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Native Woman

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Her hair back from the wide round face
flows, almost a girl’s, so thick,
caught back in combs, racing
and curling through them with blackest
vigor, although it is pure white.
Cracked face, dusk-colored: not red
but with a deep red struggling under
the coming night. The eyes shift quickly,
the subway train jerks and rattles,
green vinyl, light flickering, silver poles.
Eyes driven from ancient calm,
which may fear but is never frantic
and says nothing, such as looks out
from the old Indian portraits—calm is
the one thing missing from the beauty
of her face in the black window.
Those unresting eyes there
talk plainly: there’s no money
at home, men young and old go wrong,
life almost at its end is
still day by day harried and perplexed.

Albert Frank Moritz, “Native Woman” from The Ruined Cottage (Toronto: Wolsak and Wynn, 1993). Copyright © 1993 by Albert Frank Moritz. Reprinted with the permission of the author.
Source: The Ruined Cottage (Wolsak and Wynn, 1993)
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Native Woman

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