Poem of the Month
Streets

By Edited by Nyla Matuk

Published on December 1, 2019

By Lee Maracle

I know these streets.
Buried beneath them are old pathways,
safe trails which brought my grandmothers from birth to
elderhood,
carried them from ancestral village to gardens.

I know these streets.
Each one brought newcomers, new practices,
unfathomable customs which transformed our lives,
erased the gentle trails of Anishnawbekwe.

I remember my A’holt dodging humans
as she hurried from one village to the next under cover of dark.
The two men who accosted her, whiskey breath punch drunk
and uninterested in her consent, tearing at her.

I remember their knife as they slit her skirt, she
clutching it, fingers bleeding, exacting justice
their bodies left to perish in the night as she raced home
along the last safe trail.

I remember my momma and her tale, dodging cars
under cover of dark, hiding, hurrying, rushing,
trying to make it home before the invasion of her
private self would forever mar.

I remember these streets, my youthful vigour,
myself in the most beautiful time in my life, jumping
into a ditch, rotted water insulting my sense of being, hiding
as I waited for the engine of the assaulting vehicle to drift into the
…………. night-silent.

Silent. Under the loud textured voices of the newcomers, we grew
…………. oddly silent,
while strange that Cheryl Joe’s intestines were thrown into these
streets. Rosemarie Roper is broken from her gravel pit
death bed. The end of her walk through the night on these new
…………. streets,
brought no thundering outrage.

In the dark, on the street, the quiet spells ominous foreboding.
Silence does not protect. Voiceless we quake under the heel
of assault. Voiceless we quiver under the umbrellas of threat.
The night becomes an insult, not a moment for reflection.

We inherited this night a long time ago. A promise from
Grandmother Moon came with it. The promise of dreams,
sweet and wonderful. The promise of love, sure and enduring.
This night, this night, is so bound to these streets, to silence, to
…………. violence.

So enslaved is this night when death quiet kills dreams
destroys the sweetness, the wonderment, the promise of human love. Grandmother Moon: you sit above these streets forced to witness the
night that has visited itself upon these new streets.

I apologize for not coming sooner, to free your eyes,
to re-craft the images below,
to raise my voice in resistance
to the desecration of your eternity

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