andrea bennett is a nonbinary National Magazine Award–winning writer, editor, and illustrator who lives in Ayjoo mixw (Powell River), BC. Their first book of essays, Like a Boy but Not a Boy: Navigating Life, Mental Health, and Parenthood outside the Gender Binary (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2020), was a CBC Books’ pick for the top Canadian non-fiction of the year. Their first book of poetry, Canoodlers, was published by Nightwood in 2014. andrea’s poetry and non-fiction has been widely published in magazines and newspapers, such as the Walrus, the Atlantic, Hazlitt, Maisonneuve, the Tyee, the Globe and Mail, Reader’s Digest, Vice, Geist, CV2, Grain, the Fiddlehead, the Malahat Review, and Arc. With Kim Fu, they co-host The Rough Puffs, a Great British Bake Off rewatch podcast now entering its third season.
the berry takes the shape of the bloom
By andrea bennett
Published by Talonbooks
the berry takes the shape of the bloom originated as a gesture towards optimism after loss and pain, difficulty and fear. It began as a linear narrative, contented and secure, offering a window into one trans person’s life after they felt contented and secure. But in the end these poems, which capture particular moments in time, may recur in any given present: sometimes what surfaces is anxiety or anger, sometimes love or eagerness. Some poems bear witness; others hold grudges or shake free of them. Together, they entwine around enmeshed experiences of gender, family, trans pregnancy, abuse, fear, and becoming.
Before blueberries grow, they grow a bloom that looks like a proto berry. The berry then takes the shape of the bloom that came before it. The berry displaces the bloom that came before it … My mother bloomed and then I was a wave or a skateboard or a foraging deer. My mother bloomed and I did not displace her in the right way. Did I berry?