Quliyangua’uciikamken

— Abigail Chabitnoy

                              The wind is not a river.

I am afraid of most waters but some days
I too desire drowning—
                                        drop my eye
below the sight.

“Hello blackwater.”

I wish some days
I could put on my sister’s skin
                                                  to see the body
other than my death.

What if this river is wind? I don’t really know
about sharks and salmon after all.

          swim. not swim. one must take care
          entering any body of modest depth.

I will tell you a story.

I feel more mouth than maw these days
more bird than fish.

What we’re missing, waves: an exact measurement
of distance
                                                  a body in context
                                                  an appreciation for the size
of a full grown walrus.

One dies soon.

It used to be these events occurred
hundreds of years
apart.

The story goes and grows until no bigger than a harbor
seal,
          small and
                                        spotted
in need of saving and                                         native
                              to the wrong waters.

Blackwater, bad weather.

How do you know if you’re holding walrus
or elephant?
                              snow or
ash?
          potsherd
                                        or cranial
plate?

What if this wind is river?

Yaatiini, akgua’aq, ernerpak cali aqllangenguartuq.

The last few days have been windy.


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