Love is a Moontime Teaching

love is a moontime teaching

is your kookum’s crooked smile when you pick up the phone

is another word for body

body is another word for campfire smoke

campfire smoke is the smell he leaves behind in your bed sheets

after the breakup

the word for hate sex is forest

forest sometimes means hope or lonely (depends on who you ask)

lonely is a movie called taxi zum klo about white gay men

who risk tiptoeing through desire’s

minefields for ten minutes of something better than living

living is going to bingo to pay the bills after you quit your job

that barely paid the bills

paying the bills is sometimes a metaphor for cancer

cancer is a diagnosis handed down to an 18-year-old girl from the rez

the rez is another word for body

the body is a myth

is the only good news the doctor gives you when your cells run amok

amok is the border that the skin doesn’t remember how to secure


anymore is the feeling you get when a police officer pulls you over

because he thinks you’re driving a stolen vehicle

a stolen vehicle is the nickname you give to love

love is the nickname you give to the hole in the wall from that time

your cousin’s boyfriend punched it

a hole in the wall is what you call the present and the labour it takes

to survive

Bibliographical info

Billy-Ray Belcourt, “Love is a Moontime Teaching,” from This Wound is a World: Poems. Copyright © 2017 by Billy-Ray Belcourt. Reprinted by permission of the publisher.

Source: The Malahat Review (Winter 2016)

Start here: