Dance Practice

Fannie Akpik
leads her dance group
at the high school hallway in Utqiagvik.
clear as a loon's call,
as the warm center of the lagoon where dreams come to surface.
Songs erupted from the Qargi,
flash in the dark,
piece of the moon bitten off,
landing at the tip of the drum stick.
Sealgut covering of prayers
whirring like wind slipping into tied-up hoods.
Whalers come home
to their Elders' voices,
their hands that shape sod and clear snowy pathways,
enunciating real people sounds that shiver
on the tunnel between the heart and throat.

Copyright © 2020 by Ishmael Angaluuk Hope. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on November 27, 2020, by the Academy of American Poets.