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Sunday, November 18, 2012

Indian or Indian?

I peered at the newly unfolded paper in front of me
"It says Indian, French Canadian, German, and Polish"

My friend looked at me
"Indian with a feather, or with the dot?"

I look at the paper again
"I don't know
And, that's kind of rude"

He asks me, taking another swig of our cheap beer

"The 'feather or dot' thing
That's what"

He belches in response, adding
So what do you think?
You don't look part Indian from India
Or American Indian
Which do you suppose they mean?"

I didn't know then
And I don't know now
Nor will I probably ever

The folded piece of paper
So fresh and new twenty years ago
Is now flattened and in a file folder
Occasionally taken out and looked at

The same question pondered again and again
That small bit of information given by The Friend of The Court
A pedigree paper of non-identifying information
Making more questions appear than it had expelled

Given that I had been adopted in 1971
The word 'Indian' leads me to think Native American
As that would still have been in fashion to say
But what do I know?

I'm just the guy who paid twenty-five dollars to the court
For a piece of paper
That told me everything that was on my birth certificate
Plus the fact of my birth mother's and father's ages
18 and 19 respectively at the time of my birth

The news that they had both been in college at the time
And that laundry list of ingredient-like nationalities
That are the recipe of my genetic heritage

More is not for me to know
As the simple question of
"Where did I come from"
Is sometimes too simple
And too complicated
To ever be answered