Poems by Tyler Pennock

bones are the hardest part of us
but have you ever scratched one?

when the skin of a bone fails
          marrow comes forward to knit
          reclaiming what the bone struggled to hold

                     blood’s purpose –
                     each starting place a wound
                     each ending a geography re-made

I guess spring comes for all of us
there’s no judgement in the thaw

revealing things
long buried in the cold
and lack of movement

                    like a child frozen
                    by the sound of their foster parents stirring

                    as though the air was made of broken glass
                    waiting for the smallest twitch

but we aren’t made for stillness
and the blood must do its work

it’s in the blood we feel most unsure
because it runs wildly outward

like birds fleeing a forest fire

we can’t control how much will be lost to us
         don’t know what parts will dry
         which ones will stay to form flesh

and I feel like a fool
who can’t look at their lover’s injury
                  turned away
                  denying the cut
                  screaming at imagined things

I wrote once that you felt like a scratch
          the newest part of me
          that I’m still afraid to look at

I don’t know why –

                     all injuries feel the same to me now

no difference between
a room full of knives

and a tear in my skin
from which something might grow

burgundy
is my favourite colour

the mix of blood and earth

tells of time
                    and age

a bond as unbreakable
           as self
                    and home

reminds me of
blood flooding into the syringe

richer than darkness
telling of the day’s work

the constant burden
of carrying toxic things

introduced —
             but still needed
             in its time

there’s a richness
others can’t accept

with all the things inside you

that you’d still flow
thick with debris
             a host for things
             society shouldn’t want

stronger for the effort
it takes to remain wild
and beautiful

in the face of interactions that reduce you to ash –
                             the faded product of a spent force

but I like that
being the dust of long-dead embers
so small that we’re barely seen

though our existence
fuels the growth of all things

when lava escapes
you can hear the earth sigh

watch a cloud of fury long in the making
paint the sky

don’t be fooled
it’s not the explosions you should fear

be careful not to miss
the slow and certain crawl that follows –

             when the earth moves like blood
             fighting the air
             breaking the walls of its last push
             railing against its former self

this fury is a long dance
it’s the vibration of many old bones
the excited cheer of millions

before the earth rises to swallow
its destroyer

Tyler Pennock @onanankkwaap is a two-spirit adoptee from a Cree and Métis family around the Lesser Slave Lake area of Alberta. They are a graduate of Guelph University’s Creative Writing MFA program. They currently live in Toronto, where they have worked as an educator and community worker for over ten years.

Banner, Images & Page Design: Robert Frede Kenter @frede_kenter

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