My Stolen Sisters

Written by Melissa Beek on March 2, 2018

Melissa Beek (centre) read her poem, My Stolen Sisters, at the Blankets for Tina Fontaine Vigil in Fredericton on Feb. 26, 2018. Photo by Jared Durelle. 

My stolen sisters, I think of you.
I think of you when I visit the river.
She flows to the shore to greet me,
her current lapping at the earth.
Her ripples and waves sound like laughter –
the sound of our women gathered together.

My stolen sisters, I think of you.
I think of you while watching fields of long grass sway like waves,
tossed about by the rushing wind.
I look to the horizon and it’s like watching a field of shawl dancers
forever dancing.

My stolen sisters, I think of you.
I think of you when my mother says
“Be careful,”
When she holds onto a hug a little too tight.
I think of you and I know that with five Mi’kmaq daughters
She cannot shield us all from violence.

My stolen sisters, I hate to think of you.
I hate the way your stories sound to close to my own.
I hate the way you look like my cousins.
You sound like my aunts.
You’re too close to home.

My stolen sisters, I thought of you.
Thought of you as the night grew wet and cold,
my feet slapping the slush covered sidewalk.

My stolen sisters, I thought of you.
Thought of you as he yelled “Hey ponytail, what’s the rush?”
when I quickened my pace.
Thought of you
When his hand latched onto that ponytail
And suddenly that hair didn’t feel like my own.

My stolen sisters, I thought of you.
Thought of you while I struggled – untangling this body from trespassing hands that wished me nothing but harm.
Thought of you while I ran,
Praying to my grandmother for safety,
Heart pounding,
lungs and eyes burning.

I THOUGHT OF YOU.

How easily I may become you – face up, lips blue, bruised and battered under a blanket of stars.
I thought of you as I shaved my head.
An act of defiance – trauma falling to my feet with hair that could never again be my own.
As this crown grows,
my stolen sisters,
I always think of you.
I cry for you,
I pray for you,
I fight for you.
I will tell your stories until
Someday,
My stolen sisters,
The entire world will think of you.

Melissa Beek is from Metepenagiag. Melissa read this poem at the Blankets for Tina Fontaine Vigil in Fredericton on Feb. 26, 2018.

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