Nunaqtigiit
(people related through common possession of territory)
by Joan Kane

The enemy misled that missed the island in the fog,
I believe in one or the other, but both exist now
        to confuse me. Dark from dark.

Snow from snow. I believe in one--

Craggy boundary, knife blade at the throat's 

   slight swell.

From time to time the sound of voices
                                    as through sun-singed grass,

or grasses that we used to insulate the walls of our 

   winter houses--
walrus hides lashed together with rawhide cords.

So warm within the willows ingathered forced into leaf.

I am named for your sister Naviyuk: call me apoŋ.

Surely there are ghosts here, my children sprung
        from these deeper furrows.

The sky of my mind against which self-
                                         betrayal in its sudden burn
        fails to describe the world.

We, who denied the landscape
                                          and saw the light of it.

Leaning against the stone wall ragged
I began to accept my past and, as I accepted it,

I felt, and I didn't understand:
                                           I am bound to everyone.


Copyright � 2013 by Joan Kane. Used with permission of the author.
This week, Academy of American Poets Chancellor Arthur Sze serves as guest editor for the Poem-A-Day series.

Poetry by Kane

The Cormorant Hunter's Wife

January 7, 2013

Joan Kane's third book, Hyperboreal, won the AWP Donald Hall Poetry Prize and will be published by Pittsburgh in 2013. She's I�upiat and lives in Anchorage, Alaska.
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