Treaty Day

noah mazer

second time in Canandaigua in two days &
this time I do hear the stacked cadence of Six Nations oratory.
birds leave the paint-peeling dome of city hall
& return. the speaker says they call the atmosphere a veil,
since there is no other word.
birds taking off, returning again.

Walking back to the car after the commemoration events James comments to me that he cringes when he hears the language of ‘silver chain,’ the covenant chain between the English and the Iroquois, he’s thinking in the sense of gilded chains. I try to talk about how it meant they were sovereign nations in equal partnership. He talks about cultural decimation. We are eating Mexican in a red and lowlit restaurant in Canandaigua--him pozole, me tlacoyos. His sister goes to school on the next lake over, in Geneva, Kanadeseaga. I’m saying, well look they’re in their garb, speaking their languages, they were standing next to us in the crowd, the girl had the flag embroidered on her backpack. The waitress brings water in blue mason jars and James is saying something about America. I am rolling the triangle of the word, spinning it inside my mouth-- tlacoyos, tla co yos, tla-, tla-, tla, tla