“Hold Me In The Palm Of Your Mind” by Kyla Jamieson, from Arc’s 2020 Shortlist

Hold Me In The Palm Of Your Mind

The lunar eclipse begins
while you are driving.

I am always in the passenger
seat & do not mind it as a fact

though it concerns me
as a metaphor. How to be

sick & ambitious is a question
I can ask but not yet answer.

The people I hope will heal me
make my diagnosis feel

like a sign that spells
C-A-S-H G-R-A-B in neon

letters. They are as licensed
as the ones whose help is tender

& necessary as light
but harder to find than blue sky

in a west coast winter. The doctor
says it’s not my memory

that keeps me from getting
everything I need at the store.

Rather, that I am inattentive.
As though I should hold all

things in my consciousness.
Avocados always in the palm

of my mind. Distraction
a luxury of the able. The end

of May & already forest fire
haze drops like a veil

over the mountains white
settlers re-named after birds

& trees & men. My own
ability to forget what I am

capable of astonishes me.
I remind myself I can survive

the bike ride one neighbourhood
east & back home. What does this

verb mean, to survive?
A question I keep asking

with my life.

Emily Stewart on “Hold Me In The Palm Of Your Mind”

“Hold Me In The Palm Of Your Mind” is at once conversational and deeply introspective. It captures attention immediately by sharing reactions to fact and to metaphor, then holds it with clever enjambment and the use of everyday tasks and observations to question mental health, disability, and survival.

Kyla Jamieson is a disabled writer who lives and relies on the unceded traditional territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations. Body Count, her début collection of poems, is from Nightwood Editions. Find Kyla on instagram as @airymeantime, or at www.kylajamieson.com.

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