Celebrating National Poetry Month: #22

Invisible Indian

A few weeks ago
the cashier at the grocery store,
seeing my dark hair
and dark eyes,
counted my change
back to me in Spanish.

Three days later
the waitress at the pizza place
made the same mistake.
Happens all the time
since I moved to Miami.
As though without buckskin, braids and beads
I don’t exist.

At a pow-wow last Sunday
I spoke to a Cherokee
wearing faded black jeans and a tee shirt
standing beside a display of stone sculptures
I told him I admired his work.

He didn’t mistake me for Hispanic
But saw that I was Indian
and even guessed my tribe.
Other Indians always recognize me.

Maybe they hear the echoes of the drums
In the rhythms of my voice.
Glimpses the shadows of my Indian grandmother
In the chiseled cheekbones of my face,
Or see the turquoise in my heart.

-Deloras (Dee) Lane


  1. I am wondering if the photo inspires the poem or if the poem inspires the photo. This seems, at least to me, to be a new artform specific to blogs: using photos to inform and inspire the poems (or vicey versey).
    I find that I am pushed into words by the visual art; a process which eases the writing.
    I like your blog and love poetry.

  2. Ahh, the turquoise in my heart. . .what a nice poem, and on Earth Day too.

  3. Happy National Poetry Month! Are you going to try the six word memoir? Let me know if you do so I can come back and read.

  4. A perfect expression of how we ofter are unaware of what is special about those around us.

  5. Goatman... welcome to my blog. For me with the poems the words come first and then a picture or photo.
    In other blog posts is is often the photo that helps the words come.
    noni...I loved that line also.
    Colleen... I hope to try it.
    katney... my thoughts exactly.

  6. Hi again. I love this photo of the old Indian woman and it draws me back.
    How the reference to "Inland Empire"?The only time I can recall seeing this description is as the title to the David Lynch film with Laura Dern out not long ago. But his reference was to Los Angeles area I believe. I have never heard it applied to Northwest areas. Any history here?
    Thanks for visiting, my ducks liked you.


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