Poetry by Helen Knott

A moving poem, by Dane Zaa/Cree youth Helen Knott, written in response to all of the missing and murdered women in Canada.

Your eyes
they       curve
around me.

I watch you try so hard
to find your way

Your sight is like rushing waters
beside me,
behind me,
pushing over me,
indirectly consuming me.

They say,
the path of least resistance
makes rivers and men

I am here.
I have resisted.
I am resisting.
I did not make you crooked.

What is it about
your structural giants?
What is it about
your pock marked protection?
What is it about
your false perceptions?

What beliefs
have you bound to my body?
What pathologies
have you painted the pigment of my skin?
What bad medicine
did your fore fathers use?
To make me

You don’t want to see me
You have the choice
whether or not
you see me.

I become a casualty of your blindness.
Subjected to your one sided
absent mindedness,
because you’ve been given the privilege
of selective vision.
You weed out colours that
don’t match
your peripheral preference,
and I am not a part of your rainbow
your twisted light
for better tomorrows.

My face can be plastered on posters
telling you what I was
last seen wearing,
with fitted descriptions,
a location to give bearings,
and you can choose to
look past me…
and go on

My ravens hair and heritage
does not
sound alarm bells.
It does not stir you to
look for me,
you have never
seen me.

You’ve seen me alright.
You see me on street corners,
lips red like sirens,
dreams broken like
sidewalk syringes,
erotic like catholic church windows,
submissive and silent.

You see me in welfare lines,
hands open wide,
waiting for what’s coming to me.
Drinking death causing concoctions
behind dumpsters.
You see me as a standing statistic
a living, breathing, heaving stereotype.

You see me in the bar,
another joke
for you and your friends,
but if you want to get laid,
I am your

You see me
as dispensable,

This is how you see me.

Undeserving of stars,
deserving of starlight rides
and pleasurable times.

Funny how you fail
to see me
when I am
face up, lips puffed
body bloated and battered
bruised beyond recognition.
Still not gaining your attention?

Come on baby and
                                            dance me outside.
I think she was just looking
for a good time,
I heard she lived
a risky lifestyle.
It was inevitable, some say.
this is how you see me.

Never somebodies daughter.
Never somebodies mother.
Never an aunt, a sister, a friend.
Never am I seen
as strong,
as proud,
as resilient,
never as I am.

Finally given the stars,
laid to gaze at them
on back roads and in ditches
on ghostly stretches of
forgotten pebbled pathways.
Your vastness
swallows me.
Do I fall in your line of sight?
Do you see me now?

because I get this feeling
that your eyes
they curve
around me.

Helen Knott
Dane Zaa/Cree

Filed under: Poetry

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