Annie Wenstrup

The Roadrunner and Wylie E Coyote’s Eternal Return

Exhibit B: Un-filed Correspondence

                                                                                                                              Stardate 2373
Dear Chakotay,
Simply, I loved you like the Captain
loves you: in sidelong glances, in unreality.

How could I not? You with your tattoo,
a professional. You, lost and light

years away from home. And yet you
believe your ancestors guide you. I’ve watched

you close your eyes to contact your spirit
guides. It was more intimate than a kiss.

I wanted to learn to pray the same way.
O’ Chakotay! If you’d asked, I would

have joined the Maquis to be with you.
I would have left my sun and moon

to follow you into uncharted space. I’d
even adopt the Doctrine of Discovery—

for you. I’d imagined us standing
on deck, quoting Picard. Imagined

us daring each other to boldly go
where no one’s gone before.
I wanted

to want you. Because, you were a wanted
NDN, someone I wanted to be. Oh

Chakotay. How my heart broke when I
realized each night with your cold cream

and washcloth you untattoo your face
before you fall asleep,


PS. My heart. My red, red heart.


Annie Wenstrup is a Dena’ina poet living in Fairbanks, Alaska. Her work recently appeared in Alaska Quarterly Review, the New England Review, Poetry Magazine, Ran Off with the Star Bassoon, and in Poetry Northwest as finalist for the James Welch Indigenous Poetry Prize. Her writing is supported by The Alaska Literary Award (2023), The Rasmusson Foundation (2023), the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts (2023), and Storyknife (2021). Annie was an Inaugural Indigenous Nations Poets Fellow in 2022 and a returning Fellow in 2023. In 2022 she received an MFA in Creative Writing from Stonecoast at the University of Southern Maine .