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god’s river

April 18, 2016

by Billy Ray Belcourt

 

it is september 2009 and health canada sends body bags to god’s river first nation—a community hit hard by swine flu

 

a body bag

is a gun

is a smallpox blanket

is a treaty

—call it a medicine chest

 

wait for

the autopsy

they call it H1N1

you call it

the pass system:

bodies like

these can

only leave if

they’re on

stretchers

—call it “moving

 

someone says

it’s like sending

body bags to

soldiers in

afghanistan

 

remind them

that canada is

four hundred

afghanistans

—call it colonialism

 

to live in

trenches like these

is to be

civilian casualty

and soldier all at once

—call it “a suicide epidemic”

 

wonder

how many deaths

it takes for a

country to

call itself

god

 

think maybe

reserve is

another word

for morgue

is another word

for body bags

—call it home anyways

 


Billy-Ray Belcourt is from the Driftpile Cree Nation. He is a 2016 Rhodes Scholar-elect and is completing a BA (Hons.) in Comparative Literature at the University of Alberta. He blogs and writes poetry at nakinisowin.wordpress.com.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. April 18, 2016 1:22 pm

    Reblogged this on nakinisowin.

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