after Phyllis Webb
the first lesson:
know the currents of the river like you know your veins
without entering the river.
you wrestle hydra every night. each head
spits your mother’s scorn. each imprecation cleverer than you.
attention-seeking1 is what the police
call the unnamed woman. behaviour on bridges.
does anyone see your white knuckles grip the railing
on the footbridge behind the bdi?
your imagination freezes, unable to see a step
onto solid ground.
your traumas flow and catch along the banks.
debris for the geese to hide. their eggs.
the second lesson: remember the first.
1 Dean Pritchard. “‘Attention seeking’ woman arrested, mental health advocates outraged.” Winnipeg Free Press. April 14, 2021.
melanie brannagan frederiksen is a writer and a copy editor, who works from Winnipeg, on Treaty One territory. She holds an MA (2005) and a PhD (2013) in English from the University of Manitoba. She is the author of the chapbook poseidon’s cove, athena’s cave from Model Press. Her poems have most recently been published in +doc: a journal of longer poems, The Winnipeg Free Press, and Contemporary Verse 2. Her reviews appear in The Winnipeg Free Press and in Prairie Books NOW.
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