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Nicole Wallace

(c) Aslan Chalom

 

MY GIRL, MY GIRL

named after a street
conceived after a kegger

the further away we get

this fine dark

hair curls

to ringlets

makadewidibe

this fire

pulled from the river

gichiziibi omaa
omaa gakaabikaang

nicole is not who i thought she was

and i don’t yet know the word for

gaawiin mashi ingekenimaasii nimbaabaa

i just laid on the floor for a while
the problem is i can do whatever i want
and i’m not supposed to know how to say i don’t know in the first place

let the wind in
on nights like this

illusion

of clouds moving through the sky

nothing more lonesome than that
lonesome fucking dutch painting
you loved so much

her hair

next to our bed

do you like conflict?

let it in

this humidity

look at at the lights come down
through the trees, my girl

the way it looks pink and gray

between the sun and this morning on wyckoff

this exhaust

how do you say: the flowers fell from the trees?

be more specific

my girl,
learn your grammar

my girl, my girl
i am learning i say

o g i n i i w a a n d e g

pink roses on the pillowcase

good fortune comes
it comes and comes

and i don’t know what’s good for me

but oh so deeply

elemental pressures
beautiful stones

the strength card comes up

it says: take the lion by its face, my girl

learn your grammar

look down into its eyes, down into it

a p a n e a p a n e a p a n e inde’izhiwijigaade

and i want to get on top

but i am just so tired

let the wind brush over it
bad judgment comes and comes my girl you are learning
what it means:

waabigwaniin gii-pangisinoon mitigoog

when the flowers fall from the trees

gisinaa omaa miinawaa / /

noodinag

this cold snap

it’s a myth, laura says
the smell of $6 shirts

the light coming down
through the trees the grass

nicole is not who i thought she was

my girl all this green ozhaawashkwaawizi

indaa

(First published by Lit Hub)

 

 

Nicole Wallace is a poet and Managing Director of The Poetry Project. She is a 2019 Poets House Emerging Poets Fellow, and her first chapbook, WAASAMOWIN, is forthcoming from Imp (2019). Recent work can be read online at A Gathering of the Tribes and LitHub, where her poems were featured as a part of the “New Poetry by Indigenous Women” series curated by Natalie Diaz. She is a part of the Anishinaabeg hand drumming group Nishnaabekwewag Negamonid and a member of the Indigenous Womxns Collective NYC. Originally from Gakaabikaang, located in what is currently called Minnesota, she is a descendent of the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa (Ojibwe) and is of mixed settler/European ancestry.

See full list of 2019 Emerging Poets Fellows