Poem "Discovery" by Donna Dawson, 2015 (www.donnafawcett.com)

I walked through the silence of my parents' secrets.
We cannot tell, they say
The children will suffer
And so I travel through the halls of youth
Lost. Confused. Unknowing of who I am.

My mother will say only so much.
He is your grandfather
She is your grandmother
Your great grandfather

And then she stops.
My great grandmother?
Who can say? She averts her gaze.
She doesn't know either

My father will say nothing.
He is from the east.
That is all.
I grow up not knowing the names of my grandparents
Only a vague mental picture of
Two people I've never met.

Why is my brother dark?
Why does my father have blue eyes in a swarthy face?
Why is my mother's hair walnut brown
Yet her skin is the colour of ivory?

Through the passing of years I study the diversity of my siblings
And I know there is something different.
My queries go unanswered.
Who am I?
Canadian? What does that mean?

Age and time whittle away at my childhood and my parents' resolve.
Social acceptance changes.
I persist.
Who am I?

As I step into adulthood the truth unwinds itself
Like a carefully coiled strand.
Cautious words are whispered.
We didn't want you children to suffer.
We wanted you to have a normal childhood.
What is normal when you don't know who you are?

And then it comes.
Mi'ikmaq. Oneida.
Scottish. French.

I discover I am a mixed bag.
A blending of old and new world.
A melding of people groups divided by an ocean.

And something clicks within my heart.
A knowing as though I have always known.
I look in the mirror.
The darkish hair.
The faint olive hue to the skin
The nut brown eyes with a hint of lift at the corners.
I can see it then.
Why did I not see it before?

I realize that I am home in the heart of my people.
The Metis. And I am content.