Falling Through The Gaps

It is North America’s dark, open secret that native women are far more likely to be raped, and far more likely to be murdered. Given the complicated and tense mesh of federal, state and tribal law – as well as entrenched racism towards indigenous people across North America – cases continue to fall through the cracks.~ Lucy Anna Gray


The history books we were forced

to memorize whitewashed the grim

reality, glossing over

the decimation

of 500 nations —

the deliberate, ironic cruelty

calling savages

those treated most savagely

by our greedy influx

pious people guided by god:

rob the inhabitants, take the land

steal their children, their languages,

their cultures.  In bold, the word


to deflect

the evil, even now refusing

to reconcile or even acknowledge

the damage.  Let alone

retrain the trainers,

compose new toddlers’ songs,

rewrite the children’s stories.

We’re still here,

they shout, to the stellar students

of books which insist they never existed

in the first place.  And no one is looking

for the women,

missing by the thousands.

We would conduct a more diligent search

for a herd stampeding

the gaping fence

of the overgrown pasture

on what they still consider

stolen land. Our perspective

so ironclad

officials scratch their heads,

shrug their shoulders.

Where could they all have gone?

So irresponsible to leave their children,

their homes, not even wearing shoes,

what must they have been thinking?

It’s a mystery,

case closed,

obviously no foul play.

It’s not a crime to abandon

everything you love,

how could we possibly

prosecute a woman

who makes that choice?

The blind injustice covering up

yet again, this callous disregard

for sacred lives.

Written for Day 10 #OctPoWriMo prompt “Falling through the cracks” and inspired by: Stellar, Fence, Herd, Overgrown, Trainer

And the documentary Vanished: The Search For Murdered And Missing Native American Women.  Watch it here.

All My Relations

I am deep in the now

when her cries pull me

into the middle of the road.

“Where are my children?”

They were warned yet they came

so they’re separate, safe

in cells, so safe. She stands

on the black pavement

her stance a brave flag.

Alone. “Where are my sisters?”

It’s a mystery.

The shadow of an eagle falls

across our faces, and we peer

too late into the sky. Missing

without a trace. I grab big

fistfuls of space

my gift as she is calling,

“My brothers, where are my

brothers?” Locked in solitary

with cruelty inked into their souls.

But this is the law.

From my open hands

the now

fog rising from the lake

on a cool autumn morning.

“Where are my elders?”

In tiny rooms where they can’t

fall, don’t worry so.

A strong vine pushes through

the cracks. There are calls

from the trees in languages

long lost.  Roots paved over

push and shift beneath our shuffle.

“Where are my neighbors?”

Cowering from the bomb, bomb, bombs

or bombarded by our virtual cries,

numb, disconnected, blinded

to the love guides.

I open my heart wide

the only place to offer

relational space our chance

to dance with time and

uncover the raw connections

feeling flayed at this demand

to reclaim our forgotten family.


Inspired by interrelationship