Have I always been in the world? / No, I’ve been autumn in the middle of August.

Poet Billy-Ray Belcourt in front of an orange background

How we exist in the world
depends on how we describe it.
Have I always been in the world?
No, I’ve been autumn in the middle of August.
I’ve been the wind as well as the tamarack tree
seconds after its final needles drop.
Don’t tell anyone, but I’m happiest
when my life feels like autofiction.
In Alberta, the twentieth century never ended.
We are all subjects of the twentieth century,
I say to a man I just met on the internet.
It sounds like a riddle for which the answer is the body.
Every winter, I take pictures of the snow
because the snow reminds me
of my impermanence. Mostly, I want to be undone
without being ruined. An NDN truth?
The present is as beautiful as it is brutal.

Billy-Ray Belcourt
Billy-Ray Belcourt is a poet, author, and scholar from the Driftpile Cree Nation. He won the 2018 Griffin Poetry Prize for his debut collection, This Wound Is a World.

New Year, New Stories

Hello and Happy 2023!
As we start this new year, we need you now more than ever. In these uncertain times, it is crucial that reliable media remains available to everyone. That is why we depend on your support to keep our journalism accessible and independent. From the economy to political polarization, the challenges our society is facing this year are too important for half truths. At The Walrus, the future of journalism is funded by engaged citizens like you. Together, we can preserve the integrity of Canadian media and ensure that our democracy thrives. Will you join us?
With thanks,
Jennifer Hollett
Executive Director