The interviewer, who was white,
asked the indigenous man, who had dark brown skin,
What was most important in life to them.
'Them' - as if the man and his people were any different
than the interviewer and his.
This was after the man had shown them
(the interviewer and the cameraman)
his entire village - the homes,
where the women forage for food
and how the men hunt for meat.
The man knew what the interviewer was really asking.
Yet he also knew that the interviewer already knew
the answer to his own question - even if he had hidden it from himself,
even if he had no faith and trust
in his own culture’s answer to the question.
Still, the interviewer knew the answer for himself.
And the man knew also,
like everyone who is being filmed and interviewed,
that when someone asks you for your very essence,
it is never only a passing request.
They mean to do something with it at some point.
You see, the indigenous man doesn’t go around
interviewing white people.
He is living his life.
So, when the interviewer asked this question,
“What is most important in life to them?”
A shadow of remembrance passed across the man’s eyes.
And smiling, he replied, “Meat!”
The interviewer, looking perplexed, repeated, “Meat?”
and thought, 'Well, that’s a given.'
And in a tone that suggested
what he really wanted to say
was, 'Duh, what else is important here on Earth?'
The man replied, “Yes, with meat we become strong and healthy.
No one will go hungry.
Children will grow strong and run fast.
Women will be strong and there will be less sickness.
Women will give birth to healthy, strong babies.”
The interviewer’s face reflected blank ignorance
as he again repeated, “Meat?”
And with eyes that said, 'Now let it go.
You will not get from me
what your grandfather took from mine',
the man turned to his son and said,
“We will go hunt now.”