Annick MacAskill: Woman as Riot


“Then come curtain-lectures in the live-long night.” –St Jerome

Our best shot was to ignore it—like a group
of dignified mute let gravity herd our cries,

take them into the earth. We could have stayed
silent: a supple garrulous throat you like

to jam things into; the pretty fatras for your
soirées. Instead we clucked our way into your

headlines, and now you’re worried and you’re
fired and you’re stripped and you’re fired. In shock,

we defame but we do not lie; categorically scandal,
we make you sick, we pile on smear; and truly,

your private life is no human right. Now you’re reeling
and you’re fired and you’re worried and you’re

fired. You purveyed more than the adventurous:
you cultured fear, threw the bodies in our rivers

and now they’re bobbing to the surface in the way
the Ancients said justice would always come

to light. Colluding salacious damage, they’re
rifled, taken. Now you’re victim and you’re

fired and you’re done and you’re fired because
one of us opened her throat, and we shouted.


Annick MacAskill lives and writes in Toronto and London, Ontario. Her poetry has been published or is forthcoming in The Steel Chisel, CV2, and Arc. In 2014, she was longlisted for the CBC’s Canada Writes Poetry Prize and shortlisted for The Malahat Review’s Far Horizons Poetry Award. She is finishing her PhD at the University of Western Ontario in sixteenth-century French poetics.