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 Zell Postgraduate Fellow at the Helen Zell Writers’ Program at the University of Michigan, and is a descendant of the Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin. She is the recipient of Hopwood Awards in poetry and non-fiction, and her work can be found in The Iowa Review, Sonora Review, Drunken Boat, SOFTBLOW, Apogee, and elsewhere. She is the managing editor of the Anthropoid collective.