Roanoke and Wampumpeag

Susan Wheeler

Child, entering Ye Olde Trading Post, takes the pegs upon the walls
For trees, fingers the beaded doll in buckskin dress, a moccasin,

A square of maple sugar maple leaf, small imprint of a fingernail
In its clear window. She wants the Minnesota charm in green,

Six of ten thousand lakes in silver raised, Babe the Blue Ox and her
Mate. REAL! CAN OF WORMS! a label states; another, on a bow

And arrows stapled into cellophane: APACHE ARROWHEADS,
AUTHENTIQUE. Dread of parents, parked, smoking, in the lot.

Piecework of the quiet shade. Piecework of the whoosh of trees
Blowing beyond log walls, adults murmuring over turquoise rings,

Low radio, woman propped with The Making of a President
Open in her hands. The child calculates the thieving odds, balks.

A brother, suddenly. Come ON. The dollar buys four old-tyme sticks,
Swirled barber poles in green and brown, horehound-hard and stale,

Each a member of the family’s, their car on gravel moving out, trunk
To traders and the totem pole, behind the ghastly, grinning cow.