From East to Six Feet Deep: An Elegy.

Written as an imitation of the elegic genre, in the style of Thomas Gray’s “Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard.”

***

A requiem bell tolls again to start a mourning day,
Another long cavalcade winds slowly to the doors,
Some with sighs, and some with cries, for a girl—fifteen—to lay
To rest; but no body is there here to mourn, no box of sweet grandeur,

Now fades my sight from colour to grey,
As death removes all but death, how ever one may plea,
And all is now a memory; all that’s left to do is pray
That perhaps someday a body may find what’s left of me.

Millions of tiny hands push against a glass rib cage
While void violet veins think sometimes still to move, filled with worms
That writhe and so mock my people’s right and just outrage,
This rage, this grief, that begs my thief to shake and see him squirm.

My mother might weep to know of that worm that calls my eye
Its home, and my father might moan to see my heart pulse,
Alive again maggots; there is here too a gadfly,
That roils in my gut—from him my family recoils, so utterly repulsed.

While my sister—well, my sister has been gone these five years
And my mother’s eyes have not since been dried
And my father’s heart still pounds and suffers unanswered fears
As to the washroom floor my brother’s tainted liver him chides.

But everything is quiet here, serene and subtle calm,
The music of the great-horned owl wafting from her lofty tower
To harmonize with the fox’s howl, one distant and sad psalm,
Accompany the mouse’s bustles, welcoming the evening hour.

It is with these belov’d ancestors I can consider
Tangled in my hair, black like Raven’s feathers, yarrow,
Those feathery leaves that brush my cheeks, sending up fragrance bitter,
Flowers, I know grow white and yellow, blossom out of my bone marrow.

Under the shade of tall evergreens I lay here so still, where
Downy sprigs of ivy twine between my vertebrae,
Here cervical, and there caudal, now the nursery of hares
Who amongst my bleach-white spires play in the bless’d month of May.

Untamed thyme and feral rosemary sprout beneath my orbits,
Empty as they are, void, to take the place of common,
Better-lov’d blossoms; though the perfume of the moor be morbid
You will not find it in a rosy parlour, waiting to be forgotten.

Forget me? Never—my mother will dance until she dies
As long as she believes it may bring me home.
The bells will chime against her hips and ankles, in her hair
And against her chest, ringing in the ears of all my people.

They scream for justice—for me, for my sisters, the lost
And the enraged, we who do not rest, who never shall,
Immortal in the graceful doe, and in the soaring eagle,
In the river’s silver minnows, in the autumn leaves that fall.

We are the daughters of the stars, the angels of the deep,
The flighty forest nymphs who dance unseen amongst the trees,
Our bodies and bones are gone, with only our names to keep,
We join the wisps of cloud and storm, carried by the breeze.

May we well wander now until the end of all your days
The shades that hide amongst the wild thorny brush
And haunt those thieves amongst the haze, with empty eyes ablaze,
That they may always hear our screams at morning with the waking of the thrush.

Here and there, we angels lie,
The backbone of this country’s earth,
Who didn’t think to say goodbye
And never dreamed the trees to birth,

Our spark survives, that essence of we phantoms’ lives, the prized
Leg’cy of our ancestor’s cries, that unforgotten past,
And unforgiven yet, be now our descendant’s demands—
Find us. Find the stolen children of this underlov’d caste.

Until the powers hear us, honour us, their lost daughters,
Their used, abused, abducted, sacrificed; we martyrs
And love us like their foreign children, find our slaughterers,
And write our names forever in their new and lofty charters.

And as they lay us down to sleep, perhaps they’ll deign to say,
“Oft have we heard your cries for recompense, though we were all but deaf,
But now we hear and share your animosity; we beg
Thee now, allow us to your side and trust in our defense,
Pray receive us now, and forgive us the unforgiven then,
Our failures of the past, ye loved children of the fall,
The spring, the summer and all, hardy as the flighty wren,
Teach this nation justice’ name; deliver sweet mercy all.”

THE EPITAPH

Our images will haunt the Hill forever
Until the status “missing” might endeavor
To change to “found,” but never
Will “murdered” not be ours; however,

Though those killers may think themselves clever,
True judgment passes when the soul from body severs
To come meet us, or God, whomever
Happens to come first; but who instills more terror?

Perhaps with death we birth a revolution
Demand both prosecution and resolution
Though there be few means of reconciliation,
Perhaps there is peace in newfound retribution

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