“That One” by Lorri Neilsen Glenn

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 “That One” by Lorri Neilsen Glenn.

That One

By Lorri Neilsen Glenn

The white-haired one with smooth pale skin

making mudpies in the back alley of a small

Northern Alberta town. The one who watches

everyone and everything, says little. Who starts

school, and always keeps a book nearby.

The one near the back with the others, quiet

ones teachers ignore, who meet after school

by the Cambrian hotel, dark hair teased, sharing

smokes, fingers peeking out from the sleeves

of older guys’ hockey jackets.

Whose aunts finally told her, after all those visits

to her grandmother when nothing was said. Not

about Peguis, the Red, Norway House, the fire

that destroyed a riverboat and her family. Nor

about Budd, Erasmus, Kennedy or Couture,

all kin she will find later, buried in history books

and archives, church records and treaty paylists,

faint cursive paths back to Hudson Bay, to swamp

and grasslands, to boreal forests. Her white hair

whiter, pale skin wrinkled. But foot-sure. Home.

Copyright © Lorri Neilsen Glenn

Lorri Neilsen Glenn’s recent books include The Old Moon in Her Arms: Women I Have Known and Been (Nimbus) and Following the River:Traces of Red River Women (Wolsak and Wynn). Halifax’s first Métis Poet Laureate, she teaches in the University of King’s College MFA Program. Lorri lives and works in Mi’kma’ki.

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