Authors Note: I was always partial to Frog Woman growing up. I remember the stories that my Grandma would tell and she would always start "Frog Woman was a plain woman..." And usually in the story she is doing something to show how strong she is, or how smart she is, or how clever she is (different than smart, that's what my Grandma used to say) or how big her heart is. I liked her. She had this huge mouth, and she was always falling in love with Coyote even though she knew better. And Coyote was always falling in love with Deer Woman, because she had long legs. (This is how Grandma would start those stories, "Deer Woman had long beautiful legs that made men stutter.")
But Frog Woman was always my girl. So here I've written a little poem about her instead of finishing the grant I'm working on. And now back to the grant. If Frog Woman was here she could make me some of that stew and I could sit back and enjoy and write this grant, but instead I'll have to settle for string cheese.
“She’s not beautiful.
Her eyes are two different sizes;
Her lips are large and plumped.
Her mouth is wide.
Her nose is crooked.
There’s little room on her face for charm
or even a sweet smile.
And she always looks like she’s half winking.”
“They call that a lazy eye.”
Which is slightly unfair considering the eye had no real opportunities for change,
to wake up early in the morning and fill out job applications,
to get un-lazy.
“Life is better beautiful.”
Boys help you open jars of pickles.
Girls hate you but are nice to your face in some kind of attempt to feed off your prettiness.
Men buy you things,
give you things,
find you things,
launch ships to go and get you back from other men.
there wasn’t a lot of ways that you could take all those good lookin’ Indian parts
(her grandmas chin, her moms thick hair, her dads strong teeth, her aunts almond eye)
and make them into such a not good looking whole.
But that's what happened to her.
it's a good thing she's funny.
And there's a rumor she makes the best acorns
and meat stew,
Life is better full.
Cutcha Risling Baldy is an Assistant Professor of American Indian Studies at San Diego State University. She received her PhD in Native American Studies from the University of California, Davis. She is also a writer, mother, fan of "The Good Wife" and "The Walking Dead", who likes to go for long walks on long piers...
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