on true words

as if our true words were the people

speak to me of genocide
and i will take you by the hand
down the hidden path
taught me by the laughter of our mother
who led us together into far fields
and bathed us in still waters
counted the night’s fireflies
and taught us to pray

until our words
all our living words
were taken away

i don’t know why it’s so
– this time of year
or is it every time of year
the earth bleeds
true words
people holy in plainness

John Bart Gerald is a poet/journalist living in Montreal. He writes the website nightslantern.ca concerned with the prevention of genocide. Read other articles by J. B..