Millissa Kingbird (Anishinaabe) holds a Master of Fine Arts in Poetry from Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, NM. She writes poetry and the occasional lyric essay focusing on womanhood, bodies, nature, and trauma. She has been published in Hinchas de Poesia, Yellow Medicine Review, Red Ink, Connotations Press, and The Rumpus. When not writing poetry, she sells seashells by the lakeshore—or works in a pawn shop.
So Much the Body
Earth firms up clay struck, red feet, & you
with moth teeth slick tongue slipped in the
moon of two colors.
Crash into the water that is at once blue
______A white boy brushes your hair
hands trapped in the darkness of you—
admires & then consumes.
______You allow this.
At home, you douse a fire
& your overgrown bones delicately shake;
you keep the temperature down
to cool your collection of books.
Dad said all the hippies wannabe Indian
with fury in the blue of his eye
lean into the warmth of his left behind rage,
______shove it between your ribs.
A spider clenches its legs together
fallen, unexpected, stunned.
Never really knew the heat of other people was that damp,
______tossed into the wet
You were born hungry
& you couldn’t drink milk
& she combed the city for that shit you could have.
You grew up wrong, maybe.
That’s why the man grasped you
& you shook him off & pitied his soft hands.
The slope of his jaw,
blind teeth in battle—
bite meets cheek, tear streaks
a dirt path between tall pines.
You’re just mad—
shut off the light.
__________Hum calm to the scars you call your wrists.