“half-blood” by Justene Dion-Glowa

Poetry Pause is the League of Canadian Poets’ daily poetry dispatch. This June, Poetry Pause celebrates Indigenous and LGBTQI2S+ poets for Indigenous History Month and Pride Month! Read “half-blood” by Justene Dion-Glowa. Due to its formatting, this poem is only available as an image.


By Justene Dion-Glowa

If my ancestors could see me
                                             plump and soft
cupboards full of food I can buy
through nothing but my own 

They would see the strength of our people 

                                               and Creator
                                                                                reflecting in my eye shine

There are times 
when I see my 
                                           rounded supple tummy
and long for something
                  something conventionally attractive
                                           a slender frame:
                                                                              not made for a life of hardship

As my moccasins tap a little tune
shaking the tops of my
                              girthy thighs
spoons taping along to the rhythm
I consider 
                                           how lucky I am

To have a weight I must carry physically 
rather than 
                  some other way:
                                                              painful and embarrassing
                                                                                           hurting for generations 

If my ancestors could see me
they would see the stories of our people:

                                                            of turtles and oceans
                                                            of bison and bear

Of how they all felt so sorry for us two-leggeds
                                                                              starving – 
And sacrificed themselves in whole
to care for us

                  I starve no longer.
                                                                              meager not in my blood.

Copyright © Justene Dion-Glowa

Justene Dion-Glowa is a queer Métis person originally from Winnipeg and currently living in Secwepemcúl’ecw. They work in the non-profit sector. They are an alum of Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. Their first full length colection of poetry, Trailer Park Shakes, is available from Brick Books.

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