Poetry

transatlantic | zombie | passages

JUNIE DÉSIL

From eat salt | gaze at the ocean by Junie Désil. Published by Talonbooks in 2020. 

my childhood bombarded with black-and-white images of “the poorest

nation in the western hemisphere” i learn this bit of history from my

parents long after they tell me to lie about where we are from or bend the

truth a little say we’re from France—remind them that you were born in 

Montréal long before i came to know it as the place broken in two Tiohtià:ke

long before i learn that the “pearl of the Antilles” the mountainous island

we’re from is Ayiti-Kiskeya-Bohio.

this is what i learn—that on the eve of the new year, dissatisfied with

his secretary’s initial draft of the Haitian Declaration of Independence,

Boisrond-Tonnerre says, nah, the statement does not capture what we 

revolutionaries have been through; it does not get to the heart of La liberté

ou la mort!—Live Free or Die.

We require in fact for our declaration of independence:

the skin of a white man for parchment

his skull for an inkwell

his blood for ink

and a bayonet for a pen

General Dessalines: *chef’s kiss* i entrust you to convey my sentiments 

regarding the above

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JUNIE DÉSIL

Junie Désil is of Haitian ancestry, born of immigrant parents on the traditional territories of the Kanien’kehá:ka on the island known as Tiohtià:ke (Montréal) and raised in Treaty 1 Territory (Winnipeg). Her work has appeared in Room Magazine, PRISM International, the Capilano Review and CV2. She lives on qiqéyt (Qayqayt) Territory (New Westminster, BC).


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