Sunday, January 24, 2016


Resting on the words of another
Toronto, 1983
Photographer, Bev Gallant

I stopped hitting myself
when they did
when it no longer felt
like topping
on a beating
reminding me
I could take this 
and so much more
The day my face 
was placed 
between the bars
on Yonge St
in 1983
Damien ran
for help
No officer came
as Pam
like a Popeye punching bag 
bounced back up
after each fist hit
and I
hopeful believer
thinking they would stop
I could 
reason with them
as a hundred passed 
the scene
of the crime.
No reason given
and no reason had
as Pam was ground down
her face already purple and pulpy
and I, with the cold steel bars
cold lines down my face
where one shoved me
through the window grate
relieved my nose survived 
between the lines
I walked Pam home
swelling like a baking cake 
extracted her Murphy bed
having searched the wall
for its sweet release
to lay her down
a modern day Houdini
I made her nest appear
I bathed her face 
and held her in my arms 
before I disappeared
silently questioning 
my life
my love
my lie
and the things I need do
in order to survive.

-Gillian Cornwall, c. December 20, 2015

In fields and burial grounds
Photo by Alberta Nye c. 1985


Vanessa Peterson said...

My eyes glued to the screen, my heart in my throat,a beautiful write of how cold and cruel life can be. Thank you Gillian for sharing this.

Gillian said...

Thank you very much for this, Vanessa. It is empowering to write the words with distance and healing. The scars remain as a reminder of the fires from which I have arisen.

Meesh said...


Boo xoxo said...

We never know what others have been through. I found it hard to read knowing that you had to experience that and more. Thank God you are strong and have come through it to create the beautiful person you are today. I remember that picture as if it were just last week. Sending love always.