“Butterfly Effect” by Grace Lau1 min read

4 September, 2017 1 comment

Illustration by Pearl Low

every time a study announces
Canada is Ranked Number One
for Quality of Life
the tiny house movement expands
our homes narrow
we get closer
life costs
more

every time you sing
O Canada
a poppy blooms in your heart
blood will have blood
did you know
I now carry a garden of scarlet
everywhere with me
a sedative for history

every time the oceans and lakes
are declared priceless
natural resources in crisis
a pipeline is born
a barrel of liquid gold
for your clean water

when you are told
repeatedly
how lucky you are
to live in one of the
best countries in the world
you actually start to believe it


Grace Lau is a Chinese-Canadian writer living on unceded Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations territory in Vancouver, BC. She enjoys itinerary-less travel, live music, and loud socks.

Illustration by Pearl Low

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1 comment

Eric Zhang 29 November, 2017 - 4:22 pm

Despite its short length, I find that this poem holds a strong creative critique of what it means to be a citizen of Canada. It is conveyed by the writer that Canada’s stereotypical pleasant image overshadows the ills which plague the country. From the effects of the housing crisis to issues of oil pipelines, the title “Butterfly Effect” is rather fitting as it describes how small actions can bring about major impact. The author of this piece, Grace Lau is described as a Chinese-Canadian living in an unceded Native territory. I believe this points to the fact we are all immigrants of this nation and claiming the title of “Canadian” in modern times is more or less socially constructed. If I am not mistaken, it can be understood that Lau’s position as an Asian-Canadian ultimately allowed her to perceive Canada outside of the dominant European-Canadian perspective.

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