You know, we know 

We know the pain feel the pain
see the pain                                                                                                                                                                     
hear, smell, fear it                                                                                                                                                            
live with it                                                                                                                                                                         
and at times                                                                                                                                                                     
have learnt to love it 

We follow it as it moves between                                                                                                                             
those that also see it
and those that don’t
yet sense it like the motionless                                                                                                                                           
red eyes that peer back                                                                                                                                        
through the bush late late at night 

The damage latches onto those                                                                                                             
no where near the crime screen                                                                                                                                          
they live with it,
whether they speak it or not
whether they deny it or embrace it
acknowledge or laugh at it
it lingers for live times
haunting you early on cold mornings
before the sun rises while snores still sing 

We know those belittling stares
that turn into lustful force
know that your actions run deep
they sleep in the heart of unborn babies
in toddlers that throw tantrums for no reason
teenager searching for identify
adults with a burning sense of un-belonging
old people that have comforted
grief for generations 

You flirt, you desire you hunt and concur
we bruise, bleed and loathe
some ignore, hide and deny
others break, cry and scream alone
while there are the brave
who take back their power
with grace and beauty
walk tall and never look back 

not white enough
not black enough
yet a perfect shade of dishonour
we are your kin, your family
your sisters, mothers and daughters
we are the story tellers whether or not
the stories are told
we carry them and protect them
lodge them and reference them
better then any state library or hospital
our records need no papers of seals
they are forever carved into flesh,
rivers and trees
into the genes of families,
towns and cemeteries
you breed it in your silence
nurture it in your entitlement 

sleep with eyes wide open
as you learn to look at it out loud
hold it as it weeps
heal it, in loving arms
knowing who owns the seed
your seed 

We know, you know 

This poem was originally published in Artist Profile, Issue 58, 2022.

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