I Lost My Metaphors When She Died by Adèle Barclay

Poet name: Adèle Barclay Poem Name: I Lost My Metaphors When She Died Poem: I lost my metaphors when she died and had to replace them with analogies for how I couldn’t breathe while breathing  *  the virus could be an allegory but it begets its own grief and trains the body to attack its lungs  *  either way coral reef mangroves have felt this betrayal before  *  an organism is and isn’t an ecosystem depending on how you want to visualize high-school biology I remember trying to overlay each unit of life unfurling across the scale: DNA, nucleus, cell, organ, systems, organism, species, ecosystem, biosphere— a congruent structure in theory  *  at the environmental museum we used a giant Jenga block tower to communicate the concept of biodiversity slowly pulling away blocks representing various species until the tower tumbled and smashed to the floor  *  trauma is relational and therefore, must be healed in relation but the trauma makes being relational unbearable  *  which conditions are lying under which conditions  *  which conditions are tidal  *  the TED Talk speaker on YouTube calls child abuse a pandemic we’re all too implicated in to openly acknowledge  *  I didn’t know she’d die by suicide but I knew the conditions in which we developed were impossible  *  that feeling of helplessness is anger  *  when my body turns to face her and she is no longer there  End of Poem.  Credits: Copyright © Adèle Barclay Previously published in NUVO Magazine (Fall 2020). Adèle Barclay’s essays and poems have appeared in many North American journals and anthologies, including Vallum, The Heavy Feather Review, Cosmonauts Avenue, The Walrus, glitterMOB, The Pinch, PRISM, and elsewhere. She is the recipient of the 2016 Lit POP Award for Poetry and The Walrus’ 2016 Readers’ Choice Award for Poetry and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Her debut poetry collection, If I Were in a Cage I’d Reach Out for You, (Nightwood, 2016) won the 2017 Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize. Her second collection of poetry, Renaissance Normcore (Nightwood, 2019) was nominated for the 2020 Pat Lowther Award for Poetry and placed 3rd for the Fred Cogswell Award. She was Arc Magazine’s 2018-19 Poet in Residence, Canadian Women in Literary Arts 2016 Critic in Residence, and the University of the Fraser Valley’s 2020 Writer in Residence. She is an editor at Rahila’s Ghost Press and teaches literature and writing at Capilano University.