red dress

she is woman,
giver of life
custodian of verses that

offer strawberries 
to the shrinking landscape 
of her womanhood 

she was a body
of land 

her wound, 
a world 

split 
 wide
 open 

by the excavation 
of the sacred ground 
beneath her feet 

she is what becomes 
of broken 
totem poles and railway tracks 

witness, i am
to 
stolen
  sisters

in towns that sleep
at daybreak  

a red dress,
lynched and 
hung 

in the arms of
oak wood branches 

the cotton fabric 
of her frame 
hugged by the wind

next of kin
fall heir
to the fires left 
behind 

and calls to justice
abandoned,
decay into cinder 
and dust 

folding starlight and lullabies 
of salvation 
into rib cages 

that house guts of 
strength 

and the resilience 
of the 
departed

she is remembered for
being strong 

when all she’s ever wanted 
to be is 
soft 

let her be soft.

– dedicated to missing and murder indigenous women and girls and their loved ones 

lh
may 2022

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