- Coming Back Round
First grade and the nun tells us to sit indian-style in a circle upon a rust scrap of nylon rug— children dash to find a spot that is not stained drop down playing dead— then we situate ourselves negotiating space. I try to claim my territory in her blindspot that way I can wiggle all I want to make faces at her safe in my allotment.
She bawls at us sit still keep our hands in our laps and pay attention while my mind rides a horse kicking dust: I'm no longer in my plaid green jumper and white pressed shirt no longer in my itchy socks— my two braids unravel. [End Page 121]
I think of the day he joined our class when they laughed at his long, thick braid (while I secretly loved it and mine) mocked his name Sol (while I danced in it) and sneered the morning he came to the circle with his hair cut short— Sister Clairine thought it best he fit in now a citizen of the group
Order makes us closer to god. I'm corralled into the present with her shots to tame down find myself in Angel of God he alongside me in unison each tilling our space showing her we're farmers of prayer planting ever this day be at my side amidst our shame. I'll never know if he cried when the blade hit if he knew that I'd give him mine if I could everyday sitting indian-style living our parceled lives.
Molly McGlennen is mixed-blood (Anishinaabe, French, Irish), born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She is presently the Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Native American Studies at Vassar College; in fall 2008, she will begin her position as Assistant Professor of English at Vassar. She received her PhD in Native American studies from University of California, Davis, in 2005, with her dissertation work on contemporary indigenous women’s poetry. She also earned her MFA in Creative Writing from Mills College in 1998. Her poetry has appeared in such journals as Frontiers, Shenandoah, and Atlantis and in the anthology Genocide of the Mind: New Native American Writing.