I Found Myself On a Dirt Road (poem)

I Found Myself On a Dirt Road (poem)

I Found Myself On a Dirt Road
Gabriel Duncan, 18
Monday June 27, 2005

When I was born
They scattered my pieces
And took away the first thing I saw
When I was born
I was given a costume and an understudy
I was given my last request
I was given vanity, money and the chance I never had
When I was born
I was given all these things
And the wind blew the rest away

My pieces left numbers
And whispered in my ear
My pieces would visit with me
Leave songs in my dreams
My pieces showed me my reflection
In a mirror of flame
And when I was alone
My pieces touched me so hard
Sometimes I bled

The ones that didn’t come
I found in places like Winnemucca, Nevada
All sun and dirt and glass, printed on shirts
Inside a white-woman’s “authentic Indian” shop
I found pieces in the place I was born
My legal identity, a nine-digit number
And the stories I’d heard so many times
They just became stories and not the truth
There were lots of pieces like those
One piece they gave me raped me
Tried to make me all the same
But those weren’t my pieces

I walked around for a long time
Picking up the pieces
And turning them over in my hands
Looking for my name on the bottom
If it was my piece
I put it in my heart
And walked on

My feet stepped
One in front of the other
Following as best as they knew how
Followed out into the desert
Where the call was loudest

Followed
Until I was lost
Wandering
Looking for my way home

Then I found myself
Staring at me
Under the desert moon
On a dirt road
In Benton