by Vivian Faith Prescott
Acquire animal skills.
Become a loon, a haunting crier,
swallowing the remains of this world underwater.
Learn to skin. Yourself.
Pull your feathered hood
over your head, adjust your chinstrap
to your throat.
Know where the sacred places are,
because there is no
safe place. Your homeland is melting
at .25 millimeters per year.
The ocean fills your boots,
there is too much salt in your food,
and the silverfish are hopping
on the linoleum.
Lately, you find yourself curling
up into the dark, nesting near
the water’s edge, the place
where your dense bones
park your truck and watch
the ocean jump the harbor’s breakwater again.
What it is that has awakened in you?
Your tremolo wavers
and the frequent hard rains
now sound like deer hooves—a clack and cry harmonic.
You know what I mean by that—
You want to run and fly at the same time.
Vivian Faith Prescott is Sámi-American and was born and raised on the small island of Wrangell in Southeastern Alaska. She’s the founding member of Blue Canoe Writers in both Sitka and Wrangell, Alaska with an emphasis on encouraging and mentoring Indigenous writers. Vivian lives at her family’s fishcamp in Wrangell, Alaska. She’s the author of one full length poetry collection and two chapbooks. Her short story collection is forthcoming from Boreal Books.