At the 20th Annual Women's Memorial March, February 14, 2011
I arrive late, joining
a sea of umbrellas
braced against a pouring sky.
Already the fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers
of some of those
three thousand women
missing and murdered
flow out through the Carnegie doors.
The elders lead a familiar refrain,
a depth of pain and pride
drawn by drums to the surface,
song spreading back through the masses
in sporadic echos.
I've only heard it
at protests and funerals
and I realize I don't know
which this is.
We take up space.
We stop, stand still.
Rain beads on hair, on beards,
drips off noses,
makes collective grief palpable.
We march again.
The police chief walks beside me.
From the edge, an elder blesses us,
thanks us for our solidarity.
When I leave,
I find myself running.
At the Pow Wow, February 15, 2011
My god-daughter sleeps through the drumming,
curled up in a ball,
pressed to my chest;
my red hair rests on her small, dark head.
She smells of smoked salmon.
Her father and brother and cousins surround their drum,
their beats pulsing as one,
resurrecting an ancient song.
I smile in pride.
These men are all my relations,
all the more so since this dark-haired child
See, I say to her,
in the middle of the room,
our sisters are dancing! -
bells stitched into their coloured skirts,
feathers fanning the air,
Shawl-draped arms spread like wings
and draw us in.
Watch them all whirl.
There could be thousands of them.
P.S. The photos are not mine... I wish I had taken photos at these events!