Mem­bers of a voice­less choir

Geist - - Features - Shan­non Webb-camp­bell

On Cowie Hill Re­dux For Loretta Saun­ders

spirit long bound for Labrador

my man­gled re­mains— weeks later a search party found

you con­tin­ued west­ward

some­where out­side of Sal­is­bury my body off shoul­der of the Trans-canada New Brunswick be­fore dump­ing drove the le­gal limit en route to stole a bank card, filled a gas tank

into the trunk of my car you heaved a hockey bag

be­came my­self an Abo­rig­i­nal statis­tic a file on a lap­top our Miss­ing and Mur­dered Women

I left be­hind my un­fin­ished the­sis where ev­ery floor fell closer to hell

zipped it up, dragged it down the hall shoved my body into a duf­fle bag pressed the cor­ners of my lips tucked plas­tic be­hind my ears you wrapped my face in cling wrap

My brain bounced be­gin­ning—

My belly, my baby you slammed my head on the floor

I tore ev­ery sack three dif­fer­ent gro­cery bags you try to suf­fo­cate me we stum­ble into din­ing room esoph­a­gus up you pull at my hair

arch­ing back I fight for­ward you grab throat steal breath come up from be­hind couch hun­dreds for a short term sub­let mur­dered over rent money

I am a pale-skinned blue-eyed Inuk

Am­ber Tuc­caro’s Last Phone Call

“I want to go into the city, are we?” she ques­tioned the stranger “Where do these roads go?”

“To 50th Street,” spoke the man “Are you sure?” said her voice just be­yond road signs of Nisku

sky the colour of grey car­pet at Mo­tel Nisku “yo, we’re not go­ing into the city—”

“I want to go to the city, bet­ter not take me any­where I don’t want to go.”

in a phone call recorded out­side of Nisku

brother on the line in a jail full of strangers knew his Cree sis­ter was with a stranger

a man is a man is a man is a man

“we’re tak­ing back roads,” said a husky voice

“where you want to go” “north of Beau­mont, out­side the city”

she called from a mo­tel in Nisku

a pit stop on her way to the city be­fore hitch­ing a ride with a husky voice

not like Am­ber to lis­ten to a man on a stretch of road out­side the city

Mom told her to keep from strangers heard fear in her voice

her baby never made the city—

Do you know this man’s voice?

found her body out­side of Nisku, a farm owned by strangers. Left with au­dio of a man,

and Am­ber’s voice

God’s Lake Nar­rows For Leah An­der­son first light dances over a re­mote Cree re­serve reached only by air in sum­mer an ice-made win­ter road dry all four sea­sons

Leah walked out the front door a fif­teen-year-old who hauls sewage in pails men’s skates slung over her shoul­der

sang out to Aunt Myra— aunt and mother— her own mother de­voured by ad­dic­tion her own fa­ther mur­dered when she was six

with her prom­ise to keep curfew her sis­ters knew she’d be home be­fore the stars got too bright she swerved to­wards tim­ber­line no one saw her at the hockey rink

en­ter Man­i­toba’s thin light snow­mo­bile tracks carved banks cov­ered up boots and bones what was found near the wa­ter treat­ment plant her body beaten so badly it looked mauled by wild dogs

Leah’s slaugh­ter: un­solved

though on that Jan­uary week­end the only road in, and the only road out was closed. Shan­non Webb-camp­bell is a mixed In­dige­nous-set­tler poet, writer and critic. She is a mem­ber of Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Na­tion, and cur­rently lives in Mon­treal.

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