Kathy Maresca, author

Porch Music excerpt: “Tayki” Woman

Tayki Woman

This excerpt is from Ma-Ki, a Seminole matriarch narrator. Ma-ki is actually “half Seminole, half white.” Tayki means “woman” in the Miccosukee language, spoken by the Seminole Tribe. In this passage, Ma-Ki (also known as Ma) talks to Rose, whom we met as she used her family’s wringer washing machine to do their laundry.

“Love is powerful, Rose. It can heal if you let it, one step at a time. Young tayki, we took a step today, doctoring them blisters. Them feet are important. A woman can’t make her footprint without them. And know this: it’s footprints the eye ain’t able to see that matters most.” Taking more clean cloths, I sit in the kitchen chair and put them in my lap. Bending down, I lift her right foot.

“Ma, do you talk much using them Seminole words?”

“I used to know more, but I ain’t spoke it in a while. I can’t recollect how to string together a sentence, but being half-white comes in handy. I speak English. Near about everybody understands me when I talk.”