Poetry gives me freedom, sometimes.
Sometimes forces me into shapes, corners, feminities
that are stunning, suffocating
And deliciously dishonest.

Once I said I wanted my writing to taste good
served with misâskwatômina, like sweet berries.
Like the only way Native women are valuable
is when we are consumable.

But the problem is my writing smells more like the iron in blood,
gushing from an enthusiastically miscalculated sinew needle puncture wound.
My writing is the texture of lard and exhaust,
the taste of trying to fill your belly with the inhaled dust of inner city food deserts.
My writing is too many syllables and too much rage.

Did anyone ever tell you:
Your resistance does not need to be sexy to be real.
Sometimes it’s sexy, and you deserve that too,
but your trauma does not need to be poetic to be worthy.

If the purpose of sweetness
is to make me palatable enough to balance on your tongue
until you swallow me whole,

I hope my writing never
tastes like berries.


A desert tortoise named The Old Lady. She grew up in Hollywood, and is now about 90 years old and has retired to the suburbs. Desert tortoises have an extraordinary capacity for enduring harsh environments. Today I found out she isn’t much for blueberries, preferring either the flowers on my dress or the shade cast under my knees.

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