It was in a boardroom

It was in a boardroom

that I witnessed the latest killing


A room filled with knowledgeable

white people


trying to understand


what we offer

shaking their heads

not grasping

          the method, our language

          asking - Would that be recognized by others?

          (Academics, I presume)


Not seeing the power their world had

over the space


It was in this place that I saw the latest casualty


it was in the silence of the only Indigenous woman in the room

and the anxiety that I could recognize


beaten out of us

by the assertion that we were free to speak

(but not able)


and the ignorance that laid itself that day

in the room, on the table, and covered the room in shame


a shame that white people create

but can't see


I witnessed a murder here this day

when a woman's voice was silenced


with a silent hand that we all recognize

           whether it was in a boardroom

           a jail cell

           a distant farm

           a space between trees and approaching headlights

           or in the face of an officer, standing tall, holding someone's

           jacket and shoes

something they may never see

           and it scares me 



Bibliographical info

Tyler Pennock, "It was in a boardroom" from Bones. Copyright © 2020 by Tyler Pennock. Reprinted by permission of the publisher.

Source: Bones (Brick Books, 2020)



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