They wear a want of faith beneath their overcoats,
and long forgotten questions asking to be answered
rot beneath their tattered shoes like fallen leaves,
Something grey and undefined sleeps beyond their sight,
and even the morning sun is viewed with dull disdain.
Excused from civility by everything that is clean
they stumble in dirty streets where God no longer
walks with whores.
Abandoned souls of the lost and ill-fated are many.
They do not see themselves in terms of absolution.
TIMELESS VOICES, International Library of Poetry
What envies swing here
on the dark branches of the hanging tree?
torn by ravens.
How many were held by those arms?
You stood witness
to be more or less than you are.
To become the yellow noose
tied by caring hands
so as not to fail.
Thirteen wraps tied by loving hands.
Macramé at the county fair.
And all the fine ladies
in petticoats and white gloves
compliment the tightness of the knot.
What fears lie here?
What bloodied mysteries,
puddled at the roots of the tallest Oak?
How many ghosts swing here?
Crusts of bread too dry for mold
would stand a feast in my bony hands.
Eyes dark and heavy swim these hollow sockets.
Skin like crumpled paper over a greying, dying skeleton.
Tangled hair and dirty hands
the least of my cares.
I have but one need, deep primitive thought,
the food I now lack strength to digest.
Helpless against my own frailty.
Even in sleep starvation wakes me.
Even in dreams I long for relief of death.
Rain drops or flies feet
felt on yellow ashen brow and cheek.
No tears, dehydrated, as lost as fallen lashes.
I too frail to flee the wild dogs
most intensely concentrated with need of meat.
I am passed by
a wasted effort to offer no appeasement for their hardship.
Dogs in their hunger
have no interest in me
or in ending my suffering for sake of pity alone.
Copyright Christine Falk 2011.
On Leaving the Residential School
Those were old memories;
Running over the crusted snow in my moccasins,
Running past that place where it hurt to run.
Pushing myself forward
Even after I heard my sister fall behind
And not even looking back for her.
Not looking to see
If it was the soft smiling man
Or the one with the snarl and the sour breath
Who put the bullets to our backs.
Not looking back at any of the massacre.
Me running past that place
Where I heard her last faint breath
Running ahead of the fading boom repeated
And the hot hissing bullets that chased me burning.
Pushing forward past the place where my legs felt like my own.
Those were old memories.
Running from that cleared field to the tall thin trees,
Running beyond that false safety.
Running for deep forest cover,
Running until I reached the river.
Ice waters reviving me.
Ice waters numbing me when I was already full numb
Then that hushed lullaby that only the spruce trees sing.
That hushed lullaby.
Where wolf pups huddle secure from the cold
And I enter that hidden winter den where I found my last warmth.
Where I can remember again that I am a child
Curled up to sleep with dog pups.
Where warm tongues lick my face,
Where blood seeps from my mouth,
From my ears,
And no-one is there to hear my last faint breath.
Copyright Christine Falk 2013.
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