Monday, March 17, 2014


You cannot imagine how envious all the other kids were of these glasses.


I often dream of cats who are birds
or birds turning into cats –
does that mean my ancestors
are trying to contact me?

                                                                        I grew up in a succession of trailers –
                                                                        mostly single-wides.  I dreamt of living in                                                                         a real house with a staircase and big
                                                                        windows that opened wide instead of
                                                                        little glass slats you cranked into slits of air.

I’m not Indian but my step-
daughter is ¼ and her daughter is
1/8 and her kids will be 1/16, and
I’ve been Indian in ALL my

                                                                        We ate cheap hotdogs, mac n’cheese from
                                                                        the food bank, spaghetti, white
                                                                        bread and margarine.  You know. 

I got a tattoo of my spirit animal
on my ankle after my vision-quest.
Wanna see?

                                                                        I got free lunch at school.  I was too
                                                                        hungry to hide the special red tickets
                                                                        from the other kids.  Besides, I had to get
                                                                        into my pre-diabetic training.

You have such gorgeous black long
hair. Such great skin.  Such high
cheekbones.  I grew up with a bunch
of Cherokees … You guys get lots of
money from the government, right?
Or do you have a casino?

                                                                        I do not get a casino per-cap.  We can’t
                                                                        even get Federal Recognition.  I took out                                                                         loans for my college education.  I did get                                                                         some cool gray cat’s eye glasses in third                                                                         grade from welfare, though.  They were
                                                                        key to my popularity.

I’m friends with this Algonquin
Medicine Woman … saw this turtle
rattle at a Pow Wow … the Indian
woman wouldn’t sell to me … I got
an Indian friend to try .. turned out
the seller was Joanne Shenandoah’s
mother … sorry, this is a long story, but
storytelling is important to your people,
isn’t it?

                                                                        Sometimes we got a free turkey on
                                                                        Thanksgiving if someone put our name on
                                                                        a charity list.  Free!

I’m sooooo jealous of you, you have
such a spiritual inheritance, a connection
with the earth.  I’m culturally
impoverished compared to you.

                                                                        My inheritance includes genocide, PTSD,  
                                                                        diabetes, glaucoma, bad teeth, extreme
                                                                        astigmatism, crooked feet, bad dreams,
                                                                        poor choices and a looooong memory.

Do you have an Indian name?  Can
you give me an Indian name?  Actually,
I kinda have one I gave myself
already, can you translate it?

                                                                        Let’s face it, I’m a wannabe too.  I just
                                                                        wannabe normal.  Go for walks.  Read a
                                                                        book.  Eat a hot dog and know the
                                                                        ingredients won’t poison me.  Have the
                                                                        privilege of not needing anger to
                                                                        cauterize all these open veins.

- Deborah Miranda

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