I emerge from our yellow linoleum bathroom blue
at one end of our single-wide trailer
and I have the length of narrow hallway to consider
before reaching the living room blue
Blue!? And I know my mother is furious
You look ridiculous it’s all she says
and I do  I had torn the pages from a magazine
lined my bedroom floor with them and studied
those punk rock spiked hair white teeth
high fashion popped collar leather studded glossy photos
strewn across my small space like a spread of tarot cards
telling me a future I would never get to
not out here not in the white trailer rusting amber
thick of trees stretch of reservation of highway
that stood between me and whatever else was out there
record stores the mall parking lots where kids were skateboarding
and smoking pot  probably  kids with boom boxes and bottles of beer
out there were beaches with bands playing on them
and these faces these shining faces with pink green purple and blue hair
blue I could get that at least
I could mix seventeen packets of blue raspberry Kool-Aid
with a little water and I could get that
it was alchemy it was potion-making
but no one told me about the bleach
about my dark hair needing to lift
to lighten in order to get that blue
no one told me that the mess of Kool-Aid
would only run down my scalp my face my neck
would stain me blue

Blue is what you taste like
he says still holding me on the twin bed
in the glow of dawn my teenage curiosity
has pushed me to ask What does my body taste like to you
his fingers travel from neck to navel
breath on my thigh and here in our sacred space
he answers simply Blue you taste blue
and I wonder if what he means is sad
you taste sad

the name is given to me
when I am three
to understand it
my child brain has to break it apart
talk as in talking
as in to tell as in story
sha as in the second syllable
of my English name
as in half of me
blue as in the taste of me
blue as in sad

my grandmother was taqʷšəblu
before me and now I am
taqʷšəblu too

Sasha taqʷšəblu LaPointe, “Blue” from Rose Quartz. Copyright © 2023 by Sasha taqʷšəblu LaPointe. Used with the permission of The Permissions Company LLC on behalf of Milkweed Editions,