Check your assumptions at the door
of this Place. If you want them back,
Think twice before you enter.
A young Enrolled Blackfeet, six foot four
Wisdom behind his easy manner. His features,
Asiatic, I would not have guessed
save for his words.
We traded stories, walking through the twilight
of an Upper Midwest town
Life on “the Rez” for him; for me, growing up
in a former Spanish/U.S. colony
in Southeast Asia.
Lalo’s passion, rooted in Mexico
and South Texas
It crosses many borders; in its wide embrace
are children from Central America
following the Death Train’s tracks
Indigenous people in this Upper Midwest town
hearts yet bound to the Land
of which they were once a part.
All are Family, blood-ties or no. All are
In deep soul-stretching waters
An epiphany struck me like a wave:
I knew the answer
to a 30-year old question!
In a country spanning the spectrum
from milk white
to Aboriginal black
I, a lighter-skinned Mestiza, the object of stares.
Was it aspiration in their eyes?
Or, worse yet — servility?
I still can’t quite describe
the looks, the unspoken conclusions
I so resented
But now I know Why.
What will you do with your assumptions
when we depart this Place?
I plan to leave a few behind
and travel home lighter.
© 2017 Dorothy Long Parma