To List (Uaałukitaaq)

The boat rocks back and forth over the waters
as they rise and the land recedes from sight.

The land where women bleed all the time.
The land of moss and stubble. If anything
lives at all, pests thrive on the land thronged
with men who are mean to their mothers.

It becomes a land of no mothers,
a land where girls never sleep. A land
where we need no land. The land from which
he leaves grow large and we do not know why.

The leaves grow large and do not grow back.
The grown leave and do not go back,
he gone grow and do not go back.

Utiġuliqpin? Are you homesick?
Utiġuliqtuŋa. I am homesick.
Utiqłiutunga. I am going to go back.

Joan Naviyuk Kane is raising her children in Alaska and teaches in the MFA program at the Institute of American Indian Arts. Her most recent book is Milk Black Carbon.

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