Occupy Poetry

I am an Indian Woman

BY Sarah Perrote

i have been heavy with regret, carried it
like it’s an honor flag, close to my breast
my heart beat is dutiful, bound to
earth’s movement, pulsating against my will
my creation is complex
perpetuated this construction
of woman, of redskin woman.

i have bent my body to become the image
my skin has bronzed under fluorescent lights,
held my tongue, agreeance comes with a nod
not daring to shake the stoic off of my face
i’ve hidden smiles in my pockets,
filled indian health service waiting rooms,
stood in line to rinse my mouth out with soap
after trying to learn my tongue,

i have colonized my heart,
fallen away from the drum, to conceal shame
i’m a master in the art of walking in two worlds
my bones have become brittle
i have all but forgotten my name;
what have i become? a muse,
what entertainment might i be
as a living breathing being,
objectification, a museum in the making
they may marvel at what once was
matronized to the monarchy,
a patriarchal system’s casualty

this is heavy, this is exhausting
but a change sits on the horizon
it has plucked stars from the night skies;
stories to lead me home, moments
that’ve forgotten to be told
the journey of becoming
cradling me in the arms of life’s longing for love.

today i am here.
today, i am an Indian Woman.
Bodewadmikwe ndaw ngom.




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