Sarah de Leeuw



I could confuse you


with a single vertebrate

washed ashore years after

the chum salmon rotted away


with the rain-bleached

knucklebone of a drowned

squirrel rotted to my bottom


with the orb of milky white

guts from a freshwater mollusk

black shell shattered

opened by an eagle’s beak


with arêtes full

of dimpled glaciers

pockmarked melting


with an agate, opaque

a snow flake

a strip of marrow-hued

bear claw, ripped off

during a fight of fur and screams

or the downy belly

of a trumpeter swan

amongst blocks of ice

floating above

when I face the night.







Sarah de Leeuw, a two-time recipient of a CBC Literary Prize in Creative Non-Fiction (2008, 2009), is a writer and human geographer. She grew up in northern British Columbia, mostly within the boundaries of the Skeena River watershed, and is currently an assistant professor in the Northern Medical Program at the University of Northern British Columbia, the Faculty of Medicine at the University of British Columbia. She is the author of two books of essays (Unmarked: Landscapes Along Highway 16, NeWest Press 2004, and Front Lines: Portraits of Caregivers in Northern British Columbia, Creekstone Press 2011) and the book of poetry (also in the long poem tradition) Geographies of a Lover (NeWest 2012). Her creative and academic writings appear in numerous literary and research journals.