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Indian Boarding Schools

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I was left to wither away
Lost in a valley of hopelessness
Going through motions in hopes of deceit
Never looking back because I’ll decay
I’m forced upon my knees to pray
If there is truly a God, won’t he spare some mercy?
I rather die than to be dishonored
Red rose petals float upon water
It journeys through blood and tears
Mocking me as it bares its freedom
I stare out to a field that was once mine
Long ago faded with time
Painful words sting my tongue
Like daggers piercing into my heart
They, the demons, try to conform me
To leave my soul to waste
Like fallen warriors left lying in their graves
Every step I take is to please
They have no purpose though
The sun that once embraced my presence
Now beacons me home
Embraced, finally, by familiar yet strange faces
“PaePoQuin” they say
“You have returned to us. Tell us what you learned.”
I stand- gather my strength and pray to the God I was forced to believe
So I weep, agonize, and relive the memories
Of being forbidden to speak- or face the “cleansing”
Of being punished- for being red skinned
Of hunger- everyday starving rather than eating demon food
Of rebelling- only to face whipping
Of losing my identity, my name- instead being called “Jaylene”
Tears wield in my elders’ eyes
I died that day I was sent away
And I can never again regain PaePoQuin, Deer Water



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