If Our Bodies Could Rust, We Would Be Falling Apart

the law mandates that a hate crime only be classified as such if there

is ample evidence to show that one’s actions were motivated by

prejudice toward an individual’s nationality, ethnicity, sexuality,

gender, etc.


oh, i got one!


some more than others know that all objects can be put to violent

use. if our bodies could rust, we would be falling apart.


oh, i got one!


barbara kentner, 34, was hit in the stomach by a trailer hitch thrown

at her from a moving car. after throwing the hitch, a blonde eighteen-

year-old man yelled oh, i got one. her sister saw and heard everything.

no one should have to watch a world explode like that. no one should

have to watch someone become unbodied like that. the cbc reported

that the police did not investigate the assault as a hate crime because

there “were no comments which made any reference to race or



oh, i got one!


it is basic syntax. one is the object and she is at the mercy of the i. this

is a semiotics of indigeneity that routes us into death worlds. in the

mouths of the grim reapers of the world, grammar is excited by



oh, i got one!


what did he see when he made her into a ghost? what is a ghost but

the form we take when we are pulled outside of our bodies?


oh, i got one!


there were memories made and they do not disappear with the

disappeared. kentner was sent home by doctors so that her loved ones

could witness her parting. how can a living room become a church

without grief leaving its indelible mark?


oh, i got one!


how do we live at the edge of the world?

Bibliographical info

Billy-Ray Belcourt, “If Our Bodies Could Rust, We Would Be Falling Apart,” from This Wound is a World: Poems. Copyright © 2017 by Billy-Ray Belcourt. Reprinted by permission of the publisher.

Source: This Wound Is a World: Poems (Frontenac House, 2017)

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