Laying Hands

I learned to love your devil’s touch,

Bruised my knees to match my skin,

It was safety felt within your clutch,

Or the clutch that safely took me in,


In the quiet nights you washed me clean,

Put the damage on the soft places,

I fell asleep weeping with a blinding sheen,

Forgiven but avoiding puzzled faces,


These eardrums don’t beat the same,

Once tickled at the sweetest tongue,

Now beaten and maimed

And deep red from bloodied lungs,


When my eyes surveyed your black and white

I couldn’t help but feel drawn to your blessings,

Couldn’t wait for you to rape the night,

Couldn’t wait for you to fasten dressings,


Blood spread across white like cancer.

The cureless. You made me who I am.

For every screaming question I find the answer

In your devil’s touch, but who is damned?


I wake up from nightmares choking on bathwater

And the desolate looks from stolen sons and daughters.


How humbly you forgot your vows,

How celibacy was frail and dusted,

How when you laid hands across my brow

You forgot I’d been entrusted.

David Alexander Robertson, a Swampy Cree, focuses on educating youth about indigenous history and contemporary issues through his writing. His works include several graphic novels, and he is a contributor to the anthology Manitowapow: Aboriginal Writings from the Land of Water (2012). Currently, he is co-creator and scriptwriter for the upcoming television series, The Reckoner, and is working on a short story collection entitled The Evolution of Alice.