A Three Word Prayer: Not My Children

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I keep trying to capture the good moments

but they are constantly slipping away from me

I keep trying to hold onto life and light

but it is like it doesn’t want to stay with me

and people want to talk about change but sit back and wait until after the fact

then step up and pray for me

*

We are well past the time of need for prayers and smoke

You see, us Indigenous women know

that nothing comes for free

That someone always has to pay the toll

and so we have sacrificed from our flesh and our bones

hoping that it was enough

to buy just a l i t t l e bit of freedom for our children’s souls

*

My grandmothers on both sides have long since lost the stars from their eyes

and almost all of my aunties have had something taken from them unwillingly

As for my Mama, she said that the day I was born she held me tightly

looking down and caressing my cheeks

she only had one prayer to God that day that consisted of three words

      Not     My    Children

*

I was 14 when I first met my 1st Native girl who did not suffer any kind of abuse

It left me confused

I thought it was something that we had all went through

thought we had a monopoly on this game

that our birthright sprouted up in all of this pain

*

You see,

the world does not have to heed a mothers prayers

the earth does not tremble and shake from our grandmothers tears

It does not stop spinning because of our loved ones fears

*

I was 17 when a relative called me up on night

Her words got caught in her throat

s u s p e n d e d   on the line

she told me that a man had broken into her body

and ran off like a thief in the night

My own body curled into a question mark that night

that I could never quite unfurl

I only had 3 words for God that night

Why    Not   Me?

My hips had already been compromised and

I knew that they could hold all of that pain for her

I already knew I could survive the shit storm when it rained on her

If I could have, I would have took her place

and it was in that moment I understood

just how hard my Mama must have prayed

*

So you’ll have to forgive us

when we get choked up over headlines

and mourn them as if we have lost one of our own

It is because we really have lost,

it could have been our story being told

*

It could have been me

Could have been anyone in my family

Our women are losing their lives and our

children are dying in these streets

and we know that justice is never served hot at our table

you best believe that if we were able

We would place our flesh between our own and the world

absorbing the shock of each blow

Because even though we weep and have open hearts

it does not equal fragility

Instead these hard lives have given us warrior capabilities

and we will fight for our own

we   will   fight  for   our   own

*

Change will take all of us on both sides engaged in the fight

I have noticed that a lot of women that go to the Take Back the Nights

are not present for the Sisters in Spirit Vigils and march

Are we not your sisters?

Are our lives not on par?

And change doesn’t just happen in the streets,

it happens behind closed doors

Racist remarks and stereotypes manifest on the daily

it cannot be something you continue to choose to ignore

After all the ball always seems to be in your court

Do not tell me that you do not want to bring the war into your home and every day lives

When so many of us sleep with the war cluttering up our dreams at night

*

I truly believe that love is a revolutionary act

so change with us

R I S E with us

rearrange the stars in the nights skies with us

We do not need anymore growing up

knowing that the worth of their lives will be challenged

clutching onto three words prayers

trying to stumble on societies tightrope in fear of losing balance

 

*

In spirit,

 

Helen K

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