is a Cree Métis poet and performer currently living in Lekwungen territory (Victoria, BC). A longtime feminist activist, Michelle set a precedent for reasonable accommodation in the workplace with her case defending the rights of lactating employees. She is a former Federal treaty negotiator and Indigenous activist, and is published internationally including in PRISM international, Plenitude, and Emrys Journal, as well as several chapbooks and anthologies. Her poem “Wake” won the PRISM international Earle Birney Prize in 2019.


This morning I dreamed
of sacred objects misplaced,
left vulnerable.
Anyone could come along
and pick them up—
even the part of me
that does not pay attention.
Sacredness left out
not to weather
and grow wise
but
to be pushed aside as the table is set for dinner,
to make room—for a week’s worth of news,
dress-up gowns with the hem come loose,
toys that teach colours
and numbers
and the way of shapes.
My heart is stretched out
on the laundry line, the school
wants to meet with me,
my partner hums, while dusting.
I speak in my dream.
They were just rocks
and leather strips for my hair.
I will receive more.
But I do not admit
what is gone
is irretrievable
and leaves a hole that defies mending.
When I wake I realize:

I have been looking for a lover all my life,
but no one will ever caress me
like this loss.


Michelle Poirier Brown is a Cree Métis poet and performer currently living in Lekwungen territory (Victoria, BC). A longtime feminist activist, Michelle set a precedent for reasonable accommodation in the workplace with her case defending the rights of lactating employees. She is a former Federal treaty negotiator and Indigenous activist, and is published internationally including in PRISM international, Plenitude, and Emrys Journal, as well as several chapbooks and anthologies. Her poem “Wake” won the PRISM international Earle Birney Prize in 2019.

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