Tiger Lily and John Wayne: Two Puzzle Pieces. {poetry}


My poem, titled Tiger Lily and John Wayne, alludes to the childlike play between cowboys and Indians.

Tiger Lily and John Wayne being two recognizable characters in the archetype, they naturally would make fantastical, dreamlike lovers in the imagination of my mind. Like two plastic dolls kissing coldly, shiny action figure lips pressing and banging against the matte lips of a doll. This piece is about my sweet devotion to my boyfriend Henry. When I met him, it felt like I baked him in my kitchen.

It is strange how we are two puzzle pieces fit for each other. Our relationship is the most cherished thing I have ever experienced. As a girl, I could only pray through my loneliness to find someone half as made for me as Henry. Almost as if he’s my imaginary friend, but even better because… he is real! 

My love has yellow blonde hair and the bluest eyes in sharp contrast to my brown features. I find comparing our looks as being the most primitive way to view the self. The self is no more formed than a stack of sticks left in the forest. The same way marriage takes two selves to make one. Two feeble weeds growing in the ground, shapeshifting into one solid oak tree.

The child inside of me, who used to marry Barbies with toy trucks, adores the idea of pairing a cowboy and an Indian to be wed. This poem, written in my own verse of a modified sonnet, is a transformation of playtime, soulmates, and feral rebirth.

Tiger Lily and John Wayne

I took the petals from a flowering bush and made a man made of yarrow
The yellowed yarrow man sat to eat my sorrow with sips of supper
The two murre eggs in his head 
Met the nest of driftwood in the place my eyes rest. 

I took the leaves from my hair and made a boy
The birch leaf basil boy became boundless in the sight billowing brightly 
As I held my bluebell bouquet 

I took a veil to say a vow
As Tiger Lily and John Wayne wed 
To make an oath under an oak 
Beneath our tides of cloth and cloaks 

Together we took a sword, we sharpened our stab 
As we scratched the past life like a stamp of steam 

I took the tears from my pillow and made a man.


Belen Odile (she/her) is a poetess, artist, and advocate. Odile is known for her somber nostalgic voice.


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