Jennie Chantal Duguay | EXCULPATION


“When sin has been eaten, what is left?”
– Kathleen McKeever


Let go, said every full moon you woke
under. All your tarot cards, recurring

dreams of losing teeth and control
of vehicles. Omens—the slow death

of all your succulents, threats of flooding,
friendships lost to things you still don’t

understand. Who taught you
to find meaning in suffering

instead of survival. Did god
promise if you prayed

away the sick and the gay
you would love yourself without

question. When sin has been eaten, what is
left of shame but memory. Your body’s

shy movements—acts of desperate
love in the throes of an amazing grace.

Author’s Bio

Jennie Chantal Duguay is of French and Irish ancestry and grew up on Algonquin Anishinaabe territory in Ottawa. They have been living in Vancouver on unceded Tsleil-Waututh, Skxwú7mesh, and Musqueam land for the last 20 years. Jennie writes to past and future selves to clarify, uncover, confront, apologize, and find reassurance that it is possible to “recover” or “get better” in a world that insists on ableist interpretations of what it means to be “well.” Jennie’s writing has appeared in PRISM, GUTS, Hematopoiesis, Plenitude, The Capilano Review, the anthology Against Death, and more.