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RWB Workshop Poem of the Week—Nov 12

November 13, 2019

MARK FOGARTY

NOW YOU KNOW ONE OF THE MISSING

During the time that Misty was gone, she was one of more than a thousand indigenous women missing in North America.
—The Guardian

Misty Upham’s drama coach
Told her to find another line of work.
Despite that, she became a professional actor.
You’ve seen her in August: Osage County
And many others. I saw her in a movie called
Frozen River, where she gets involved in a scam
To smuggle people in from Canada
Through a tribe’s right to move unimpeded across the international border.
That’s real, guaranteed by the Jay Treaty of 1794.
The white woman was the star, but you’d remember
Misty in it, her persistence, her push
To cross borders. She would catch your eye.

Misty Upham was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award
For her work in Frozen River, and for a joint cast award
From the Screen Actors Guild for August: Osage County.

Now you know one of the thousands who have gone missing.
Now that you think about it, you remember her, too.
Oh yeah, the quiet one. The one who played the Indian girl.

Misty achieved what she did
Despite perpetual agony and anxiety.
Misty was gang raped as a teen. And she was raped
At the Golden Globes the year before she died.
She used alcohol and a whole formulary of drugs
To push on; she tried to kill herself several times.

When Misty went missing on the Muckleshoot Reservation,
Local police declined to search for her. She was just out partying
With other drunk Natives; she’d turn up.

Nothing fucking happened until eight days later
When CNN asked why no one was looking
For this notable young actress.

Her family, not the police, organized a search party for Misty.
After she was missing 11 days,
They found her dead, at the bottom of a ravine near the White River.
Her blood was full of alcohol, but the coroner ruled
He could not come to a conclusion as to why she died.

The treaties don’t protect you from shit.
You lived near a border of relentless indifference,
Near something inside that’s gone grossly missing.

And when they found you,
Your family touched you through the body bag,
Your arms, your legs, so you’d know
They came looking for you.

For Misty Upham, 1982-2014, and advocates for MMIW (Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women). A detailed article from The Guardian about her is at https://www.theguardian.com/global/2015/jun/30/misty-upham-native-american-actress-tragic-death-inspiring-life

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