my OkCupid username was nakinisowin
which in Cree means: resistance
means: not white
means: don’t love him
means: ask me what my ethnicity is and say ‘that’s interesting’ when I tell you I’m native
that my body is tired from trying to make do in a world bent on its destruction

I tell them I’m the monster in the closet those bedtime stories prepared them for
that I’m brown like the dirt that gets stuck underneath their fingernails
waiting to be washed away
they want a man whose body doesn’t whisper horror stories each time they touch him
a man whose nightmares are about dying because he doesn’t already know what that feels like

but one day I found mrB0B
and his skin was brown like the water that drags itself through my community
pleading: drink me, I need you, I promise
and his profile was a eulogy of sorts:
he was still in mourning, refusing to let go of a body that never belonged to him in the first place

I said: hey
to which he responded: be careful
I am still healing from the white men who told me they loved me
and my Cree is broken like my body is
and I don’t know how to tell the difference between love and trauma
but I could try, for you, a native, like me

which is to say that to be native and queer is to sometimes forget how to love yourself
because no one else wants to
to bandage the wounds with strangers you met an hour ago
and count the number of times they call you beautiful
because it is the best fairy tale you’ve ever heard

but this was different
because colonialism doesn’t like
it when two native boys
find each other’s bodies and write poems about it afterwards
because every kiss was an act of defiance
a kind of nation-building effort:
our bodies were protesting
dancing in a circle to beating drums
such that each thrust told a story
we forgot we had already written