A Melville Indian

Grace Randolph

it’s not just a job, it’s an adventure


my romantic self


Daddy went and joined the                 Navy

in the tradition of his Aquinnah people

people           of                  the              First                Light

the morning                dawn


who dance in beams of light

that burst forth over the watery horizon


we are the stuff of Melville legends

those aboriginal whalemen

Red-Men of Moby Dick

who first sailed out in canoes to give chase to the Leviathan.

Tashtego’s heirs and                           forebearers

in the sinew of our flesh

he lives

in the blood of our veins

we ache 

for the            open             seas

harpoon          in                 hand

                      salt               on our lips

but truly

the day Daddy went to        enlist

the recruiter held                                  on hand

a large-ish stash of nudes

carefully plucked from corners of the world

and the only harpoon Daddy ever planted

over the ocean blue

was the one in his groin

and the only likeness Daddy shared with Tashtego was--

Midnight Aloft Thunder and Lightning

his cry for





to soothe his journey through the storm

of white imaginations

Grace Randolph is an Aquinnah Wampanoag citizen living in Oklahoma with her family. Randolph is currently an MFA candidate at IAIA and was most recently published poetry in the Fall 2017 edition of Yellow Medicine Review and the IAIA Student Anthology Chrysalism



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