August 22, 2017

Jennifer Reeser

A FORENSIC ANTHROPOLOGIST BREAKS BAD NEWS TO THE ARAPAHO

The evidence, for me, lies in the pains
Displayed upon their furrowed, worried faces
As I explore the corpse, but find no traces,
Tasked with analyzing the remains.

Hold it together, Doctor, keep your cool.
Here comes the part no scientist enjoys:
“These skeletons are not your missing boys
Exhumed at Richard Henry Indian School.”

I feel I lack—like them—the heart, the liver,
Life-granting, vital fluids—bile and gall;
No word of cure nor ceremonial shawl;
Removed, returned, re-buried at Wind River.

Poets Respond
August 22, 2017

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Jennifer Reeser: “This poem is an empathic exploration of one anthropologist’s feelings, having to break the news that, although two Native American boys have been returned to their families for burial, the third missing boy remains lost.” (website)

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