I was thinking about the various poems I've been mentioned in, from strictly amateur rhymes to 'real' poet's work, so emailed Judy Fitzpatrick and asked her for this one:
Ms. Kendall explains my mustache to Kareem
Three times you mention
the hair on my upper lip.
Ms. Kendall has an answer.
“We are close to the animals,” she says.
“That’s why we look like them.”
It is like her to tell you such things.
At seven years old you know this:
it is a teacher’s job to teach.
When I introduce you to my father-in-law,
you pose, arms laced across your chest, shoulders bare.
Your young Native man’s face engaged
in the formal business of family presentations.
I explain our connection.
“You like me because I tell you stories?” you ask.
“No,” I answer. “Because you are nice.”
“Both,” you say.
The handsome Coville storyteller speaks to your class
and I stand beside him.
Hands fly, tongues wag, heads shake.
You see us together and ask, “Is he your husband?
You go together. You look the same.”
The storyteller has a thin, downy strip outlining his upper lip.
We are both dark.
We are both tall.
He is Rainbow Cougar
made from colors and strength.
I am a new name in the process of being born.
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PLZ LEEVE A MEZZAGE KTHNXBAI