Nipiy

By 
Marilyn Dumont

Water, is taught by thirst.
Land — by the Oceans passed.
Transport — by throe —
Peace — by its battles told —
Love, by Memorial Mold —
Birds, by the Snow.

Emily Dickinson, “Water, is taught by thirst”

 

If our gratitude dries parched, we think nothing of        water

If our tongues shrink, we  think of nothing       but water 

 nothing of water; foresight        shortened

dry, memory of                           these -dry -days

thirst is to recall water, call back self, 

relief in dry season

maskikapoy       the recall of water     its ebb and flow

wave  together  call water   clear

call water          cold

call water          fast

call water          clean

call water          medicine

mint or Labrador   steeped

from earth to vessel to table

vessel to vessel                         poured    out

poured through 

one vessel   to another

 


nipiy: Cree for water
maskikapoy: Cree for tea

Marilyn Dumont’s poetry has won provincial and national awards. She has been the Writer-in-Residence at five Canadian universities and the Edmonton Public Library. She has also been faculty in Literary Arts and the Aboriginal Emerging Writers Program at the Banff Centre. She is an associate professor in the Department of English/Film Studies and the Faculty of Native Studies at the University of Alberta. Her most recent collection, The Pemmican Eaters, won the Writers’ Guild of Alberta 2016 Stephen G. Stephansson Award for Poetry.

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