Moira Villiard - 'Before Endings and Beginnings'

Oh–Terrible Movie!

Word Count: 1,473 |
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by Heid E. Erdrich

Slogging on snowshoes 40 urban miles

Ice crevasse replaced by glass roof of a mall

                                    Manhattan’s the destination              of course

terrible movies require a ruined NYC circa 2007

                                                            a climate collapse at least telegraphed

art direction’s not bad

Lady Liberty iced over                        hair blown into icicles a hundred feet long

Simpatico audience    in this Polar Vortex      2019

we huddle in a house blazed to 60F  not bad                      but drafts dance cobwebs

                                                frosted windows ping                         the whole house groans

we groan too              Oh—Terrible Movie!

                                                                                    How we love thee

disaster flicks              train our kids               to win the apocalypse

so proud when the kid knows the heroes got it wrong

He doesn’t even have on gloves!       Use food to distract the wolves!

odd intimacy when we holler OH NO

                                    because the refuge turns out to be    THE LIBRARY

                                    librarians portrayed as passive and nerdy     Who are they?

                                    librarians we know      could find the Holy Grail

                                                                                                shelved in Mysteries somewhere

                                    or at least know how to research       r-values of newsprint

                                    corn chip fuel or hand sanitizer fire starters

Never mind     I’m already proud                   as soon as she sees the stacks

our kid yells    outraged         Let me guess

                                                            THEY BURN THE BOOKS     (she never would)

                                                                                                            but       Reader

                                                                                                                                    they do

Moira Villiard - 'Before Endings and Beginnings'


“In trying to decide how I was going to illustrate a prompt – the arrival of Europeans to Turtle Island – in a manner that was neither too violent for a young audience nor one that sugar-coated the real story, I decided to depict the moment leading up to one of history’s greatest cultural collisions. I wanted to capture the more spiritual essence of the moment … where two flourishing worlds, one at a final peak of its existence thus far and the other at a peak of curiosity, converge. With no sun or moon or heavenly bodies, is it dawn or dusk? Exit and entry, beginning and end manifest through the same nexus.”

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Heid E. Erdrich’s new book, Little Big Bully from Penguin, won a National Poetry Series award. She edited New Poets of Native Nations from Graywolf Press. Heid is Ojibwe enrolled at Turtle Mountain.


Moira Villiard grew up in the wetlands of the Fond du Lac Reservation in Cloquet, MN. She is a dynamic, multidisciplinary visual artist, known for her use of color and surrealism through mediums of illustration, painting, graphic design, and public art. She is also an award-winning community organizer, curator, and passionate arts educator concentrating her efforts around issues of equity, access, creative placemaking, and Indigenous representation.

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