Untitled Poem by Anna McKenzie

Sometimes in the midst of my day to day life, I am overcome with a sadness when I see one of my brothers or sisters struggling with the life they have inherited as an Indigenous person. I wrote this piece on my phone while I was on the bus, watching an Indigenous brother struggle with alcohol. I observed the looks he received by other riders on the bus, of pity and disgust. I listened helplessly as the bus driver asked him to get off the bus, and the shame he felt. I felt my own shame for not being able to stand up for him in that moment, to explain to everyone what led this man to this place of darkness. Instead, I wrote a poem. 

He could have been a warrior

He could have been a leader

He could have been a provider

A protector of his people

Instead he sits on corners

Displaced from his land and spirit

His identity was stolen

From those who sought to possess it


She could have been a warrior

She could have been a leader

She could have had a voice

To be valued by her people

Instead she talks to no one

And struggles in her silence

Her voice and power were stolen

By those who sought to possess it

4 thoughts on “Untitled Poem by Anna McKenzie

  1. …well done,
    it’s direct/honest – seems to come from a place of soft power yet has an edge…a clear symmetry is established then emphasized …this is all editor-speak to say: what a lovely poem – brings to life the beautiful torment of a common-place moment witnessed by achingly few it would appear…

  2. You took a really difficult moment and found hope (and possibility).

    Sometimes poets have a hard time conveying moments filled with emotion though words. Not you.


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