is it my blood that makes me wander?
the diaspora of my soul scattered
over many lands
the bones of my ancestors
how they pull on me offering so many directions
yet how can I answer the many folded inside my body?
this body not my own a shared place of suffering
it searches for safety
looks for a cord tying me to you… and you and you
and yet soon we will all leave this room
leave each other it is then that I will feel
how alone I am in the territory of the Salish
with the bones of my ancestors
scattered over many lands
some just north of here
Fort St James the place where many lay
others can be found at Turtle Mountain, the Prairies
L’Anse aux Meadows and Iceland
as I trace their steps I feel them beside me whispering
look here — comes another voice — no here!
their stories forgotten they ask me to sing home their bones
to find them in the stories of our people
they ask me to tether myself to them and to the stories
a chain unbroken we are stronger
the stories of those that came before the link
untethered we are lost
patient in our searching we may find a way out
of this place of loss
out of the wandering
that comes when one does not know
the stories of their ancestors
Published online September 26 2017.
Jónína Kirton received the 2016 Vancouver Mayor’s Arts Award for Emerging Literary Artist. A prairie-born Métis/Icelandic poet, she currently lives in the unceded territory of the Salish people. Her first collection of poetry, page as bone ~ ink as blood, was released in April 2015 by Talonbooks. Her second collection of poetry, An Honest Woman, was released just in time for the 2017 Poetry Month, again with Talonbooks.