LETTER:Small Bones Tell

(In memory of the 215 Indigenous children who died in Kamloops, B.C. and all the others betrayed by Canada’s abhorrent residential school system)

to look directly would shock us

with our own brutality, so we

avert our gaze, concoct fake histories,

dull our collective conscience

while archeologists reverently unearth

mummies and gold relics from ancient

tombs in Egypt, we keep the remains

of recent atrocities well buried, graves

unmarked, facts hidden, but for children

missing, families waiting…

until radar’s x-ray vision bores through

layers of denial to truth that screams

from small bones, in earth still sodden

from generations of grieving

tainted churches, schools, governments,

complicit nuns, priests, policemen, politicians,

bureaucrats, teachers, cooks, cleaners, gravediggers…

decades of silent witnesses

enabling the ‘unspeakable’

for what righteous purpose?

to civilize the heathens?

to educate the conquered?

to honour God?

how clever the devil in us

-so many disguises

Teri Coburn

Prince Edward County, ON

2021