The Knowing

by Connie Fife

the re-invention of oneself
through the tongues of whispering mountains
the re-arrangement of the universe
because a spider wrapped her legs around a star
the knowing
the remembering of stone’s story
while walking down a dried riverbed
being serenaded by crickets singing the blues
because everyone except them has forgotten
the knowing
which trail to follow through clear-cut forests
which scent will lead you home
because a thousand-year-old bear still lives
amongst the dead bodies feeding off their memory
the knowing
the recollection of the loudness in silence
the clarity of unspoken words while sound crashes earthbound
because it is in what is not said that the truth sits
the knowing
the peeling back of ones own skin
to discover that the lizard sleeping against your spine
was born the same moment as you
because she knew that one day you
would need her sharp tongue to survive
the knowing
the rediscovery of crow perched on your shoulder
her claws leaving scratch marks against your heart
because you need to be reminded that you are alive
on days when you are numbed into speechlessness
the knowing
the glimpse of your reflection in the eyes of a stranger
who is leaning against the chest of a cedar tree
while cars spit at her then mock her existence
because she refuses to roll over on the sidewalk
and you need to be reminded of why you were born
the knowing
the recreating of ceremony at the hands of change
while wandering through unknown places
because history has turned us into our own lodges
when it tried to bound our mouths and tie our words
the knowing
the acknowledgment of ones ancestors
must become an ordinary event taking place with each breath
keeping them alive so their voices touch our skin
with urgency and desire in our ribcages
because it is their shadows that protect us
the knowing
the importance of embracing our places or remembering
because inside their bodies live our beloved
through their existence we are fed love on a plate of resistance
while we swallow stars dropped down our throats by spider

An Anthology of Canadian Native Literature in English

Last updated December 19, 2022