I Was Not Supposed to Remember
the smell of geraniums
what perfume penetrates nostrils not grown
from a bottle ‘n’ mother’s wrists ‘n’ just a dab
behind each ear I was not supposed to remember her ears
like mine, the earlobe without lobe really
the mole that marked her
I was not supposed to remember being she
the daughter of some other Indian some body some where
an orphaned child somewhere somebody’s
cast-off half-breed I wasn’t
supposed to remember the original rape.
I wasn’t supposed to remember
my whitedaddy and baby’s cry
my white father’s own orphanhood.
I was never to see my self reflected
in the cold steel frightened fluttering
I was not intended
to marry that man.
I am a woman, childless
and I teach my stories to other
childless women and somehow
the generations will propagate and prosper
and remember pre-memory
remember rose gardens thorn-pricked thumbs digging
into well-watered southern california soil kissing
the edge of steaming black-top
what is there left to remember
of those days
what is there left
to dirt How is it I remember
dirt when I grew up on asphalt?
How is it dirt means so much to me?
What is there to remember in a tree?
I, thoroughly hybrid
"Yaquioakie" holds all the world
I knew as it shaped my abuela’s lips
calling in my breed-brother
sandy wool y pelos de indio
bent over bowls of albóndigas soup.
Mongrel is the name
that holds all the animal I am.
My legs split open straddling
the examination table she tells me
your fibroid ain’t no watermelon
just the size of a small navel orange
and I consider this sphere of influence
steadily growing behind my own navel
little satellites of smaller fibroids
floating inside its citric orbit.
I imagine the color/the taste of fruit/the bitterness
of peel and pleasure there is pleasured familiarity
as she moves her dark safe-sexed-gloved hand
up inside me a lesbian gesture
I, a lesbian monster
she recommends hormones
have you always been this hairy
yes, I say, I remember since I became a woman
with hair lots of it does that make a woman
or a lesbian
or an animal?
which brings me back to mongrel
and the hybrid sheep-goat I saw
in a magazine once
with pitiful pleading eyes
trying to bust out
of her genetically altered face
and I saw my face in there
no matter how much I am loved
no matter how much woman
I am no matter how many women
hold and suck me
I am mirrored in those pitiful
product of mutation