- Days of Next Yesterday, and: If Gold Is Drilled in Bristol Bay, and: Imieauraq's Ceremony of the Dead, and: Stereoscope
Days of Next Yesterday
When She/I feel/s the weight of plastered walls,brick doors closing heavy
windows slammingShe/I like/s to crawl into an igloo chute tunnel to the centerof snow strip down to her/my inner clothes
fur side in. She/I peel away the marmot skin smell a pot of Labrador tea boiling.In her/my plank grave She/I lay under sodmy teeth gnaw on dried herring, eider eggs, sip tea.
With a whale oil lamp lit She/I watch Aapaga/grandfathermelt snow for water. Watch the ice shrink. No polar bear in days.
Aanaga/grandmother sews the worn heels of aapiyaba/brother'skamiks. No blue snow only white rain.
She/I watch them lift the toils of burdened life a steelheadPlaguePlaguePlague as She/I shovel in front of my feet throw peat moss into a mammoth's mouthwith no roe no narwhal no reserves. [End Page 12]
If Gold Is Drilled in Bristol Bay
for Sarah Palin
Why is it, in Bristol Bay, a sea cormoranthovers, sings a two-fold song with a hinged cover
for a mouth, teeth set in sockets, with a hissing grindof spikelets biting the air? Dip one.
The lips of vanished flames in lava coalsglow vermillion as an egg cracks. Dip two.
She/I feel/s a chimera leaving the eider duck. Dip three.While still in the embryo, separating the body
from death she/I smell/s of arsenic, the Chugach Rangein unnatural bitterness. Why is it, man's/woman's nerve scarcely
stifled and sane, comes to prey? While they swoonminerals of crude oil and sea spiders for tricking a way for gold.
Will they crawl around her/me, sink their eye teeth in the sea,ravaging the ecosphere and the ore gold for fuel? Drill.
Imieauraq's Ceremony of the Dead
Imieauraq, the prowler shaman, is encrustedwith thick stone ochre powder
he paints protectionhe sets his willow stick with a snare [End Page 13]
his protruding abdomen deforms his back now hunchedand bow-leggedhe walks his bones knockthe red dust settles.
(Imieauraq sees his older brother,story-keeper of the hunt, in his dreams)
He traps a siksrik/squirrelfor roasting a dinner for the dead
over the fire on every flint headhe ties notches a piece of lashing
which drags and drapes across the siksrik's/squirrel's neck. Imieauraq removesthe meat from bone intuitivelycarefully skillfully
not to snag a vein (if it bleeds he'll need to use yo-yos as protectionfor his bear clan, for his sister's death wish)
he marks a bear skull in white paint: earth=mother=adopted=blood=raven= midnight sun.
In his small plywood cabin on the north shore
he runs in place a slow runnerthe cold settles in his bulb knees(he remembers: ice forming on the lagoon when his sister fell in the ice water dead). He scrapes the squirrel's [End Page 14]
tiny body closes the eyes combseach frozen blue-gray hair until it is thawed.
He sponges with a piece of moss across the flesh wiping
dead he remembers: digging older strata descending probing eroding flesh beaches He finds: in a burial site upheaving digging removing a way out
the eldest inuk farther inland in a house pit
then on every ridge yellowed bodies bones bodies bones rising.
He heard this is what happens: when the water thaws leavening uprising
on Kotzebue Sound he places his sister's kamik legs and marmot arms head and feet upon a stilted driftwood altar her crown of fireweed (he sees her ghost rise).
Imieauraq lays wolverine furs over the appendages flanks slips on her feet new kamik boots (his captain, his Umiliak, new soles for the journey bear clan leader)
around the cosmos she will spin.On his sister's hands he places a pair of caribou mittensfur side in not to offend the spirits...