Here, they say, too bad for your noble losses.

You will not escape judgment from the misinformed.

You stand, bare of dignity,

held to standards existent only to those who are ignorant.

You stand, with your face and your skin

blatantly telling of failure, of loss, of broken dreams.

Here, they say, we know who you are,

even if you don’t.

Your losses are known and made invisible,

Hundreds of years ago you lost everything.

Move on, get over it.

You’ll never belong anyway.

Here, they say, we love who you used to be,

but we tried to kill you all

and you’re useless now.

Here, they say, let us take what we like from you,

Let us take the beauty, the harmony, the glory, the legacy.

We think we can sell it, at a price even more severe than it has already cost you.

And people will buy it all the while looking down at you,

telling you that you come from a dead past,

that you deserve nothing,

that it’s your fault,

that you were allotted a chance

and somewhere

you failed, continue to fail.

Here, they say, you look beautiful with your traditional regalia,

Just don’t open your mouth.

Dance, they say, like puppets. Be quiet and beautiful.

You are defeated, destroyed.

Pay no attention to what the voice in your head says:

“I’m standing on the stage
Of fear and self-doubt
It’s a hollow play
But they’ll clap anyway.”

Here, they say, dance now,

spin your colors at the pow-wow,

forget the lies

and we’ll all clap anyway.

Reservation

Ft. Peck by Alex Sakarissen

Photo credit: Alex Sakariassen

Sleeping under my skin
are traces of shadows left behind.
My steps echo of the past,
and ring of moving forward.
My jaw is set against my own questions.
I try not to pay attention to what I tell myself
most of the time.
On the plains, where the sky marries the land in a sunset ceremony,
the souls of my ancestors bled and died.
The ghosts of real people,
whose descendants sleep in the beds of backhanded poverty and abuse,
whisper from the grasses…
as the wind slowly sweeps across the Ft. Peck prairie.
Scars of the past manifest in the shadows that follow me,
whispering…. 
My heart is in the sky,
in the dirt,
in the green of the earth, 
and I am torn.
Lost.
I am a child of warriors dead and gone,
of generations of glorious women silenced.
My soul roars in tired revolutions, 
quieted by necessity.
I have not disappeared.

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This is my submission to dVerse Poets Pub Meeting The Bar.  I’ve really enjoyed the opportunity to have my poetry read and read other’s work.  I encourage anyone with an interest to check out their site.