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May we suggest

Features / August 21, 2017

Holy Wild

A poem by Gwen Benaway, a poet of Anishinaabe and Métis descent whose third collection of poetry is forthcoming from BookThug in 2018
Maanii Oakes, <em>Response to ”Holy Wild“</em>, 2017. Maanii Oakes, Response to ”Holy Wild“, 2017.

my gookum said only
the wild ones are holy.

bush in northern Michigan
is the ancestral field of my body,

a girl who tastes of summer ragweed
in the high heat of noon.

my body grows by night in secret,
wet with yearling dew.

breasts and hips spread
like bushfires in a dry season,

skin pale as moonlight at dawn,
soft as a muskrat’s pelt skinned in March.

my mouth is a damselfly’s wings,
iridescent breath on your sex.

my hips hold a cock the colour
of crushed blueberries, bittersweet purple.

my breasts dart from your hands
like minnows, chase deeper water.

my gookum said a woman moves
like the sway of cattails in a June wind.

I lean to you like an otter dives, slick
and glistening against your chest.

underneath the cedar of my thighs,
past the birch tree of my spine

is an opening, a rattlesnake den,
when you press your body in me,

the sound I make is a blackbird’s cry.
here is the wild heart of me,

rush of heat on your fullness,
this is the holy wild she made me.

a woman’s sex is as sacred as her land,
my ancestors learned from creation,

a woman is as holy wild as
her body’s made to be.

This poem was published in the Summer 2017 issue of Canadian Art. To get every issue of our magazine delivered to you before it hits newsstands, visit