“Indigenous Elvis at the Airport” by Heid E. Erdrich

Indigenous Elvis at the Airport

Indigenous Elvis works security:
Chief Joseph hair, blue-black and pomped,
turquoise and shell dangling from one ear,
silver chunks of rings on every bronze knuckle.

Indigenous Elvis works security:
X-ray glances at your backpacks,
laptops, empty still-moist shoes.

Indigenous Elvis waves me to his line.
A perfect gentlemen at all times,
gingerly lifting my naked phone,
holding the line as I return my computer
and extra undies to my briefcase.

Next line, next flight, Indigenous Elvis eases in
too close, asks, “Where you headed
this time?”
Subtle tango, I lean away, wondering what it is
he saw first gave me away—
My beaded barrettes in their travel case?
A slight turn to my eyes?

Oh, mortification when I get him!
Indigenous Elvis, at security, a third time.
He lifts my carry-on,
maneuvers my hand, gestures me close to ask,
“How is my sweetheart?”
Then against my neck, so my hairs rise
with his sight, “How’s my sweetheart doing …
your sister … ?
… the one that got away.”


Heid E. Erdrich, 1963-

“Indigenous Elvis at the Airport” from Cell Traffic
© 2012 Heid E. Erdrich

Photo by CHUTTERSNAP on Unsplash

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