N 58° 10.684’ W 125° 45.021’
Muskwa Kechika, Homelands of the Kaska Dene, Treaty 8 and Tsay Keh Nations
First snow briefly on the backs of moving animals in the high altitudes.
At the lake’s edge I’m waiting for the hour when the pain makes sense.
The loon’s empty dance hall levitates. Several unproven gods appear
as blown things, as swiveling ears, as coral masks
hung in the mountain’s costume shop. The ragged ranges
offering a suit that fits so perfectly
it must in back be full of pins.
I’m having trouble with forgiveness in all directions.
Breath solvent with curses directed at my failing.
The absent glacier still lording it over the valley.
I explain again to the clouds my position.
Clouds forever training in not making anyone the enemy.
Testing, testing hands seismically disrupted at the cellular level
with trauma’s epigenetics, colonial hands oiled and poised, cruising
ax hands, owning hands, I’m wanting
to wash it all off in the sun-hammered water,
can’t, and still touch whirs alive as if with wasps,
with anonymous waterfalls.
Dissolving, then not,
———- dissolving, then not.
Not transcending the pain but opening to it, they say.
Or just lying in the dirt at the gold edge.
So close, so close.
Seabed sediments settling for a billion whispers,
then tectonic plates driving waves of stone.
Osprey hauling up a fish, athletic spark blown into buoyant procession.
Bull elk in velvet with a heavy, alluring limp.
All my premeditated aims transpiring
profusely in trade for a necessary molecule.
Mountain’s opening move dopamine-spiking secret loves.
Right, secret love?
I was taught I was not of this earth.
I was a body taught to renounce my body.
I tried to hide my desires from God.
Then for a sec, the mountain carousels its deeptime
sea twinkling down diatoms, plankton, radiozoa,
drifts and drifts becoming the mystical interior
sun gathered in the mountain’s wingbeats.
I curl nearer to the visible beating heart of the translucent
water flea—eerie filaments, lucid motives—who if exposed
to a predator’s scent makes offspring with spiky, armored heads.
Unregistered pain circulates in my mother.
My first injuries indistinguishable from identity.
Take-it-in-the-mouth clouds now doing the bandaging.
Elsewhere the province advances its wolf kill,
a transcontinental flight disappears into an ocean,
treaty negotiations stall again, oil and gas
surfs cryptically in the permeable rock.
The eye here wanting skill, discipline, ceremony.
What isn’t wasted years?
The Gataga cutting on one side, settling on the other,
the sweeping turn swapping it up, deceptively
deep and fast, needles and green lanterns,
the churning glacial shine of rock flour.
High, luminous tarns feeding in.
In the direction of beginning anew, burnt trees lifting their unparsable symbols.
The aimless god-breezes soothing the nerves tonight.
Rain undressing inaccurate accounts.
I’m gathering a weather more than a self.
The unfastened, fringed mothwing adorning
the lake with its slow twirl adorning
now my mouth and now your lake
it’s actual and illumined fragility
showing your face. So far impermanence
the only deity inexhaustibly flaming through all things.
A secret love is portable but not easily given over.
Stranger, right now I don’t know the precise angles
you need between your sternum, a door and the breakable glass.
Here the sun is goldthreading an anesthetic into grass.
And maybe you need this too.
Or at least it feels like need, my body’s slight and perhaps
psychosomatic sensations lift in talon jags
imitating dragonflies hauling invisible shiny buckets,
recklessly, gingerly, that physical quaking.
Even here I remember a Songhees Elder’s punished, broken fingers,
the tender way she held them out from childhood to her healing place.
Together with the trees and the diatoms, we’re bodies
making this breath-hem dragging against space.
Dear river, dear laminar flow, dear chaotic changes in pressure and velocity, dear unsteady
vortices, turbulence fountaining from rock and swimming animals,
what’s the ceremony for these hands?
Then you are an undisclosed water being rising under me,
your many genders pressing from inconsolable angles,
the strange calls of an animal I can’t name, aurora
smoking over teethmarks in the dark herenow.
The mouth was never enough.
———-I’m wanting the unguarded, failing body.
I guess I’m hanging on to the moment when fear
fueled pleasure that tasted everything.
Then the animal running my willow-whipped face.
My apprenticeship to iffy existence.
Hanging on and letting go.
Mountain’s famous boots goldstriking
even down a hospital corridor.