Missing More Than a Word

Someone once asked me, what are the words I do not yet have — 
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verbs that will story our bodies into something more
than missing, more than squaw or lost, beyond statistics:
1 in 3 Native women will be raped in her lifetime.

Daily ritual: my hands search and sift through layers
of tiny earthquakes, shifted verdicts not guilty not enough
evidence not prosecutable not our jurisdiction I dig.
Native women are 2.5 times more likely to be sexually assaulted
compared to all other races.

I dig. We are vanishing lines in history books, treaties;
laws do not protect us. I dig until mud and earth find home
underneath my fingernails. I’ll plant something new
in the absence burn vanish underreport

Invisible, our ghosts starve, while the rest of the world keeps on eating.
A recent government study found that there were 14 federal human
trafficking investigations in Indian Country between 2013 and
2016. During that same period the FBI investigated 6,100
elsewhere.

Let us poem a place where you cannot erase us into white space.
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Let us dig to remind ourselves our roots are ancestral
and there is nothing deeper
than these sacred, dirt-covered hands.