Gifted In the Arduous by Maggie Kazel

–with thanks to Eileen Hudon and Chris Stark

Sticking rushing sparking
back and forth
between two worlds
rocky, watery both
we are the in-between
the glue and the friction
we busy fusing rock
to river
we born into vicious
riddle of birthright and crime
we born of this event
called rape.

Our familiarity to all others,
our essence, our innocence
question marked,
flung out.
Justice stands,
looks us in the eye,
listens to the facts
but daunted, ashamed,
admits he cannot say a thing:
balanced or broken,
there are no scales for this

For some of us in that twin
moment of conception / violation
something sponged our losses,
covered our wounds
stitched our souls
Incubating, including, immersing
some form, reformed us
some spirit,
gifted in the arduous
bending of malevolence,
leveling the mountain
of violence heaped upon our birthright
building within us a keen wisdom
we came to trust and lean on
the exactitudes and dimensions
of sacredness and divinity
through Spirit
which cannot
and did not
and will not
fail us

Now we say
no one can steal you
though you may feel split open
though you may feel exhaustion
though you may feel gone to dust
we thread the seemingly broken
we utter the honest
in places known for shouting lies
we hear the truth under the said
we search out the thing called trust
for those who have known only fissure,
rupture, and breaches of

Circling, chasing, electric
fluid and stone,
we press rock
into the woo of water
into the crackling friction
and we carry our ephemeral
lucid jewel eggs of bliss and grief
we face outward with our scars singing,

we breathe the knowing of transcendence
the kind that leaves pockets of truth and
tender of mercy
to be given

and given
and given


Bringing Joy: A Local Literary Welcome Copyright © 2021 by Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College. All Rights Reserved.

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