Celebrating National Poetry Month: #22
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