Sunday, January 17, 2016

January 17 -- Michaelsun Knapp

Native American Gothic
                Wood, Grant. American Gothic. 1930.
                Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. Last Show. 1930.
We knew how to walk with our chins
as straight as colts,
but windows were not our way.
Pitchforks, overalls, train cars,
circuses and collared dresses 
were not us. But we were educated
to look through glass, and to cover it
with fabric when we wanted to be alone
in our painted white houses. We learned
to put war bonnets on,
and fight ourselves. We learned
to haunt a gaze like a home.
Our fingers came to know a pitchfork’s handle,
like a rifle,
like a coup stick,
like the feel of our forearms
like the feel of powdered cheeks,
and how to wear it until it’s smooth.
We learned how to pull splinters out with our teeth.
We learned
how to fit a collar
around our necks
and jump.
They taught us
to wear the war paint of their mind.
They taught us
to come when our names were called.

Originally published in The Chaffey Review

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