Princesses: Where are they now?
(Part seven: Pocahontas)
John Smith never came back and married her, but still the English came to claim her. Kidnap her. Take her to his land.
Rebecca – they made her stop using the old name, said it wasn’t Christian – tries not to think too much of home. She knows the forest isn’t what it was. She hopes her father died before the worst of it.
Sometimes she prays to the God they told her about. They told her He is merciful. He’d have to be, she thinks. It keeps her from crying to the tribe’s spirits for vengeance. They never saved her people, after all.
John – a different John (strange how they share names) who took a fancy to her – takes her to churches, displays her like a prize. She’s a curiosity, a tame savage. She thinks about the things she showed John, her John, back home. The wolves, the waters, the colours of the wind. She never knew then he thought her savage.
She saw John Smith again, alive and well. When she’d thought him dead, his broken promises for her and for her people didn’t hurt. But there he was, trying to avoid her eye. Alive while her people starved and burned and bled, betrayed.
She’s never seen him since. She’s sure he keeps away.
But she prays every night, now, to the new, merciful God. The picture of wifely devotion. She knows that John, this new and pious John, is pleased to see her kneel and fold her hands.
She prays each night for disease, for fire, for famine, for war. She prays to die the way her people died. If God is merciful, she thinks, death will come soon.
Sarah Thomasin is a performance poet living in Sheffield. As well as saying poems out loud at every opportunity, they have had poems published in Now Then magazine, and in two English Pen collections, three Pankhearst Slim Volume anthologies (No Love Lost, Wherever You Roam, and This Body I Live In), The Sheffield Anthology (poems from the city imagined) and Poems For the Queer Revolution. They were also commissioned to create a limerick quiz about gender which appears in Kate Bornstein’s My New Gender Workbook. You can find Sarah online at www.sarahthomasin.com.