In a strait, some things are useful.
Others, true, she turns to ash.
her head thick with arrogance,
infection and futility.
It could be how a young wife went,
strewn with net-veined willow
and mountain aven—
trespass, and wreckage.
She could write about the year
she turned to heat and haze,
to laze: immurmurat-,
imauraaqtuŋa. Of cannula
and silver nitrate. Of petiolus
and achene, about to begin again.
Of greens as they green. Of a man
aged, eskered. Of a confined gleam—
to hereby dissolve and hold for naught
the soil / gravel / silt groaning
as the tools of our penultimate glacier,
a glacier I might pronounce like grief.
One does wish for words to thaw
in the mouth, but find instead a tongue,
welt. Erosional or depositional, raised
& visible, rift into language & grit—
Copyright © 2019 by Joan Naviyuk Kane. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on December 26, 2019, by the Academy of American Poets.