under your always light
by Leanne Betasamosake Simpson
after they stole you & you fought your way out, no one was going to
fuck with you ever again. get your own gun. set your own net. shoot
your own moose. get two husbands & a wife & make them all feel
insane with good love. give birth to a nation in an inglorious way,
crawling through feces & urine & dirt & the bloody underbelly of
“use scar-weapons to hold the land around them”
“infect tiny bodies with the precious things they beat out of you”
“remember: they are everything we could have been”
kwezens falls asleep cradling the body of a duck while he weaves
stories from bobcats & chickens & luck.
maybe-kwezens steady-slices through whitefish, while gwiiwizens
they all aim & fire.
standing up straight against this rock, i catch your fugitive eyes.
before i turn & lay my head down, i’m thinking of Her escaping
through these spruce, walking across these rocks, walking over this
moss. i’m thinking of Her escaping past stolen, walking across lost,
walking over shame, holding fire in Her heart, like all her descend-
ants so effortlessly do, under your always light.
This Accident of Being Lost is the knife-sharp new collection of stories and songs from award-winning Nishnaabeg storyteller and writer Leanne Betasamosake Simpson. These visionary pieces build upon Simpson’s powerful use of the fragment as a tool for intervention in her critically acclaimed collection Islands of Decolonial Love. Provocateur and poet, she continually rebirths a decolonized reality, one that circles in and out of time and resists dominant narratives or comfortable categorization. A crow watches over a deer addicted to road salt; Lake Ontario floods Toronto to remake the world while texting “ARE THEY GETTING IT?”; lovers visit the last remaining corner of the boreal forest; three comrades guerrilla-tap maples in an upper middle-class neighbourhood; and Kwe gets her firearms license in rural Ontario. Blending elements of Nishnaabeg storytelling, science fiction, contemporary realism, and the lyric voice, This Accident of Being Lost burns with a quiet intensity, like a campfire in your backyard, challenging you to reconsider the world you thought you knew.