a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society
I’m a Sámi-American living on the small island of Wrangell, Alaska at my family’s fishcamp.
at edges of light, at wavelengths,
refracting through ancient bergs.
No one else dreams of ice as he does
at the back of the bookstore
thumbing through musty old books,
how the scent of ancient things
causes him to swoon.
This is how he finds himself
stranded on an ice-floe
every morning, sitting on the bathroom floor
staring at small crevasses,
those shallow cuts on his skin.
They say with the help of a seer
one can see beneath ice.
For thousands of years he’s wiped away
his same reflection—
sáisa: mass of packed ice pressed up on or towards the shore,
from wet mirrored glass,
an image of light absorbing into him,
traveling deeper and deeper,
all colors disappearing until all that remains
is a shock of blue.
*In my Sámi culture we have hundreds of words for snow.
Vivian Faith Prescott was born and raised on a small island in Southeastern Alaska and lives at her fishcamp in Wrangell, Alaska. She holds an MA in Cross Cultural Studies, an MFA from the University of Alaska, and a Ph.D. in Cross Cultural Studies (UA Fairbanks). Her poetry has appeared in Prairie Schooner, North American Review, Yellow Medicine Review and elsewhere. She is the author of a full length poetry collection, The Hide of My Tongue, three poetry chapbooks, and a short story collection The Dead Go to Seattle (Boreal Books/Red Hen Press). She is a recipient of the Alaska Literary Award and a Rasmuson Fellowship.