“Transformer Stone”* by Jessica Lee McMillan

Poetry Pause is the League of Canadian Poets’ daily poetry dispatch. Read “Transformer Stone” by Jessica Lee McMillan, winner of the 2024 National Broadsheet Contest!

Transformer Stone*

by Jessica Lee McMillan

to the peninsula,

in a pinksweatshirt and

faded jeans. infused my

body in sea mist. bus ticket

from stolen change, now pulp

sediment in pocket. on the inlet

side of Stanley Park the man who

cornered me—probably named Rick,

from Langley—asked why I was out

so far alone at 15. old enough to shake

him off along the seawall. I losthim

around Prospect Point, among ancient

cliffs of stratified rock. I rewrote the

shame of not pleasinga predator with

each step, washing my feet through deep

time. of the valley, I was always rubbled.

it felt like rescue when I saw the monolith

round the bend. it emerged as a sign-post of

survival. exceeding its host cliff, risen from lava,

bathing in the openof the great clean. the standing

stone, my monolith protected. upright and defiant,

with head of transienttrees, circling birds. stacked

from the sea, I became unshakable. loyal as a cliff to

the sky. I became the basaltic climb unpacking gravity to ossify

my shape against the waves of lesser things. I welcomed the whole ocean.

*After Skalsh Rock/Slhx̱í7lsh for “Standing Man” denoting the sea stack/monolith. The monolith is located along the Stanley Park seawall in Vancouver.

Jessica Lee McMillan (she/her) is a poet with an English MA and Creative Writing certificate from SFU’s The Writer’s Studio. Her work has appeared in over 30 publications across Turtle Island including Crab Creek Review, The Humber Literary Review, Funicular, Pinhole Poetry, and Rose Garden Press. Jessica was a finalist for The Fiddlehead’s 2023 Ralph Gustafson Poetry Contest, won the 2022 Royal City Literary Arts Society Write On! Contest for Poetry and has received Pushcart and Best of the Net nominations. She lives on the land of the Halkomelem-speaking Peoples (New Westminster, BC) with her little family and large dog. jessicaleemcmillan.com

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