Jedediah Matthews

September 14, 2022


If we are to be an accumulation of responses, however dysfunctional,
To complex problems,
I can now see why survival historically favoured the givers.

The mind of an adolescent is a brilliant contortionist —
Blending in could very well save you.
It’s what you knew best.
I don’t grieve it anymore.
It is as it is.

How did you hold those worlds?
Different selves for every person
Stuffed in an off-brand backpack:
Only the finest working class garb.
Oh, you were a brave child.

There did come a point in my journey, though,
Where the question
The former implicates blame, and I can’t hold you accountable.

Healing is to look upon past selves without shame.
You hurt no one, but perhaps yourself.
I thought it a necessary price.

So I carry your scar tissue,
Cradled through time like a loved one.
It’s the least I can do.
You kept yourself alive
So that I could live.

Jedediah Matthews is an emerging queer poet who resides in the unceded Treaty Six Territory, the home of many Indigenous Peoples, including Cree, Saulteaux, Niitsitapi (Blackfoot), Métis, and Nakota Sioux Peoples. Relatively new to published pieces, they write to reflect on the experiences of growing up closeted and struggling with adolescent mental health concerns, acceptance, and life as it keeps marching on.