The Stars Touch Midnight
and a daughter shudders every self into wolf. There is always a ritual to these tales. First, a rupture. The ribcage from the soul. Life reconstructs like you have never known. Comfort in that there is always a ritual to these tales. First you will have to believe in predators like you have never known comfort. In that hollow between girl and forest and safety, you will have to believe: in predators, hunters, that which wants her will leave her hollow. Between girl and forest and safety, a woodsman and his axe are inseparable hunters. That which wants her will leave her little, red in the snow, where bootprints of a woodsman and his axe are inseparable from her scars. A name recited again and again: Little Red in the snow, where bootprints of what we were taught to pray for look identical to her scars, a name recited again and again to the howls of the still-living forest reaches for the nascent moon —So exhale. Don’t look so afraid. Wasn’t it always a rupture? The rib cage. From the soul, life reconstructs to the howls of the still-living. Forest reaches for the nascent moon and a daughter shudders, every self unbreaking into wolf. — NOTE: Title from Clemence Housman’s The Were-Wolf (1896).
Lise Rochefort on “The Stars Touch Midnight” by Jade Y. Liu
This poem’s skeletal Pantoum form glows in the muscular shadow of the classic, albeit slant, fairy tale of Red Riding Hood and the Werewolf legend. Refreshing and well-executed images splashed with strong colours carry the action. Great word play tempers the violence with effective and subtle insights tinged with a feminist perspective.
Jade Y. Liu
(provided for the poem “The Stars Touch Midnight”) Jade Y. Liu is a Chinese-Canadian poet living on the unceded lands of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations (Vancouver, BC). A recipient of the 2020 George McWhirter Prize in Poetry, her words are fascinated by desire, loss, the body, and cognitive metaphor.