Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


Smuggling Cherokee

1.
I unroll my map
And a photocopy
Of the palm of my left hand,
Weigh down the corners with
A fist sized chunk of peach colored flint, a
Barite rose
Some gypsum and
A piece of ruby jack
Then set in to work.

2.
There is a certain art
To a good mistranslation.

3.
I remember rage and impatient violence.
These days
I’m more likely
To pile river rocks in the bathtub
For love of smooth things
Things as edgeless as I can have them.

4.
The man asks me
“Do you speak Cherokee”
But it’s all I ever speak
The end goal of several generations of a
Smuggling project.
We’ve slipped the barriers
Evaded border guards.
I smile,
“Always.”

Credit


From Smuggling Cherokee (Greenfield Review Press, 2006). Copyright © 2006 by Kim Shuck. Used with the permission of the author.

Author


Kim Shuck

Kim Shuck was born in San Francisco, California, and is a member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma. She received a BA in Art and an MFA in Textiles from San Francisco State University. Shuck is the author of Deer Trails, forthcoming from City Lights Books in October 2019), Clouds Running In (Taurean Horn Press, 2014), Rabbit Stories (Poetic Matrix Press, 2013), and Smuggling Cherokee (Greenfield Review Press, 2005), as well as of the chapbook collection Sidewalk Ndn (FootHills Press, 2018). In 2019, Shuck was named an Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellow. She currently works at the California College of Art in the Diversity department and serves as the poet laureate of San Francisco, California.

Date Published: 2019-08-27

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/smuggling-cherokee