FRIEND

By Rosemary Powless Malanik

I have a Native friend who knows how I feel,

what I believe in,
how I behave,

things I can do, cannot do, will not do, or simply don't do.

She knows what is possible or impossible.

She's there when I need her or not.

She knows my fears, real or imagined.

She know my successes, as well as my failures.

She helps bring my talents and dreams to fruition.

She's aware of my hurts, both physically and emotionally,
and she’s the chicken soup of my soul.

Sometimes it seems like she hates me
and badgers me when I'm wrong.

She knows my loves and my lovers, my likes and dislikes
and all my misgivings.

She communicates with me endlessly, keeps me in check.

She also treasures my Oneida heritage with respect and pride.

She cries with me and she laughs with me—
She knows me well.

I call her, “me.”

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My name is Rosemary Powless Malanik, also known as Teyuthahukwa (woman who picks up the path). I am an Oneida Native, born in Chicago, Illinois. I now reside in northeast Wisconsin with my husband and two dogs.