The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Through a Red Place by Rebecca Pelky

This selection, chosen by Guest Curator Solstice Black, is from Through a Red Place by Rebecca Pelky, released by Perugia Press in 2021. 
A red handpring in the center of the page; on the left, a poem titled "Mucáq" in Mohegan, on the right, the same poem, titled "Gone," in English.
(click image to enlarge)


Mic musqáyuw áyakunuk mutonuk,
pitkôsonsh musqáyuw mômôci wutunuk
aqi wahakayash wuci wiwáhcumunsh,

aqi wahakayash wuci piyámáqak sawáyush,
aqi nákatuk kisi
mô mohwáwak sqák.

Ôkutak awán kámotuk piyô yotay.
Ôkutak awán kámotuk piyô yotay.
Ôkutak awán kámotuk piyô yotay.

Cahsuwak sqák mus kumotuwak?
Cahsuwak wuci nutônihsunônak
mus “náyuwáyuwak?”

Yotay wuyam másqák kumuskam.


A red hand painted on a mouth,
red dresses stir in the wind, empty
like corn husks,

like fish scales are empty,
like what’s left after
the women were consumed.

Here comes another thief.
Here comes another thief.
Here comes another thief.

How many women will they take?
How many of our daughters
will “wander off?”

You’ll find the red paint here.

Rebecca Pelky is a member of the Brothertown Indian Nation of Wisconsin and a native of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Her first poetry collection was Horizon of the Dog Woman (Saint Julian Press, 2020). Her second collection, Through a Red Place (Perugia Press, 2021), won the Perugia Press Prize. Pelky’s co-authored hiking guide to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula was published by FalconGuides in 2021. She holds a PhD from the University of Missouri, an MFA from Northern Michigan University, and is an Assistant Professor of Film Studies at Clarkson University in Upstate NY.

Solstice Black (she/they) is a queer poet and novelist living in the Pacific Northwest. They are currently undertaking a bachelor’s degree in creative writing. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in ChautauquaThe Fantastic Other, and A Forest of Words, among others. They hope to pursue an MFA in creative writing and a BFA in visual art in the next few years. Her cat is both her greatest joy and torment.


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