2007: Metaphor

it’s 2007 and our city

has fielded a committee

which has won a competition

we will have our year as

canada’s cultural capital

with all the project money this entails.


since, she said, the committee

couldn’t find any indigenous artists

they went ahead and decided

what to write, since they all agreed

your community had to be included.


i read what they wrote, it’s open

enough that i can feel genuine

thanking her and the committee

despite my dismay that

a committee of colleagues

couldn’t find me, marilyn, tanya

darlene, trevor, christine, ryan, daniel

sheldon, joanne, the rest of us…



she then takes the committee’s vague

and spins it to mean ‘youth’

and this, i must rise to – isn’t it time

to stop discovering our youth?

encounter, instead, peers.


of course, she then offers me

the project, since i bother

to bother her so. i decline.


counter-propose to assemble a team

marilyn, tanya and i spend months

collaborating with community artists

building shawls, poems, a whole tent city

installed in city hall. we shake and stretch

that little fund until she

offers us more, for devising

theatre, song, dance, art

craft and installation

these honour songs, still too slight for

all those indigenous women

founding mothers of our city

and all we have done since then.


she and i have our accolades

but still, the work of women lives

often unmarked, not inconsiderable

gardens, wild and household both

with their yield of bloom and fruit

still unfurling toward


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