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VERONIQUE: There was always a “before” and “after.” Not before and after migration – at least, not exactly. Something else shaped these two worlds that my mother moved between.

I couldn’t follow her – but sometimes, when the door was ajar, I could peer through.

From a young age, I was pulled towards the places where reality shows its cracks, its seams. At every opening, I strained my ears, listening for snatches of the other side. Sometimes, this sense of not fully being “here” was an electric charge, an incantation, a miraculous melting away of selfhood. Sometimes, it was a riptide, which hooked my limbs and sent me spinning into the dark.

I couldn’t follow her, so I went somewhere else. Still, when I lifted the escape hatch, or slipped between the trees, part of me searched for the sweep of her shadow, the flicker of her footfalls, the whisper of her breath.

Created on the occupied and unsurrendered lands of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations.