Indigenous Elvis at the Airport

Indigenous Elvis works security:
Chief Joseph hair, blue-black and pomped,
turquoise and shell dangling from one ear,
silver chunks of rings on every bronze knuckle.
 
Indigenous Elvis works security:
X-ray glances at your backpacks,
laptops, empty still-moist shoes.
 
Indigenous Elvis waves me to his line.
A perfect gentlemen at all times,
gingerly lifting my naked phone,
holding the line as I return my computer
and extra undies to my briefcase.
 
Next line, next flight, Indigenous Elvis eases in
too close, asks, "Where you headed
this time?"
Subtle tango, I lean away, wondering what it is
he saw first gave me away—
My beaded barrettes in their travel case?
A slight turn to my eyes?
 
Oh, mortification when I get him!
Indigenous Elvis, at security, a third time.
He lifts my carry-on,
maneuvers my hand, gestures me close to ask,
"How is my sweetheart?"
Then against my neck, so my hairs rise
with his sight, "How’s my sweetheart doing … 
your sister … ?
... the one that got away."

Heid E. Erdrich, "Indigenous Elvis at the Airport" from Cell Traffic. Copyright © 2012 by Heid E. Erdrich.  Reprinted by permission of University of Arizona Press.
Source: Cell Traffic: New and Selected Poems (University of Arizona Press, 2012)
More Poems by Heid E. Erdrich