Urban NDNs in the DTES

had a dozen foster parents
tell me to run from my mother’s truth,
flee from the tread marks up her arm
& shy away from the streets
they said ate her alive.
 wasn’t until i had rewilded
    unto the very streets
     that i recognized that it kept her alive.
harm came from
     the môniyâw men
             lurking in the alleys asking for something more
(like ligament or limb)
     to wrap their fleshy
             digits around nehiyawkwe throat
squeeze life like pressing
     orange for juice.
most of my mom’s sisters are dead
                 like her too now—
caught in the crosshairs
         of murdered or missing;
their children are working
         & i make sure to say hello to my cousins,
                                 we all picked up our mothers’
                                 work eventually.
i have become a regular at the funeral parlour on Hastings.
burying parent & child every other week.
don’t have tears left once home, save them
for longer nights
remember there are NDN children
who need to eat still.
i ran onto Main and Hastings
cried out in anguish, this place called cold
called heartless
called monster & maw
was never the culprit & the blame was never to be
my mother’s or her sisters—
rather machines of genocide
placed here by
the illegal government voted in
by our now neighbours.
i’ve found truth:
                  the mythos was fabricated;
& there will always be
funerals to attend,
NDN children to feed.