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by Sharmagne Leland-St. John

You traded us for glaciers,
Snowcapped mountains,
Pine forests,
Where icy rivers run.
You traded us for a man
Who would provide a home
For you and your infant son.

Did we haunt your dreams?
2 little girls,
Huddled together,
In the back of a black and white
1949 Kaiser
Police car
Parked at the curb
While you and Dad
Had it out
One last time.

You traded us
For your own father's freedom
To come and go
Across the borders
From Northern Ontario,
To the Gulf of Mexico
You traded us so you could go home
To the lakes and creeks
Where you, with freckled cheeks,
As a barefoot child used to roam.
Where you and the old aunties and cousins
Would go "huckleberrying"
Under the summer Wenatchee sun.

Did you ever dream of us?
2 little girls
Living like Madeline
Under the scrutiny
Of a strait backed mother superior
And a passel of cruel, pokerfaced nuns?
Did you dream of us
Being locked away in chilly closets,
For weeping at night,
Because we missed you dearly?

Or were we out of sight,
Out of mind?
Were you merely grasping
For any happiness you could find?

Now I am a woman
With children of my own
And I spend my time in your glacial,
Snow-capped Wonderland,
With my Indian cousins,
My Canadian cousins,
Cooking and chopping wood,
Or beading, while they sit reading
In front of a roaring winter fire;
Dreaming of spring
And fair weather
So we can visit your grave
Where you lay sleeping,
Cuddling the memory
Of your infant son.

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