translating ‘owl’

By 
michele marie desmarais

uluka
my Sanskrit owl
vahana, vehicle of Laksmi
sharing the name with
a muni, sage
that term from silence
itself
uluka
a kind of grass
sound in grass
perhaps
uluka
the quiver i feel
crossing cultures
deva-nagari
the script
a divine city
the arrival of language

aen yiiboo
hiåhaå

Michif
Dakota
owl
English
dread as i pass
mixed
translating blood
liminal as feather

uluka
aen yiiboo
hiåhaå

owl
words don’t become you
translate this, for instance:
the absent sound
as you dive
from branch to life
the breath
beneath you
as it leaves
limned with silence

michele marie desmarais was born and raised in Vancouver. Her background is Métis, Dakota, English, and French. Along the way, she also learned Sanskrit. Recent publications include poetry in Yellow Medicine Review, ISLE Journal, and Room. She lives in Nebraska but visits home frequently.

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