Blood Memory #4

there is a story and in the story he sits across the table
writing the story about the problem in your bones —
past tense — a future looking back upon itself.
you wonder how long it has been since truth
and reconciliation lip serviced United Nations
declarations of how the land needs to be grown again.
moving forward you see only impossibility — blockades
double speaking themselves around fork-tongued
snakes laid to rest in stolen ground — scaled skin
circling parliament hill.

 

there is a story and in the story he is white —
mennonite strong history spanning back to spilt blood
across this broken land.

 

there is a story and in the story he is the villain
and you are the saviour only somehow you’re not sure
that the story was told right — perhaps things got lost
in translation — maybe all any of us ever were was
human.

 

there is a story and in the story maybe if his great-
great-grandfather and your great-great-grandmother
met now they would sit across a table from each other
to write the story in their bones.

 

there is a story and in the story lines blur until no one
knows what happened — every word becomes its own
entity only looking out for its place in the sentence —
maybe the storyteller has forgotten how to speak
maybe they put down their pen maybe they shot
a buffalo maybe they said yes to the wrong words
in the wrong order.

 

there is a story and in the story he sits across the table
wondering how we are ever going to end it.

Published online July 16 2019.

Ashley Hynd is an Indigenous poet of mixed ancestry. Her writing grapples with the erasure of her history and is an act of reclamation, as well as a call of accountability for what has been lost. She was shortlisted for Arc Poem of the Year (2018) and won The Pacific Spirit Poetry Prize (2017). Her writing has appeared in Arc Poetry Magazine, PRISM international, Room and is forthcoming in Canthius.


Poetry Only cover image

This piece was published in ‘Poetry Only,’ the Spring 2019 issue of CV2.

Get more great poetry, interviews, and reviews delivered straight to your door four times a year. Subscribe now.