Own My Own / That Word

Own My Own

For Lucy, mother of us all

Dinknesh: the wonderful, the fabulous, the precious. That’s you.
They named you Lucy after the Beatles’ song playing
on the cassette as they celebrated finding you.

Small, 3 & ½ feet, maybe, 60 pounds.
You walked tall, 3.2 million years ago, in Afar, Ethiopia.
What happened when you walked by that riverbank where they found you?

You, the most complete, 40% of your bones intact. You surely surprised them.
You walked upright and made them give you a new title of your own:
Australopithecus afarensis. How could you know I would be thinking about you?


That Word

A boat named No Justice floats in the bay.
Gleams of gentle light peek at the horizon.
I hear the incessant juddering of the grass cutter.
The dull hum, an unruly crowd–a thousand terns
descending. Their outcry fades, that word rises.

Spewed by the Amherst councilman.
Tattooed where the children watch–
at the base of Glace Bay’s skateboard park.
Overheard at the Toronto York School Board.

Like a knife scraped over my old wound
still tender to the touch.

About Sylvia D. Hamilton

Sylvia D. Hamilton is an award-winning Nova Scotian filmmaker, writer, artist and educator. Her films have been broadcast in Canada and screened at festivals at home and abroad. Her writing has appeared in a variety of Canadian journals and anthologies. Her poetry collection And I Alone Escaped to Tell You was short-listed for a 2015 League of Canadian Poets Award and the 2015 East Coast Literary Poetry Award. Her recognitions include honourary degrees and a Gemini Award. She has taught at Mount Saint Vincent University and Acadia University and has lectured at universities across Canada. She holds the Roger's Chair in Communications at the University of King's College in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

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