north america abstracted
part of the river untouched by the current,
my Alaskan summer, or a body
not dead, afloat.
If I were a fish, I’d die soon,
the way I refuse to move, glued to a
blue wall. But
ate ikwe¹ always something grows
in fallen tree trunk, fertile and hollow;
in half-sunk ship;
in my silver pregnant mother face-up
in a bathtub.
At night I feel the build-up of stones in my throat.
The white men upstream call this January,
do you feel lonely?
If I were a width, I’d be bomb shelter,
six-inch plywood on the edge of rose-tint
salmon eggs hatch in the palm of my
tongue like beads of ice they
spin into the stream
I feel a cold front coming
but not for now, for now
is wet pelt and ripple.
No give, no sound but the quake
of gunshot and a language dying
do you feel empty?
and on the bank a split char,
a woman without her womb.
¹Translated to English from Ojibwa, ate ikwe means in woman