Hi, I’m Not Sacajawea

I cannot in good faith write a poem
about Sacajawea because the woman
that I remember from school haze in Oregon
is the sugar-traded silhouette
of the girl she must have been.

Neither is reading Wikipedia sufficient
research for retrieving something new
and profound about an indigenous girl
bought and raped and guided to motherhood
and west by father tableaus heroic for exploration

(is the guide not an explorer, too?)

and awful for much more than that. Not
enough is known and even though she might
be given her more appropriate
due date today, I still cannot write a poem
about Sacajawea because the woman
that I remember has retreated

(racist winds never stop blowing)

and the times are new and old
and my colonial carcass canvas
impedes every manifest step of the way.

#NaPoWriMo 2016 Day 18

Published by

Richard Leis

Richard Leis is a writer and poet living in Tucson, Arizona. His poetry has been published in Impossible Archetype. His essays about fairy tales and technology have been published on Tiny Donkey and Fairy Tale Review’s “Fairy-Tale Files“.