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Poem of the Month

Joan Naviyuk Kane is the author of The Cormorant Hunter’s Wife, Hyperboreal, and The Straits. Her awards include the Whiting Writer’s Award, the Donald Hall Prize in Poetry, the American Book Award, the Alaska Literary Award, and fellowships from the Rasmuson Foundation, the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation, and the School for Advanced Research. Kane is a faculty mentor in the MFA program at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She is Inupiaq with family from King Island and Mary’s Igloo, and lives in Anchorage, AK.


February 2017

From Milk Black Carbon

by Joan Naviyuk Kane


The Straits

Ledum, Labrador Tea, saayumik.
A matted growth beneath the most shallow
depth of snow on record in all our winters.

Pausing upbluff from the edge of ice
I broke from branches leaves to pin
between my teeth and tongue

until warmed enough for their fragrant
oil to cleanse you from me.

Somewhere in a bank of fog
beyond the visible end of open water,
alleged hills were windfeathered—

drainages venous. In routes
along the shore forever slipping
under, I am reminded — in the city

one finds it simple to conceive nothing
but a system, and nothing but a world of men.


© 2017, Joan Naviyuk Kane. All rights reserved.











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