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. His first published poem, "Roadside Freak Show," arrives on August 21, 2017 in Impossible Archetype.  His essays about fairy tales and technology have been published on Tiny Donkey. Richard is also the Downlink Lead for the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) team at the University of Arizona. He monitors images of the Martian surface taken by the HiRISE camera located on board the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter in orbit around Mars and helps ensure they process successfully and are validated for quick release to the science community and public. Once upon a time, Richard wrote and edited the science and technology news and commentary website Frontier Channel, hosted the RADIO Frontier Channel podcast, and organized transhumanist clubs. Follow Richard on his website (richardleis.com), on Goodreads (richardleis), Twitter (@richardleisjr), and Facebook (richardleisjr).