The sky was never my court date.If I died once. If I left the body.Habeas corpus.This is not my grave.The value in a dead womanis that she cannot be killedagain or cross-examined.The value in being the deadwoman at trial is the Crowndoesn't represent youregardless.The value in beingdead is that it's impoliteto speak illof you.What is calledwellness,victim-witness?A swab takenof every orifice.Were there anyidentifying marks?Were you in facton the moonthat night,Miss Howard?Did you make a choice?I made a cut—it released something.I broke the line.
Excerpted from Letters in a Bruised Cosmos by Liz Howard.
Copyright © 2021 Liz Howard.
Published by McClelland & Stewart, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited.
Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher.
All rights reserved.
Liz Howard’s debut collection Infinite Citizen of the Shaking Tent won the 2016 Griffin Poetry Prize, was shortlisted for the 2015 Governor General’s Award for poetry, and was named a Globe and Mail top 100 book. Her poetry has appeared in Canadian Art, The Fiddlehead, Poetry Magazine, and Best Canadian Poetry 2018. Howard received an Honours Bachelor of Science with High Distinction from the University of Toronto, and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Guelph. She is of mixed settler and Anishinaabe heritage. Born and raised on Treaty 9 territory in northern Ontario, she currently lives in Toronto.
"Liz Howard’s Letters in a Bruised Cosmos stands as yet another masterpiece of orality and temporality in the blossoming oeuvre that is her poetic arena. We traverse through webbed histories, a multiplicity of singing bodies: human, non-human, father, lover, lake, land, galactic. Howard’s ability to unearth creation and trickster from beneath the rubble of canonic and catatonic poetics is a miracle in the making. It is no surprise to be met with yet again grace and fury in Letters in a Bruised Cosmos—as Howard has demonstrated time and time again, she is a divining starwalker of a poet."
—Joshua Whitehead, author of Jonny Appleseed