L-Berta Rainbow

A Poem Celebrating Bill C-38, the Alberta Centennial and the Floods of June 2005

     the Bow bursts its banks
every century or so – sirens herald rebellion
river debris flows faster than fire trucks One in two marriages ends in divorce
and... if you’re a lesbian
living in Ralph Klein’s Alberta
it don’t matter
you’re just damned to hell. water weary dog surrounded by toxic river,
whirlpools of imprisoned wooden corpses
ambulances – surge through chaos L-Berta named for a strong-willed woman
birthed feminists ahead of their century
Emily, Henrietta, Louise, Irene, and Nellie
won the vote for women
who could not all love freely then. at Edmonton Trail a street church baptizes
new believers into waters murky with silt, hymns
stonewall the zealot, while cracked lions crumble Don’t think the Chinook winds
are just blowing hot air
there’s change in them thar hills
I see it coming
clear as a rainbow after this storm. Sien Lok sculptures
witness destruction ... discrimination,
rescue boats swim upstream like spawning salmon It’s too late!
I already live down the street
borrow a cup of sugar
call out your name
talk about the latest hockey game
and exchange recipes. raging torrents make their mark
Prince’s Island causeway washes away, fount
of insurrection gushes forth and breaks all barriers L-BERTA
Rain notwithstanding
ralph notwithstanding
tides of change crosscurrent,
come hell and high water
above the prairie river
rainbow rises.

~ Dale Lee Kwong

Dale Lee Kwong has been an ENG News Editor at Global Television for 26 years. She is also an award-winning playwright, published poet and essayist with work in Somebody’s Child: Stories about Adoption, Modern Morsels, Canadian Literature and splinterswerve. Kwong is a proud native Calgarian who is inspired by Sien Lok Park. In 2014 her work will be included in A Family By Any Other Name: Exploring Queer Relationships.

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