Move the dark one stroke
at a time.

Free / breast / key /
  back /
              one stroke
               one cerebrovascular accident

Everybody acquires enough
          without ground

          without falling

The children play their string games.
See, the sun is caught.
See, ikauwiitiit qutmi et’ut.2


There are those of us who might
survive this / still fish
in the sea / still enough single organisms
under radar.

It’s not a choice, nothing—we were born
to a rising sea, sapurluni.3

Look, those who see
in the dark /
                       light one step
at a time.


My father gave me a book
so I wouldn’t die.

He knows more / he can tell
in a nuclear family /
                                 survival is silent
and casts pale shadows.

It’s not that I haven’t learned
to hold my tongue—
                                 It’s just
there are so many mouths—
                                 It’s just
the breath is a fragile thing
to hold—
                                 It’s just
they should speak while
I can—

Tamanta qutmi 4


We want to get through / in America /
naamacuarluci 5
                                  write poems with a pen
heavy as a bullet
the color of real money
the smell of blood / metal
to show you we are deadly
serious in our intentions
speaking as one of the participating

The current is strong / the boats have run
                  the kayak is small
the waters getting high—

Every body acquires enough

Kayunguq eh?,6 war-born children write
for rain to put out the fire.

We draw new lines
in the margins
empty our pockets of paper
gesture at the blaze
boast how we can make a fire
our bodies adapted to breathe

We have need
to gather, see
Qutmi etciq’ukut.7

1 Gather (people).↩︎

2 The sparrows are on the beach.↩︎

3 Blocked. Weathered in.↩︎

4 All of us on the beach—↩︎

5 We eke out an existence (lost word). ↩︎

6 It’s stormy, eh?↩︎

7 We will all be water/front.↩︎

Source: Poetry (July/August 2022)