104 pages
ISBN 0-7710-1662-X
DDC C811'.54




Lydia Forssander-Song is a sessional instructor in the English
Department at Trinity Western University, Langley, B.C.


In this free verse long poem, the award-winning poet Dionne Brand
chronicles the killings (mostly Iraqi) of this new century.

In Section 2 of the book’s seven sections, Brand condemns “this
timeless march of nails in shoeless feet / what people will take and
give, / the passive lines, the passive guards, / if passivity can be
inchoate self-loathing / all around, and creeping / self-righteous,
let’s say it, fascism, / how else to say, border, / and the militant
consumption of everything.”

The poet holds more than our politics and our culture to account. She
also challenges our treatment of the environment. In Section 3, she
writes, “Let us not invoke the natural world, / it’s ravaged like
any battlefield, like any tourist / island, like any ocean we care to
name, / like oxygen / let’s at least admit we mean each other / harm,
/ we intend to do damage.” Brand paints a dismal picture of a
21st-century society ruined by war, terrorism, and capitalism. She also
laments “immodest health, / six boys, fast food on their breath.”

Brand’s indictment of humanity’s self-destruction is tempered by
her compassion for the victims and her passion for social justice. Near
the end of this hard-hitting poem, she admits, “there are atomic
openings in my chest / to hold the wounded.”


Brand, Dionne., “Inventory,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 24, 2024,