Brockton Writers Series 13.07.22: Joelle Barron

Joelle Barron is a poet who lives on the Traditional Territory of the Anishinaabeg of Treaty 3 and the Métis people (Fort Frances, ON). Their first poetry collection, Ritual Lights, was nominated for the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award. In 2019, Barron was a finalist for the Dayne Ogilvie Prize for Emerging LGBTQ Writers. 

I’ve written a lot of poetry about tragedy, grief, and injustice, and the ability to write about those things has kept me alive. At this point in my life, I’m interested in learning what it means to write about joy, love, and pleasure. I’ve been working on a book of poems about queer love and how it was often purposely hidden away throughout history. I’ve also been writing poems about love as it manifests in my own life, as someone who is queer and autistic, and just generally has a lot of feelings. This is one such poem.  

CHANGELINGS 

Fixed Hierophant, you don’t have to ask; obedience 

is already leaving my body, entering yours  

/

like smoke. You point to the mountain, its peak  

shedding trapped cloud like shards of cotton, mutable  

/

godstuff. I see clearly your ability to become. Pull me 

to you, untangle slick frogs from my hair who made  

/

a home there when I stood with one foot in the next  

world. I know you because you are coated with that same  

/

dust, and when I mirror you, I am still myself,  

this particular kind of human. Your knife makes  

/

its subtle rip through delicate strings of life and the meat  

that bears them; you know how it really is to be the body 

/

and the blood. Fatal misunderstandings of our childhood 

religion have led us here, made us holy in ways 

/

undreamed of. Like how you are both the river  

and the low branch bisecting it, so I can wade into you.  

/

I can hold on.  

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