The Truth Board

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The Truth About the Fact: An International Journal of Literary Nonfiction

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Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

The Truth About the Fact: A Journal of Literary Nonfiction is an international journal committed to the idea that excellence in the art of letters can play a vital role in transforming the planet we share.

Sunday, April 17, 2011


His name is Ashwin,
He’s Cherokee, 19, and
wears a long side braid.
I don’t know much more about him
other than this one thing:
That I think he could be my brother.

I look at him
focus on his face,
his terracotta skin that gently runs along
his high cheek bones and slides down over the
slight bump in his nose.
I run my finger along mine to feel the resemblance
and he could be my brother.

I study his hands there
resting on both bare knees that are bent into a
cross-legged bow. They are so at peace
that they melt and fuse into his knee caps.
He takes note of my interest and says,
My hands aren’t too big but my fingers…
I think my fingers get longer everyday.
We laugh. I look down at my own
disproportionate hands
and he could be my brother.

I listen as he speaks about life on the reservation:
the healing the hurt the spirit the land.
His grandfather is the medicine man
and he could be my brother.

I think about the blood that runs through us both
and it’s the same
and I think and I think
and I try to define it,
want to put it under a microscope
and run the tests
but I don’t have a needle to prick
and I don’t have the papers to give me the answers
and nobody told me that
he could be my brother
I just know.

And as I sit and listen to him speak, laugh,
inhale the smoke from the pipe into his lungs,
I see that he is bathed in a familiar spirit that
sings and moves and asks me to dance.
I know the steps.
Well, I think I know the steps
so I close my eyes and
without moving a muscle I dance.
In this moment I know the reality:
Ashwin is not my brother,
though I desperately want him to be.
I will go home and he, too, will turn his back and walk,
taking the dance with him.
I tell him this. He tells me that I am wrong.
That somewhere embedded in the land
lives my family history.
Engrained in rocks, sprinkling down in the rain,
taking flight in dust and wrapping us in air.

He smiles
and I see in the way that his nose drops down
slightly toward his mouth
that he could be,
that he is my brother.

Mallory Massie


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