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ó tu mortal

Today I took some dried bits of tobacco I had balled up tight in my left fist and ground them into a stone monument atop an Iroquois burial mound in Scarborough.

Five hundred bodies below my feet. Sun in my hair. Long clouds shoving their way across the huge northeastern sky.

As I scraped my palm along the grey rock, the back of my hand all yellow and sickly-looking from clenching, I thought of my generations. My grandmother, died November 1st not so many years ago. My grandfathers. Their parents, whose names I don’t know. Three and four and five generations back, complete mysteries, an empty space, blank faces and unknown names. I may never know my family’s histories, but I can imagine them. I closed my eyes, hoped I could honour the ones come before, and asked forgiveness of the ones come after.

Crunch crunch crunch for the dead. Autumn wind, gusting, took much of it away.

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