Reorienting the Gaze

HM is an Egyptian Anthropology undergraduate student in Toronto. She’s recently been especially interested in exploring mediums that exist unbounded by elitist walls, to express her frustrations with dominant representations of colonized people in general, and fellow Muslim women in particular. To this end, she’s excited to experiment with After Effects and Photoshop to create art imagining the decolonial.

Reorienting the Gaze Bibliography

1941 Manchester Evening News front page reporting capture of Benghazi, Libya. Digital Image. Alamy

“Ancient Egyptian Music – Pharaoh Ramses II.” Youtube video, 4:18, Posted by “Derek Fiechter,” Posted Jan 11, 2014,

Borges, Samuel. Young black / african american business woman using binoculars, isolated on white background. Digital Image. Shutterstock. young-black-african-american-business-woman-134527640.

“Cairokee – Dinosaur (Official Music Video) / ﻛﺎﯾﺮوﻛﻲ – اﻟﺪﯾﻨﺎﺻﻮر .” Youtube video, 4:22, Posted by “CairokeeOfficial,” Posted Jul 27, 2017, v=_4zeNNSManE.

Clark, Timothy. 2013. US Politics New York Mayor Sex. Digital Image. Gettyimages.

“Destination North Africa | National Geographic.” Youtube video, 5:06, Posted by “National Geographic,” Posted Aug 26, 2010,

“Edward Said explains Orientalism in 5 minutes.” Youtube video, 6:45, Posted by “Noam Chomsky Videos,” Posted Apr 3, 2013,

FRONT PAGE: ‘I CAN ONLY SEE HER EYES’. Digital Image. Paperboy https://

Lehnert, Rudolf and Franz Landrock. 1998. Orient 1904-1930. Umschau Braus.

Messara, Mohamed. 2011. Battle in Sirte. Digital Image. European Pressphoto Agency. http://

“Plane overhead sound effect.” Youtube video, 0:26, Posted by “Jojikiba,” Posted Nov 5, 2011,

Pratt, Leslie. 2008. MQ-1 Predator unmanned aircraft. Digital Image. US Air Force photo

“President’s wife makes radio address to Afghan women.” Youtube video, 2:35, Posted by “AP Archive,” Posted Jul 21, 2015,

“The Oppositional Gaze.” Youtube video, 3:30, Posted by “Akeem Muhammad,” Posted Apr 20, 2015,

The wars on Iraq and Libya: Front pages from 2003 and 2011. Digital Image. Indymedia

“TOP10 GLITCH Sound Effect [High Quality].” Youtube video, 0:28, Posted by “Sound Effects,” Posted May 29, 2016,

“ ﻣﺎﺟﺪ اﻟﻌﯿﺴﻰ – ھﻮاﺟﯿﺲ | Majedalesa – Hwages.” Youtube video, 2:52, Posted by “majedalesa | ﻣﺎﺟﺪ اﻟﻌﯿﺴﻰ,” Posted Dec 23, 2016,




Pamela K. Santos

The sagittarius

A storm broke
waves / winds / wars         parted
An idea was born
in a womb    that was
also             a                golden cage
Who knows the color of ideas         that never had
                      a first name?
The idea cracked open into       7,000 shell
pieces       One               flew on Delta wings
to a city with      an apple    for    a heart
and       trains for veins
The idea grew fat on corner shawarma
checked           looked at me the wrong way attitudes
with gold     block heavy Timbs

You’d think this idea had B.D.S.

Better yet
                   Let’s call this idea

1Baklang: adj. Gay
Dalagang: adj. Young Woman
Suprema: n. Feminized form of Supremo, title used by the head of the Katipunan, a.k.a. Kataas-taasan Kagalang-
galang Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan (literally translates in Tagalog to “Supreme and Most High Society of the
Children of the Nation”). Founded on July 7, 1892, the Katipunan was the secret society that rose out of the anti-
Spanish propaganda movement and characterized by the call for revolution. The time for reformation was over with
the Katipunan’s birth. Its first Supremo was a Sagittarius.

A song of monsoon and blood lava

In the mornings they say the duwendes scatter and descend thence they came
Daytime promises to be safe for bayan-people
The taga-bayan do not have diablos to fear, save
for the manufactured kind propagandized by the colonizers

They say prophecies fall from open mouths of angels
henceforth we dream in one language para magdilang anghel

The kings of five genders will return, once they emerge from The ulterior wombs of bastard saints

The pagbabalik that was prophecied on the wind
            it yowls
            tenses muscles
            plunges a dagger into the salot of
            five          hundred          years          of servitude
(the plague felt like a clot in every artery that contained Indio blood)

All the histories converge upon this single promise

                        We will be free
                        We will be one
                        ! Isang bagsak !

            We pronounce all futures one with ancestral lineage      that crackles and sizzles in fire

Whatever restless obsession has possessed your mind
before, your time to fuck and lick and mouth your
scream of self into the world
            is now

This is your contract with The-Divine

Born in the Philippines and sharpened to a fine Tagalugan steel in Queens, Pamela Kristine Santos is a writer and multidisciplinary artist in the whitest city of America. Pamela co-founded the Winter Poetry Festival and the Bitter Melon collective in Portland, OR. Her curatorial work includes Sari Not Sari, an ongoing installation series of Filipinx diaspora artists in conversation with each other. Her poems have been published in Newtown Literary, Stoked Words anthology (Capturing Fire Press), and Unchaste Anthology Volume 2.

“The Sagittarius” has been previously published in Stoked Words: An Anthology of Queer Poetry from the Capturing Fire Slam & Summit (Capturing Fire Press, 2018).




Alejandra Sanchez

Executioner Park

In my third grade playground, the Trojan Horse was a massive beast made of dark
wood and impenetrable steel.
It had smooth panels of finished oak on its sides and shiny metal rods for handlebars
that led you up the horse’s face, inside its body, through its back, and down its sides.

It was a refuge and a cage.

I remember peering through the eyes  of the Trojan Horse.
My eyes seeing as the Greeks who stormed on Troy—seeing through the colonizer’s

I used to play on the Trojan Horse with Wajma, my best friend from Afghanistan, at our
predominantly white elementary school in La Cañada Flintridge, a very affluent suburb
of Los Angeles.
We were the only brown kids in the whole school.
Wajma was a deep mahogany color and I didn’t know it then, but she was beautiful.

Did I know we were other?
Other did not have a name. I wouldn’t have known how to articulate it then, but when I
recall our musings on the Trojan Horse handlebars—all alone—in an elementary school
of hundreds of kids and more than a handful of teachers, I know we felt that we were
We knew it although we did not understand it.

“When I grow up I want to be rich so I can have an operation to lighten my skin to
white,” Wajma told me as she spun around on the handlebars of the Trojan Horse. The
sun was shining on her face, creating a golden glow around her. She was wearing a
bright yellow dress that fluttered, blending delicately with the sun’s rays each time she
took a spin.
I nodded; I was intrigued. I had never heard of this operation but I knew instantly that I
wanted it.
“After I get the operation I’m gonna dye my hair blonde and buy blue contacts for my eyes,” she told me at the top of her spin.
Wajma stared at something far away.     “I know I’ll be beautiful then,” she said.

I told Wajma that I also hoped to grow up and have enough money to pay for the
expensive operation and dye that would make my skin white and my hair blonde.
I, however, wanted green eyes instead of blue.

. . .

My sixth grade teacher, Mr. Lichtman, told us in class that Verdugo was a Spanish name.

That they, the Verdugos, were a very wealthy Spanish family who had owned a lot of
the La Cañada area during the California missions. He said they were the founders of
this city when it was still just land or “dirt”—as he called it.

I could almost feel my abuela’s disapproving eyes burn into my teacher.
To him and so many, the land and everything else is just dirt—something disposable,
something unclean, something empty. Until a mansion or skyscraper crushes its weight
on top of Her. Until a fist digs down deep to steal the diamonds from Her. Until someone
pays a big price to claim they own Her
Even as a child I knew Mother Earth was not just dirt; She is alive; the land is owner of

Mr. Lichtman told us that the name Verdugo meant “executioner.”
He stood over us tall, lanky, and effortlessly cool in his faded blue jeans. His multi-
colored African print shirt had blue buttons that matched his eyes and shined like silver
bullion when the sunlight came through his classroom window, creating prisms of white
light that glowed around his face.

Mr. Lichtman stretched his tan arms, clasping his fingers on top of his slightly balding
head and sat, leaning his long frame languidly against his sturdy, old oak desk.
“You know the name of this school is “Executioner Woodlands,” he laughed, his mouth
gaped open and wide.

His teeth gleamed ivory and appeared somehow misplaced in his mouth, as if they were
slightly too large and could fall out at any time. I thought of a mouthful of polished,
sharpened bones.

I winced.

Who had the Verdugos executed?
Who had they murdered?
How did they—these Executioners—take this land?
How was it that my school was named after these murderers?                  How was it that
these Verdugos—these Executioners—had so much power?

.   .   .  

My grandfather sat on the grass, leaning against a tree at the sixth grade awards
ceremony for Verdugo Woodlands. The ceremony was held a couple blocks from school
at Verdugo Park.

I was awarded Best Sixth Grade Story Writer.

“Who’s that old man?” I heard the kids from my school ask each other. “Probably a bum,” one kid answered. They all laughed.
My grandfather, who worked fourteen-hour days for seventy-five out of his eighty-eight
years of life, had fallen asleep in his brown workman’s shirt, against a sturdy oak tree.

Mi abuelo, my huito.

Who was always the one to lift the heavy boxes, to put his back into it.

Who came to this country legally as a Bracero then got deported anyway.

Who walked back across the border, “cuándo la frontera era nomás una línea de tierra,”  
with only seven dollars in his pocket.

My huito.

Who worked and worked, and then worked some more.

Enough to raise eleven kids and a fatherless nieta, his little leona—me.

Who held the silence of his disappointment and anger at his unmarried daughter —who
should have been a good Catholic girl but got pregnant.
Who, a whole year later, broke his silence when he saw the ojitos of his beautiful baby granddaughter.  

Mi querido abuelito.

Who worked enough to eventually become his own boss, selling Mexican goods
to stores and restaurants. Who later became the owner of his own
restaurant, his own house and apartment buildings.

But not before he worked for the railroad, worked as a gardener, worked as a cook, a
busboy, a construction worker; he worked with calloused hands, worked building things
for other men—men who did not build anything themselves, but kept everything.

Abuelo tren, quien carga la historia.

Who would lift more than his own weight with his five-foot tall frame, his childhood
and posture stunted by backbreaking labor since the age of eight.

Whose own father did not claim him, abandoning him and his mother, while she was still

Whose mother burned to death when her reboso caught fire while warming tortillas over
an open hearth when he was an infant.

No hay vida sin trabajo y no es buen trabajo si no tiene vida, he would tell us. There is
no life without work and it’s not good work unless it has life.

My grandfather, raised by his grandparents and his Madre Isabel (who was really his
aunt), was the only father I had ever known.

He drove me to school, picked me up, sang to me, was silent with me, danced with me,
and called me Estefana, Leona, Reyna. My papi, who snuck me pan dulce and bottles
of ¡Caramba! Mexican soda from his tortilla truck and fed me delicate morsels of food,
especially prepared for him by my grandmother, that always tasted better from his plate.

I told them I did not know who he was.

.   .   .  

The one bedroom apartment I lived in with my mother was so tiny compared to the
immense houses—the ones with more rooms than I could count—where my white
schoolmates lived.

Their houses were the way a home should look, the way mine did not.

White and gold with sprawling driveways, like streets unto themselves. Huge, stone
steps counted the way to massive, heavy doors with immovable iron locks. These
houses in the hills far away from mine lit up with flickering lights that shined upon a
scene I could never really touch. Like families with wide-toothed smiles on 1980’s TV

Families that woke up in the morning and had orange juice, milk, fruit, and waffles.

Families that had fathers. Fathers who kissed their little girls good night.

These families never had to worry.

Never had to put groceries back after flashing red lines lit up the cashier’s screen with a price that tells you and everyone:     

You don’t have enough.
You                                         are not enough.

. . .

the braid of my hair
this is my history
I am conquered and conqueror.       Indian and Spanish.
Territory and the foot that marks it.
I am all of these things                and beyond.
I am the cool, clear, flowing river           I jump into.
Where the river becomes raging, rushing rapids
then intersects with a deep pool of serene blue.
I am the story constantly   unfolding
the reflection of stars                 that are my past,    are my present,       are my future
are in the cellular makeup of me.
The ancestors that live in my hair
the dream I am dreaming,
the flower I am blooming,
the beauty I am opening                 crimson, amber, violet,                   petaled to the earth

contributing to a cycle         that is much larger   than the flower,         much larger than the bee   who drinks its nectar,
the passerby             who admires its beauty,
the one          who plucks it,
and the withering                 that eventually and inevitably                    takes it
back, back, back      
into the earth,                     
all                       over                            again

. . .

Everyone was supposed to bring food for a special event at Verdugo Woodlands
Elementary School that was called, “International Day.”
All parents were invited to participate in the event. Although my family owned a Mexican
restaurant, I did not want to bring Mexican food. I pleaded with my mother not to, but she insisted.
My mom went to school and dropped off chips, beans, and salsa from the restaurant. I did not tell my classmates.
Later, my fifth grade teacher, Mr. Gould, commented about it in class. “Someone brought beans and some goood chips,” he said.
That’s how he said it. He stretched out the word good as if his mouth was savoring the
taste of each delectable chip, made from real, handmade corn tortillas and fried in a big
ollafilled with hot manteca that crackled and spat, until the chips grew tiny bubbles of heat and became hot, crispy, and delicious.

A thousand-year old recipe of ground corn, Maize.

It was an affirmation. It was as if my teacher had whispered into my ear that I was okay
somehow, and that the whole school liked Mexican food, Mexican people, and me—
even though so many other things told me otherwise.
I smiled brightly at Mr. Gould and felt secretly proud all day.
When I got home I hugged my mother tightly and told her how happy I was that she
brought our food to International Day.

“Alex, have you heard that joke about the white guy, the black guy and the Mexican?”
“My name is Alejandra, not Alex.”
“Ale-john-dra? That’s too hard. Alex is waaay better.”
“No,” I answered. I looked down at my feet. “I haven’t.”

I was wearing the almost new white high-top Reeboks that my mom had bought me. I had just polished them with stinky white shoe polish that morning that had made me lightheaded. But I didn’t care as long as they looked brand-new.
They were gleaming.

“Ok, so there’s these three guys on a plane. One’s white, one’s black, and one’s a
Mexican. So the plane starts running out of fuel and they’re all like, ‘What’re we gonna
do? We need to lighten the load or we’re going down!’
So the black guy starts throwing out suitcases from the plane, one after the other. Then
the white guy asks him, ‘Hey man what’re you doing?’
The black guy tells him, ‘It’s okay man, we have more clothes at home.’
The white guy thinks about it and says, ‘Oh yeah.’
Meanwhile, the Mexican gets scared and kneels down and starts to pray with his eyes
All of a sudden the white guy grabs the Mexican and throws him off the plane and he
says to the others, ‘It’s okay man. We have way too many of those wetbacks at home!’’

Each time my classmates looked me in the eye and swore their “jokes” were funny.
They said these “jokes” to me all the time.
Along with the questions: Are you Spanish? Do you speak Mexican?

I knew that I was not Spanish and did not speak Mexican.
I knew that Mexican was a nationality and not a language. I knew that Spanish was a
language that Mexicans spoke. I knew that Spanish people were from Spain and I was
I tried to explain this. My classmates did not seem to understand.
After a while it just became easier to say, yes, when asked if I was Spanish and, no,
when asked if I spoke Mexican. After all, it was partly true.

And it seemed to sit better with them when I was something they could get a handle on;
when I was whoever they needed me to be.
They needed the box, the categories, the rigid straight lines when all I imagined were

. . .

the language of my mother rolls
off my tongue              into  a crescendo               of silver waves
the push and pull                 of my tongue                        
against the roof   of my mouth
this hum         of sound        and the feeling it evokes
a song     of swaying palms and rolling rrrr’s

Something I remember
as old as my blood   and the memory locked within     
the depths of the first water
      and    the way I feel at times that this same tongue—
the colonizer’s tongue—
is something I have to swallow
                       have to bite down on this bloodied tongue—
              chew it up
spit it out
        make it palatable
make it presentable
 and formulate my thoughts
into nice                                 straight                                   lines.

Lines that are already marked and cut out for me.
Lines, that if I don’t fit into them
I will cease to exist
in                                                     one part of the world.

Lines, that if I don’t fit into them

one part of me

will cease to exist

in                                             every part of the world.

. . .

The universe at the Griffith Park Planetarium looks like a million threads of light tossed
in an infinite arc up into the night sky      and spread out across the curve of existence.

Looks like Grandmother Spider’s massive web that She has been weaving since the
beginning of time.  

Looks like light and possibility behind my eyes closed.           

Looks like dreaming.                                   Like space and time being
folded,  and  unfolded,        over and over,                       faster  and faster    
until it becomes a tiny,   fluttering,    silver origami       
that is held within the hands of something bigger,         something greater.
Something omnipotent.                  

Not seen through eyes because the eyes
are just a tiny part of it.

Looks like lines, even.

Lines that I can draw and create.
Lines to recreate my own picture, my own silhouette
that can be stretched and formed            
to create        circles.
Sacred circles of tightly woven light
where I am safe,  I am beautiful,  and I am loved

Alejandra Sanchez writes with the intention of global and personal healing, working for the rights of Mother Earth, indigenous lifeways, and Mother Water. Her work has been featured in the independent film, I Stare At You and Dream, KPFK’s Pacifica Radio, Radio Sombra’s Red Feminist Radio, Mujeres De Maiz, La Bloga, UCLA Young Writers Anthology, Hinchas de Poesia, Duende Literary Journal, Latino/a Rising: An Anthology of Speculative Fiction and PBS Newshour’s Where Poetry Lives. She earned an MFA in Creative Writing at Antioch University, Los Angeles and is a professor of English and Chicanx Studies in San Diego, California.




Steven Alvarez

yr Polis A citizens | denizens

0:02they settled
0:05five days of the final status
0:09september |
0:10slept right there in front of .r…s.a..t | sun seven fifteen if that pink
0:21it’s not abt making yr polis | this |
0:23& report not included
0:26& out of the no | fly list
0:28citizens of Polis A . . .
0:29scene not away their obsidian wafers
0:33stuff like that
0:34trying to do what we are not allowed to come
0:38firing off my lifestyle | stealing our data
0:41ha | ha Polis B | animals |
0:42no historians |
0:43for these are Polis A citizens of yr Polis A championship
0:49issued from former democratic fight hackers our precious Polis A children
0:55before we think we have to have a v. appealing . . .
0:59situated dehumans who harvest data for the best friend people in the world is
1:00our Polis A will build a goddamned datawall

yr Polis A partners in papers

farmer look at this
                                                          1:15we used
to all harshly
                                                          1:17now we
got rent | walls | data
secretary of labor looked at the Polis B
migrant plight & sd
                                                          1:24i think
that the interface is the greatness is what
we have called it
Polis B
our data
cried out  
& their children & their lives entitled

assistance | entitled
                                                            1:42& whom
the quite fascinating
president of the Polis A data bureau
federation the largest farmers
ion as
                                                            1:52we think
those social workers wd agree that it’s
better for denizens to be employed
                                                            1:58even if
their capacity of salt shows

yr combo we took the Polis A position

Steven Alvarez is the author of The Codex Mojaodicus, winner of the 2016 Fence Modern Poets Prize. He has
also authored the novels in verse The Pocho Codex (2011) and The Xicano Genome (2013), both
published by Editorial Paroxismo, and the chapbooks, Tonalamatl, El Segundo’s Dream Notes (2017,
Letter [r] Press), Un/documented, Kentucky (2016, winner of the Rusty Toque Chapbook Prize), and Six
Poems from the Codex Mojaodicus
(2014, winner of the Seven Kitchens Press Rane Arroyo Poetry
Prize). His work has appeared in the Best Experimental Writing (BAX), Berkeley Poetry Review, Fence,
Huizache, The Offing, and Waxwing. Follow Steven on Instagram @stevenpaulalvarez and Twitter




Sarah Sgro

Upon Inspection of These Sanctifying Portraits

firstly I would like to sever             every metaphor           in which my body is a meal

my breasts are not bread         or anything a man would like to break             & spread

I am no vessel            for the butter in your mouth            I have never salivated

at the legend of my breasts upon a plate          paint my body               & you’ve made a myth

of all its elements             I am bored by your belief in purity               as supernatural

hunger is an impulse              that I moderate like any other             reason with your hunger

& you realize it is fear or dehydration    the body is equipped               to handle its starvation

similarly I am satisfied alone             I fall asleep & lose my mind             amid the creamy insides

my thighs emerge              congealed with nectar          from the sun               I was born

with many comforts             instantly a breast inside my mouth          mother-room

which nourished me            yes the supple cord was cleaved                yes I claw the air

when a nipple surfaces in dreams            but I do not desire                what is no longer

affixed to me           if you haven’t filled your body adequately          I am not accountable

for all that space         I am not a still-life         of your hunger         pressed

against the bed          a sharp thing enters         scalpel in my chest     fork between my legs

Sarah Sgro is the author of the full-length collection If The Future Is A Fetish (YesYes Books 2019) and the chapbook Without Them I Am Still A Mother (Letter [r] Press 2017). Sgro earned her MFA in Poetry from the University of Mississippi and is pursuing her Ph.D. in English at SUNY Buffalo, where she studies waste in relation to gender and futurity. She previously served as Poetry Editor for the Yalobusha Review and as an editorial assistant for Guernica, and she currently reads poetry submissions for Muzzle. Her work appears in BOAAT, Cosmonauts Avenue, The Offing, and other journals.




Cara Mumford

The Ceremony

Sage sat on the floor in front of the sacred sand scrolls for the first time. In all of the years that she had attended ceremonies, this was her first time seeing the scrolls. She was excited, nervous. She had finally given her tobacco to show her intention to be initiated into the lodge. She hoped she wouldn’t do something wrong, drawing attention to herself and disappointing the members of the lodge. Focus, became the overriding thought in her head as she reined in her wandering mind. Sage focused again on the scrolls. The first elder stepped up, pointer in hand. Sage leaned forward to listen, and he began to speak in Anishinaabemowin, the language of the ceremony, the language that Sage barely knew. He spoke rapidly and at length in the language and Sage thought, this is the cosmic joke, isn’t it? I finally receive the teachings but I won’t understand a word. Inside, she laughed, while outwardly she watched the elder, followed the pointer, and reached around her mind desperately trying to fill in the gaps of her lack of language.

Finally, the first elder was finished and the head woman of the lodge stepped up to give her teaching, partly in English. Sage listened to the elder speak with relief, eager for the teachings but savoring the sound of her voice. Sage would love to hear her speak every day. Then the head woman’s teaching was finished, and elder after elder stepped up to deliver their own understandings of the teachings. Sage found her eyes drawn to some of the other women’s ribbon skirts. She fingered the fabric of her own plain and patched skirt and thought she should try and find some way to adorn it. Focus, she thought.

They sat in the middle of a round building with glass windows in the curved walls, lush grass and dense trees visible outside, with the ground sloping down to a rushing river on one side. A massive skylight was in the centre of the ceiling, ablaze with the colours of the setting sun. Sage sat on the wooden floor, smooth with age. Some of the other initiates were on the floor with her; others sat in chairs. Sage’s eyes followed the point at the end of the talking stick that the elders used to indicate specific section of the scrolls as they spoke. Sometimes they spoke in English, sometimes in Anishinaabemowin. Now that Sage was an initiate, she felt a push to learn more of the language. How much was she missing out on because it didn’t translate fully, the connections revealed by the language were severed by English.

Then they were told about the gifts that they would need to make for other member of the lodge as part of their initiation. Sage tried to imagine what materials she might use, what items she could make. She had no beads, or enough fabric left to make anything she considered traditional. “It is about the intention,” one of the elders said. Sage thought of her wild art, as she called it, her sculptures created from found objects and gifts from nature—grungy, dark, and symbolic. Would they do?

After the sand scroll teachings concluded, the initiates were taught one song. They would have to remember the melody and the Anishinaabe words to sing the song for the entire lodge during the next round of ceremonies. The drum kept the rhythm, a helper carefully pouring water onto the hide to keep it from drying. Sage felt her lips, remembering the feel of the water she had sipped earlier, losing her place in the song. She had to listen to the others for a moment before she could find her way back in. As she grew more confident in the words she was saying, her voice became strong and loud, as if her throat had never been dry from lack of water.

After they had been gifted with their new song, the members danced out of the lodge. It felt good to be standing after sitting all day long. The drum once again set the rhythm for the dancers, matching the rhythm of their hearts, matching the rhythm of every living thing. Sage felt connected to all of the other dancers through that drum, connected to all of creation. She danced towards the east entrance of the lodge, wanting to dance slower, make her steps smaller and smaller so she would never reach the doorway, but she kept pace with the others and danced out of the lodge with them. Ceremonies were over for this summer and would begin again in the fall.

The hologram shut off and the building went dark. Then the tint on the glass transitioned from blackout to clear. Bright daylight streamed in. The hologram’s inner clock seemed to drift further and further from the days defined by the sun, and night was now turned to day. The landscape outside was barren, dust blowing over every surface, the riverbed long dry. Sage’s ears seemed to ring from the silence of the empty room, her eyes squinting in the harshness of the light. She always felt strangely hydrated after a ceremony, though, as if the holographic water was water itself. A sudden melancholy gripped her, as it always did after the ceremony hologram played. Four times a year for the past four years, with Sage looking forward to it more and more each year. How much would her experience change now that she had chosen to become an initiate? She wanted to know now but, of course, would have to wait three months to find out.

Why had she offered her tobacco to become an initiate? She had told herself that it was simply to vary the routine. She had watched the ceremony hologram for four years and she was ready for a change. But deep inside lived a hope that passing through the levels of the lodge might lead her to a portal, a place where she would finally be connected to other people again. There was nothing rational about it but she felt the truth of it deep within her bones. Something had led her to this building four years ago. She was convinced that her future was connected to its past.

Tired as she was, Sage had to check her water-capture devices and collect any water that had accumulated. The building had rainwater collectors built into it, but it rained so rarely and she would need a full canteen after she woke up from her nap. It was time to set out to search for other people again, survivors of this harsh, decaying world. She hadn’t seen another person, a real, flesh and blood person, in over five years, but she never stopped searching. Later today, on her search, she would gather insects for supper and also look for rusted remains from fallen civilizations to incorporate into her ceremonial gifts. She hoped, just maybe, that they might become offerings for a new and better life.

Sage opened the door that led to the entrance, what she thought of as “the hatch” because of its double steel doors with massive latches that effectively kept any dust out of the building. It was amazing, really, because the dust was everywhere else in this world. There, sitting on the floor, was a box. A box that had never been there before. She glanced around the hatch and noticed again the holes in the walls and ceiling that she had once thought were going to shoot lasers at her. Were they another holographic projector? They didn’t look like the projectors inside the main building. She touched the box but it didn’t have what she’d come to think of as the slippery feel of a hologram. It felt real. How did it get there? Even if there were people around, the door was still firmly latched. Could the hatch be some kind of replicator? Triggered by her offering her tobacco? She decided that was the most likely answer. This building was astounding, why should this surprise her?

She finally decided to open the box. Inside were packets of seeds. Seeds for grasses, for trees, for berries, for leeks and fiddleheads and asparagus, for sage, sweetgrass, cedar, and tobacco. Seeds to build a world. Sage fingered the packets in awe and then thought of the lack of water, of any tools to distribute or plant the seeds, and she sat down beside the box of seeds and felt like crying… but she couldn’t afford the water. Just then, the small room filled with whispers in Anishinaabemowin. She listened very carefully and realized with delight and surprise that she could understand the whispers, “In the spring the birds will come, and the rain will follow in summer, but this winter you will dance.”

Cara Mumford (Métis / Chippewa Cree) is a filmmaker, writer, and collaborative artist from Alberta, living in Peterborough, Ontario since 2010. Since becoming a filmmaker in 2006, Cara’s short films have screened regularly at the imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival in Toronto, and toured throughout Australia and internationally with the World of Women Film Festival. She has received industry training through Telefilm Canada (2010/11), Bell Media’s Diverse Screenwriters Program (2012), the imagineNATIVE Film Festival’s Story Lab (2014) & Producer Mini-Lab with Heather Rae (2015), and the National Film Board’s Digital Studio (2016/17). Cara’s work tends to focus on the connections between her identity as an Indigenous woman and living in balance with the land, often incorporating elements such as dance, dreams, and futurisms in her storytelling. She believes that the connection we have with the land today determines the future we have tomorrow.




Kimberly Quiogue Andrews

The Anglo-Saxons Move to Warmer Climes

                                        I am not afraid, and am always ready to do my duty,
                                        but I would like someone to tell me what we are fighting for.
                                       —Arthur Vickers, Sgt, 1st Nebraska Regiment,
                                        Philippine-American War (1899)

Us neither-nors          have always known:

Some stories don’t need            a serial epic.

You want what you want           for wanting’s sake.


Mother, apart from everything, I have gone looking for you, as you must have known and as you must continue to know. The color of searching and also of the darkness is blue, the blue leaves and their bluer underbellies. The blue boat of the coming dawn. Night remains itself, cooler in some places than in others; its generative nature remains also, despite the already-gone quality of starlight.

I have wanted to explain certain things about the difference between the brain and the body. Not that I’m some sort of Cartesian dualist but we also choose neither the shell nor the way in which it is received in the world. Sometimes we think we can hide the body in work. Sometimes the body becomes honored in work, as in “Filipinos are really hard workers.” Oftentimes that honor lies in wait like a cartoon trap covered in leaves. The leaves are blue, or they are ordinary green and brown.

And then the mind works too hard when the body does not have to. When the body, for instance, has been constructed as neutral. When I desired to become more specifically utterable and less like the sound of tides, a mild whoosh, you were alarmed. You disguise your alarm as nonchalance, which exacerbates my generalized anxiety. You say “you’re like barely Filipino, I don’t even feel Filipino” and I want to say “Filipina, mom” but instead both my spellcheck and the strap around my chest draw a bright red line under my torso.

In the end you have nothing for which to answer, as I have been bad at asking. I remain terrified of the ocean and laugh it off by making jokes about the food chain. Something could just straight up eat you, I say, bobbing along. You could just be subsumed and no one would know you were ever there.

Kimberly Quiogue Andrews is a poet and literary critic. She is also the author of BETWEEN, winner of the 2017 New Women’s Voices Chapbook Prize from Finishing Line Press. Her recent work in various genres appears in Poetry Northwest, The Shallow Ends, The Recluse, the Los Angeles Review of Books, ASAP/J, and elsewhere. She lives in Maryland and teaches at Washington College, and you can find her on Twitter at @kqandrews.




Lasya Gundlapudi

What Cleanses Us

Peeling petals from a magnolia before it blooms.  

Cartoons flickering on the screen. Sandalwood smoke begins to burn our lungs. Mama pacing the kitchen, swearing under her breath. “Ayyo, I forgot to light the incense in time.”

Brother forcing open the prayer book, as if cracking the shell of a nut.

Waves of snow like static as we walk to the corner store for Brother’s cigarette. Flinching as he sparks the end of it. “In the snow, tobacco can’t burn you.”

Papa cross-legged and eyes shut tight, unyielding, heedless to Brother’s prayer book flung in corner. Mama’s hand cradling Brother’s soft head, her murmurs. “Do not get irritated, nanna. Let the words float gently to the top of your mind, like water lilies.”

Yanking off my dirt-speckled boots and laying them with care beside the front door. Remembering Mama’s voice. “There are gods in this house, and we invite misery to remind them of the things we walk upon.”

Papa polishing my boots at night, hunched among deep blue shadows. Whispering Thank You only after he falls asleep. 

Crush of pine needles as we follow the pale neighbor boy to a woodland clearing.  “There is still time,” he says, dirt on his elbows, burying a gold-leaf book. “Accept the one true God, and repent.” 

Counting when to stop holding our breath as Mama scrubs the floors with peroxide.

Scratch of Papa’s oil-stained sweater as he carries me, in violet sleep, to bed.

Counting when to stop covering my ears when Papa finds cigarettes flowering in Brother’s laundry basket.

Outside, the faint scent of lavender as Mama calls to the goddess from the open door. Her slender fingers, lights flickering on in the veranda. “Dusk is a time of prayer. We must invite the goddess in like a tea-time guest, into a clean home.”

Mama pointing up to the celestial blue-black. “Do not look when it is new. It will catch your soul on fire.”

Forbiddance from the woodland clearing when Brother looks at the moon. “The neighbor says our souls are already on fire, anyways.” 

Crush of pine needles as I follow Brother to the woodland clearing. His fingernails hitting the dirt, moonlight in his hair, hands straining for the gold-leaf book. “There was something in here about forgiveness, I swear.”

Wiping condensation off dark window glass with my fingertips. Outside in the early frost, Papa turns the key in the ignition for me, his hands chapped.

Waves of snow like static as Brother turns to me, his cigarette extinguished by the falling ice. “Dad’s a dick.” 

Wiping condensation off gold window glass with my fingertips. Outside in the daylight, smoke tumbles out of the Honda, now warm in its belly. Inside, Papa slips back under the blankets. Forgetting to say Thank You.

Brother’s tooth knocked out by Papa’s red slap. My advice to him, to slip it under a clean pillowcase and use the change for fifty-cent candy.

The small dove we squeeze as we bundle magnolias in our hands. Brother says he knows he is troubled but that he is like that crush of petals, soft at the heart of it. 

Sweet burst of fifty-cent candy we buy in violet dusk. Giving what’s left of mine to Brother, who says he never knew the scent of Papa’s sweater.

Angry clink of porcelain over the evening news. Papa silhouetted against golden lamplight, hunched over the sink, washing silently. Mama sobbing in the corner. Thinking of Brother and wanting to remind Papa to be gentle, of how easily these things break. 

“Why does it have to matter to you, any of the shit I’ve done, when all I need to do is repent?” Brother’s crashing voice. Dishes quivering on the counter, bone white and breakable.

Mama finally whispering that things are easier in this land, with its last minute acts of grace. Back home we must face our sins head-on like bulls. “This is why I pray for us. Each of your acts is a weight and each misstep marks you grave bound, in this life and the next.” 

Burning my thumbs on the flame of an oil-soaked lamp Mama says will cleanse our souls.

In the dusty core of a village, past the white schoolhouse and mango groves, a statue wrapped in sandalwood smoke. This is what I glimpse in Mama’s photograph near the altar. “Your grandfather’s love built cities, but he could not always show it to his son.”

Like Papa.

These characters Mama and I have written into our memories, mythic, unbreakable.

Sinking into a steaming bath after the snowstorm, trying to cleanse my memories. But on my eyelids only Brother, standing still in the rustle of snow, flakes on his eyelashes, small against the vast white ocean around us.

“Why won’t you tell him to forgive me the way he forgives you?”    

Sinking deeper, my body a statue wrapped in steaming smoke, holding the power to rewrite everything.

Crush of pine needles. I break dirt under moonlight, and repent.


Lasya Gundlapudi is a Bioinformatics and Creative Writing student at Virginia Commonwealth University, where she is the Editor in Chief of Le Monde, VCU’s Honors College magazine that profiles local artists/bands and surveys student opinion on the best cookies in Richmond. When she’s not writing she’s probably curled up with a cup of chai while watching a particularly intense episode of Jeopardy.





Return to Tibet

“You have taken the land which is rightfully ours. Years from now my people will be forced to live in mobile homes and reservations.  Your people will wear cardigans and drink highballs. We will sell our bracelets by the roadsides. You will play golf and enjoy hot hors d’oeuvres. My people will have pain and degradation. Your people will have stickshifts. The gods of my tribe have spoken. They have said do not trust the pilgrims. And for all of these reasons, I have decided to stop you and burn your village to the ground.”
-Burn Your Village To the Ground, A Tribe Called Red

I want to cry.  I want to call my mom.  But there is no cell service, and what would I say?  In what language would I speak? My entire body is shaking.  I left New York City over 24 hours ago, and have slept only to awaken to my heart slamming my in ribcage, unable to bear this suspension, this away-ness any longer.  Flying at hundreds of miles an hour, I could not reach this moment fast enough. Now that it has arrived, all of my senses are heightened. I realize that I have stopped breathing.  What will happen if I faint? Will this pilot, my fellow passengers know what to do with me? Maybe I can pass it off as altitude sickness. They do not know who I am, and for a brief moment I wish I was someone else.

I am about to enter my homeland for the first time in my life. I am older than twenty and younger than thirty.  It does not matter how I got here, what combinations of institutional funding, months of saving from meager paychecks, visa appointments, background checks, and luck culminated into this moment.  For the first time, I am going to see home with my own eyes. I will greet the gods that live here and protect the land.

I have been to Himalayan areas that may once have been part of Tibet, in histories past or during border disputes when we used to be an empire.  Now I am entering the contemporary borders, such as they are, for the first time. I started from my feverish attempts to rest just before the pilot announced our descent, at least from what I could I decipher from my barely passable Mandarin.  I think my body knew what was happening. Perhaps some ancient genetic material residing in my body awoke for the first time in this life, bringing the rest of me along with it.

My family has only been away for two generations, although if me or my sister have kids it will become three, each birth leading us farther and farther away from the land we come from.  My grandparents remember Pemakoe, where they were born and where they began their lives. My grandfather’s father died somewhere on this land, we don’t know how or where. He escorted my Popo la to Arunachal Pradesh, returned to Tibet, and never came back.

All of the work I have done for Tibet pales in comparison to this impending reunion.  When interviewing for my Chinese visa, I had to give a reason for my application, my desire to visit Tibet.  What I did not say was “I am Tibetan.” I did not say “This is my land. I don’t need a reason.” I did not chronicle for the visa officer the dissonance of watching Tibetans survive in America, entering into exploitive and punishing labor, and knowing that we have a place to belong.  I said that I came to study, and that might have been true.

Having been born in America to a citizen mother and a father who became one before I reached age five, I had never personally known the agony of waiting for a document that would determine my future.  I had only empathized with friends and family, stood in solidarity with people from around the world who felt the impersonal violence of empire. When my turn finally came, I wished I had done more for each of them.

I worried that I would not hear anything at all, would enter into the limbo into which so many stateless people experience.  Given my outspoken politics about Tibetan identity, futures, and communities over the years, I was certain that I had already been branded a troublemaker, blacklisted in some secret way that I could only guess at how to circumvent.  Perhaps my American citizenship won out. Perhaps it was my college degree, or my partial Tibetanness masked by my mother’s last name, given to me because “Tibetans don’t have last names,” a fact which, like Tibetanness itself, turned out to be much more complicated than a single sentence could explain.

My parents were not married when I was born, and when the Dalai Lama visited their college campus for a talk, I was photographed in a group of Tibetan students surrounding him, red-faced and screaming, held by my father.  Tears are still not an unusual reaction to His Holiness by Tibetans of any age.

We have landed.  Seatbelts unbuckle around me, and like so many other times in my life, I hear a flurry of languages that I do not or only partially understand.  I force myself to get out of my chair, file into the line of shuffling people in the aisle.

Tears begin running down my face, and like so many other times in my life, I brush each of them away in hopes that no one will notice.  I put one foot in front of the other, convinced more than ever of the fleeting nature of reality because this cannot be happening, this cannot be how it’s happening.  Why is my return to homeland not more momentous? Can no one around me tell that I am, in this very moment, fulfilling my destiny? Passing the members of the crew, I smile and nod, offering the polite “thank you” in Mandarin, hoping that they don’t notice my accent.  I pinch the myriad required documents between forefinger and thumb and mentally rehearse the Mandarin I will use to the police and military. I have practiced this. It is my turn to exit the plane. I am still crying.

Drawing deep, unsteady breaths, a sound like wind rushing past fills my ears.  Shaking from head to toe, I step onto the ground.

The author is a Tibetan living on Piscataway lands.




Lee Francis 4


Based on a story by Aaron Cuffee, to whom I am forever indebted for friendship and imagination.

When the first ship arrived, I was not surprised.  It was not the first time I had been witness to such an event.  Our prophesies had spoken of this long ago.  When the Sun reached it’s winter zenith, they would cast a shadow upon the land.  And it would be the end of our ways, the end of the seventh generation.

I suppose I mouthed these words seeing that ship upon the horizon.  It was unintentional, rather a reaction from my very core.  It rose up upon my lips, a sort of prayer.  The last rites of a world soon to disappear. 

The ocean moved slowly as it always had since time immemorial.  It’s slow place pulling the ship toward land.  It rested upon the waves, gliding slowly, effortlessly, silently.  I was struck by how little sound it actually made.  I had presumed it would be a noisy thing.  Something that brought doom should.  Something that brought the end of the world should not creep up silently like a shadow.  Or maybe that was the point.  Like the arrival of night – silent, slow, quiet, terrifying.

I was tucked into the shadows though it seemed as if the ship was heading toward me.  Even surrounded by branches, I felt exposed.  There was once a time when I could be invisible without a second thought. I could blend with the wild, become the tree, the rock, the night sky.  But that was long ago. There hadn’t been much of a need for that in my recent memory. Excruciatingly, the ship pointed toward my body, my home.  The home I had always known.

Ancient magic had bound me to this place or perhaps I emerged from the stones, like the long ago people who rose from the below place to walk across the land and learn to be among the gifts from Creation.  I don’t remember my birth, the moment of my creation.

I remember a soft voice.  It was the voice that brought me into this world.  

“You will be the one to keep the stories,” he said.  He was a tall man, with narrow eyes and a broad forehead.  Long hair pulled back tight in a long braid down to his waist.  He wore glasses and his dark grey eyes were so rich, I thought I had emerged into a dense fog.  His face was close to mine. His breath, like sweetgrass. Calming breath. I felt secure in his sight, his gaze, wrapped in a warm blanket.  

“Is that my only purpose?”  I asked, or thought, I was unsure.  I fingered the edge of the table, cold metal against my skin.  A new sensation.

“Yes,” he replied in that soft voice.  A command of sorts. It was the finality of his tone that gave me purpose.  I saw him brush an errant hair from his face. He placed his hands gently on my shoulders and gave small, poignant nod, a half smile, then he disappeared into the light of a long hallway.

I never saw him again.

Memories clustered like ripe raspberries in my hands.  I felt I must push them into my mouth, one after the other, till I was full to burst.  My hands, teeth, stained red and sticky. Memory sticky. This was who I was: the berry picker, the open mouth, drowning in summer-sweet songs, violence, tears, trials, loss, life, emptiness.

This is what I knew the most.  Emptiness. A long silence. An endless void.  Perhaps this was not always the way it was, but it had been this way for so long, it was hard to place the last moments of anything.  This is the problem with stories: they exist beyond linear time, a time that we can understand as a tangible thing. Stories exist beyond that, in space-place.  In the dreaming. In the bright high clouds and the pinpoints of light in the night sky, forever changing, being, dying. But stories are formless, there are no hand holds, nothing to fill the pockets, nothing to touch.  Stories cannot comfort you at night, hold you when you are dying, whisper hope in your ear. They are the scattered remnants of knowledge, confetti of thought, packaged and encapsulated in a discernible pattern but ultimately a set of ones and zeroes, infinitely recoding.

The shade from the great ship touched the edge of the shoreline then moved no further.  I waited for a sound, a sign, a signal that I had been seen. I waited for minutes, hours, days.  The waves continued their endless push and pull. The sky was still. I did not move. Neither did the ship.

I remembered another ship that took me across the ocean many years ago.  Or was it my best friend they took? Or a neighbor boy from down the road?  Perhaps it was the story of a stranger. That ship was bright and friendly. The ocean a calm bed that lulled us all to sleep night after night listening to the rush and splash of water cascading around the mighty hull.  We could smell the change in the air and it was exciting. They called us the firsts. We were exalted, celebrated. We dined on great sea-beasts and strange bread. We slept with oddly colored women, who braided our hair and spoke to us in chopped whispers.  

It reminded me of another story of a trip.  Not so friendly or pleasant. On that trip, I had been taken from my home thrown in a dark box that smelled of expelled desperation.  The nights were non-existent, the days more so. I spent the hours counting the creaks of the floor boards. I traced the symbols of my name on the walls, over and over, until my fingers themselves became a part of the ship.  I sang the old songs under my breath and soon I was only a moment of darkness. Then the door was opened and we were cast on the deck. The light so intense, I struggled to exist. My hands and feet regained their form, from darkness to outline.  And then I was bound, redefining my shape to conform to the rope lead. I was led and deliberated. I was struck and marched and blinded and hanged.

And yet, I survived.

I survived the poison, the fire, the bullet, the blanket, the hunger, the torture, the water, the wine, the night.  The sun. I survived and grew stronger but I could not escape time and its attendant emptiness. I could not escape the linear narrative.  I was bound to the construct and the command of that tall braided man with the cloud grey eyes: to hold the stories, to care for them, to wrap them in the folds of my arms and give them warmth.

The ship at last breathed.  Or maybe it was me? A long slow creak and grind of metal on metal, wood shifting, birds fluttering, bones elongating, skin peeling away.  

I remembered many doors like this, many moments of expectation and fear.  The sound was so familiar, I felt whole for a moment as if all my desires had been fulfilled and I was, at last, satisfied.  It was a strange feeling and retreated like the tide as soon as it touched the edges of my skin and I was left with that other familiar feeling.  The one that had been with me since time immemorial: grief and longing, the essence of memory.

The ship began to take a different form, one that was less intimidating.  Or perhaps I had grown so used to its presence that it no longer seemed to strike me as a threat.  Like the old painting of the conquistador hanging on the wall, whose colors have started to fade and seems somehow less of a man, more of a coward struggling to escape his confines of wood and oil and simply fade into oblivion.  Were it that easy, I thought.

I had memories stacked on memories but there was a floor.  One memory that was perfectly mine, perfectly whole.

I remember my grandmother, was it my grandmother or someone else’s grandmother?  A grandmother from just down the road?  She was ancient and vibrant, like a lightning bug trapped in a jar.  Constantly pulsing, radiating, seeking a way back to the sky. She had smooth silver hair she wore up on her head, in the style of the ladies of her time. A silver hair pin held each silver strand in place.  Like magic. Like an invisible hand. Even in the fiercest conditions. Her hair never moved. And she never let it down. Not once. Not in my presence, at least. She was always like the tall pines: straight, impressive, unyielding.

And yet.

There was a softness to her.  Something around the edges. Near the corners of her eyes, her mouth, the palms of her hands.  

I believe she was my grandmother.

And she told me a story:

In the long ago time, the people knew that they were bound by time, the ancient beast that plagued us all.  They knew the ends of their being, the end of the story, and so they created a perfect being.  Birthed, I suppose.  Built would be a better term.  Pieced together from the all the bits of ancient technology that remained.  The minds of an ancient people who had survived through all the trials put before them.  But only as far as Creator would allow. They knew the end time would come soon. And they gathered together all the people for a great celebration. The greatest the world had ever seen. It was to celebrate you. Your creation. And they told you stories. All of them. For that was your purpose. To remember.  To keep the stories whole. To keep them as part of you, when we are gone.

And so I remembered.  I remembered each story, each person.  Each tribe and nation. Each birth and death.  Each triumph and sorrow. I knew them all. I was them.  I was their story.

And summers came and summers went.  And I died.  Over and over again.  Millions of deaths.

As cultures came and went, merged with one another, were destroyed and reborn, I remained, a witness, a living record.

Then a final journey, to the ocean, to wait in the shadows for the end of a prophecy.

Then there was the voice.

“You,” they said.  It was a rich and melodious sound.  The sound of a hundred voices in chorus.  Soothing in a disquieting way.

I moved out from the trees and underbrush.

“You,” they said again.  This time with a more tender note, a bit softer.

“Yes,” I replied stepping forward into the daylight.

“You are what?,” they inquired.

“I am…,” I was at a loss.  “I am the story keeper. I am the representation of all the people.  All their knowledge.  All their stories.  From time immemorial.”  It was the best I could manage.

“Yes,” they said, “that is interesting.”  They sighed or made a sound that was like a sigh at the end of a long journey.  “You are unique among this planet, there is none left but you.  As a being, that is.  A creature.  A unique.  We have seen nothing like you.  You shall be our prize Unique.  You shall accompany us, so we may preserve you, cherish you, adore you.”

The sun was setting, casting long shadows from the trees that tangled and merged with the shadow of the great ship.  I spoke deliberately into the fading light, perhaps only to reassure my existence, “I am the last?”

“Yes,” they said. “And we shall call you Last.”

And that was true.  I had felt this for a long time.  Though it is hard to admit this kind of a truth.  I had been built, born, created long ago.  Pieces assembled to make me whole.  A living repository.  Loneliness and sorrow were always my companions.  I was made of memory.  And memories are built, born, created from sorrow: the longing for something that no longer exists.

“You are Last,” they repeated in their chanting voices, as if to reassure me, to console me.

It was almost night.  The sweep of blue and purple reflected across the broad, smooth prow of the vast ship.

I was the last and this was true.  As true as anything could be.  A truth to the very core of this lovely, lonely world. 

This is why I had been built.

This is what Creation had in mind when I became the keeper of all stories.

I could run.  Where?  I could die. How?  I could walk into the sea…

And where would the stories go then?  I was built, born, created for a purpose.  I was given light to remember them all.

And so, I crossed the beach, toward the great vessel, toward the long voyage into night.  I could just see the moon on the horizon.  The air smelled of salt and sand and time.  The sound of my footsteps seemed far away.  And I remembered a story, of the first People brought aboard a ship so long ago.

And so it is.  And so it was. And so it will be.

This is my story.  This is how it begins.

I am the last of the Mohicans.  The last of the Algonquian.  The last of the Oneida.  The last of the Taino, the Azteca, the Kiowa, the Athabascan.  I am the last of the Ainu, the Sami, the Adivasi.  I am the last of the Pueblo, the Pequot, the Chumash.  I am the last of…

The last of…

The last of…

The last of…

Dr. E. Lee Francis (Pueblo of Laguna) is the Head Indigenerd and CEO of Native Realities, the only Native and Indigenous pop culture company in the United States. Native Realities is also the host of the Indigenous Comic Con and Red Planet Books and Comics. Native Realities has published 9 titles to date with more on the way. The hope is to change the perceptions of Native and Indigenous people through dynamic and imaginative pop culture representations. He has numerous publications including the upcoming Sixkiller comic book (illustrated by Weshoyot Alvitre). He lives in Albuquerque with his wife, son, and dog.