Indigenous Peoples’ Day

I have to turn the heat on
this morning. The cold floor
is hurting my broken feet.
I’m shuffling in slippers
from place to place. I hear
my father’s voice
behind me again: “Pick up
your feet when you walk.”
I try. He’s been gone now 
damn near a year. He used
to talk about how a teacher at
the boarding school would walk behind them

with a switch cut from some bush 

snapping the boys’ heels as they marched
from dorm to class, the whole time

telling them the same thing. 

I try to pick up my feet. 

On behalf of my dad
I say out loud that I still think
I’ll be better off if I just walk
the way I walk instead of
marching, endlessly marching,
but I can’t just shake it off.
I never got the switch myself but
it’s still snapping somewhere behind me.
I miss my dad. I missed so much.
I say fuck and fuck again and
damn it’s cold in here, but
it is October, so cold
comes with the calendar. In fact
tomorrow is Columbus
Day — I know they’ve changed
the name but my feet still hurt
even when I invoke the new name
and say “no, it’s Indigenous Peoples’
Day. They fixed all that, remember?
Pick up your feet, Brown,
half breed, fatherless man,
as we march into a better nation.”

About Tony Brown

A poet with a history in slam, lots of publications; my personal poetry and a little bit of daily life and opinions. Read the page called "About..." for the details. View all posts by Tony Brown

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