Academic journal article Pennsylvania Literary Journal

Pocahontas

Academic journal article Pennsylvania Literary Journal

Pocahontas

Article excerpt

Your father's nickname for you, his favorite.

But you were known as Amonute

and your secret name was Matoaka.

Then you married Rolfe and became Rebecca.

You had so many other names

how could you ever know who you really were?

You died at twenty-one or two,

still merely a child (you lived your entire life

as a child) and passed the line along

through your son Thomas,

and that line includes now so many -

Nancy Reagan, Woodrow Wilson's wife,

Precival Lovell...

But I espy you as you were before the English

who fascinated you, to your ruin.

You saved the colony with corn, no doubt,

and probably saved Smith's head,

he the one you really loved, not Rolfe.

And you called him "father."

It is said when you later met him in England

you shuddered and grew distraught.

But which Amonute was that?

Which the playful, rambunctious child

who delighted your real father

before the interlopers? …

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