Sublimate


[The picture is of my grandmother, who went from being an adorable, little Mohawk baby to one of the most beautiful, strong, resilient women I have had the honor of knowing.] 

Wounds so deep we carry them in our DNA

First Nation babies ripped from their families

Placed in catholic run boarding schools 

Beaten for speaking with their mother’s tongue

Raped, murdered and buried in mass graves

Beneath a plot of land that now holds title to my pain

In deed–ownership claimed

These “savage” children of the wild

How can they wholly know what’s right for them?

Without baptism by genocide being the holy rite for them?

I don’t carry the tongue as I am a child of relocation

But I feel the sorrow in my marrow and I cry

I cry at the very sight of my grandmother’s picture

I miss her like I miss being able to speak Mohawk

But I am proud to be her grandson…to carry on

I don’t do rosaries like she did at 6am

I walked away from the church the day she said she was unworthy of the host

If she was unworthy what chance do we all have?

The host! We are the host! This is/was/should be OUR home

I’ll find peace within myself, while you paint your face red for your football game

I’ll find peace within myself, while you run the black snake through tribal lands

I’ll find peace within myself, when the day comes I can hug all my missing cousins and tell them they’re loved. They’re loved. THEY ARE LOVED!

[“Good enough for the Indians,” my grandma would say on many occasions, to mean that we should be happy with what we have, as this is our lot in life.]

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7 thoughts on “Sublimate

    • Thank you. She was/is an integral figure in my development as a person. I am blessed to have lived with her for some time and to really connect. A lot of her history as a child in the catholic run boarding house is unknown to me. Sometimes I wonder if it’s better that way or not. I tear up just looking at her picture and was basically weeping when I wrote this, but it felt good to let it out. Cathartic. Thanks again for the kind words 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • She was fiercely independent late into life, until Alzheimer’s, dementia and the weariness of the world became too much to handle alone. She ended up in a catholic run nursing home. She remained devout throughout her life and it seems the catholic run boarding school and then the catholic nursing home become the bookends to her life. Alzheimer’s was my greatest fear before she came down with it and now it is even more so my greatest fear. To see someone so strong stripped of her power and at times her very identity. No words…

        Liked by 1 person

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