dress like pocahontas, then let's make love


Tell him, you have not previously undressed
this notion. Your mother would say
“how cute,” perhaps “the older guy?”
or “now remember to call it regalia—
they yell at me when I say costume.”
You didn’t object to Indian Girl for the
fourth grade costume ball, a Hobby-Lobby
approximation, hair in braids, be-feathered.
Did you see the new carpet, black-veined
marble and baked haddock in the casino
buffet? Did you hear Barbara in HR
finally wrote up Gene? Wolf clan can’t eat
wolf meat, and if we ever got hold of turtle,
you must apologize, leave that portion
and take extra of bear. No beadwork
would mention this; no fancy shawl captures
what cannot be claimed. The tribe pays
for your birth control. The tribe offers a flu shot
every time you visit; you are mayor of Oneida,
hash-tag native. Namegiver she loved me, she took
my hand,
 smudged sage like oil drops straight
to the ceiling. You are trying to say your own name,
but can’t pronounce it; you are afraid your skin is turning
translucent. Wear bronzer. Go on and braid your hair.
You are not enrolled, and it is only a costume.

Kenzie Allen is a poet, editor, designer, and literary activist. She recently completed a Zell Postgraduate Fellowship in Poetry at the University of Michigan's Helen Zell Writers' Program ('14) where she was the recipient of Hopwood Awards in poetry and non-fiction. She is the recipient of the 2014 Littoral Press Poetry Prize, a 2013 Emerging Writers Fellowship to Aspen Summer Words from the Aspen Writers' Foundation, and a Zell residency fellowship from the Vermont Studio Center. 

Poem originally published in Dialogist. 

Image Macro by Marissa Rodriguez