becoming indian

I remember your voice like an eyeglass
the twitch of your words falling thread
woven vowels of song
twirling spun candy-floss
over the loom of your chanting

The Great Spirit in the sky
tried to kiss you that summer
of our thirteenth year
when we ran barefoot through the forest
unafraid of the twilight hour

The nights were heavy with lavender
fragrance-filled fingers
combed our hair into tiny knots,
brambled tangles.

Our corner of the woods felt like a mushroom
absorbing the waters of tears and religion
in the backwoods of Canada.

Skin-diving on the water
Crying because our wavy hair wouldn't straighten
(complaining kept us virtuous)
Anima and animus
the bland impersonation
of male and female
sewn together seamlessly
like sleep and wakefulness

As giddy as stolen money,
we jumped off rooftops,
and became wild animals
Remembering our roots,
you became the Shadow Chieftain
I your Indian princess.

We started bonfires,
carved miniature totem poles
formed our own legends to explain
why the eagle flies alone...

So that, at the end of the world,
we could dream of the way things used to be.

Painting our faces
with the charcoal marks of storytellers
in the days of treehouses
and kitchenwares
when lakes swelled with warm water
and your voice reflected my own being
like a mirror

Our voices burst forth in the dark
calling the trees, like a dove
Yelling at deaf ears
asleep in memories.

I admired your chanting translucent
like a hawk at a carnival
your Mohican language
echoing like a boomerang

Shivering in the cool night
fresh, heavy with perfume
like a bird that can see for miles
talking about the white man
as though we were not of that race
that summer
when we tried to become Indian.