Hand-Me-Down Halloween

by Natalie Diaz

Natalie Diaz

The year we moved off / the reservation /
a / white / boy up the street gave me a green trash bag
fat with corduroys, bright collared shirts
& a two piece / Tonto / costume
turquoise thunderbird on the chest
shirt & pants
the color of my grandmother’s skin / reddish brown /
my mother’s skin / brown-redskin /
My mother’s boyfriend laughed
said now I was a / fake / Indian
look-it her now yer / In-din / girl is a / fake In-din
My first Halloween off / the reservation /
/ white / Jeremiah told all his / white /friends
that I was wearing his old costume
/ A hand-me-down? /
I looked at my hands
All them / whites / laughed at me
/ called me half-breed /
threw Tootsie Rolls at / the half-breed / me
Later / darker / in the night
at / white / Jeremiah’s front door / tricker treat /
I made a / good / little Injun his father said
now don’t you make a / good / little Injun 
He gave me a Tootsie Roll
More night came / darker /darker /
Mothers gather their / white / kids from the dark
My / dark / mother gathered / empty / cans
while I waited to gather my / white / kid
I wated to gather / white / Jeremiah
He was / the skeleton / walking past my house
a glowing skull and ribs
I ran & tackled his / white / bones / in the street
His candy spilled out / like a million pinto beans /
Asphalt tore my / brown-red-skin / knees
I hit him harder and harder / whiter / and harder
He cried for his momma
I put my fist-me-downs / again and again and down /
He cried / for that white / She came running
She swung me off him
dug nails into my wrist
pulled me to my front door
yelled at her / white / kid to go wait at home
go wait at home Jeremiah, Momma will take care of this
She was ready / to take care of this /
to pound on my door / but no tricker treat /
My door was already open
and before that white could speak or knock
/ or put her hands down on my door /
my mother told her to take her hands off of me
taker / fuck-king / hands off my girl
My mother stepped / or fell / toward that white /
I don’t remember what happened next
I don’t remember that / white / momma leaving
/ but I know she did /
My mother’s boyfriend said
well / Kemosabe / you ruined your costume
wull / Ke-mo-sa-be / you fuckt up yer costume
My first Halloween
off / the reservation /
my mother said / maybe / next year
you can be a little Tinker Bell / or something /

Now go git that / white / boy’s can-dee
––iss-in the road

When My Brother Was An Aztec

Last updated December 15, 2022