Twilight Pain

I have died so many midnight moons,
most of night soil not realized until later.
In peculiar sleep, caught by a night-latched
mind like some dark dew on the breaching hips,
resemble a red blossom, birth & blood is the rose.
I pang & I hurt but a summons in black snow,
of ukpik, calls as white snow owls on black earth melt,
our catching eyes lock in deadbolt time & ukpik calls
moonlight across tundra, on a level plain
with a photoreceptor stimulated by light
floating to the blue hue of dawn.
At daybreak, my night person fades,
my drowsiness & lethargic body
rises to alleviate the deep
nightlong pain of restlessness.
It’s the light through purple celestial bodies
belonging to the daytime,
diurnal cycle, of wavelengths dancing
in & out nightmarish, lunacy.
Dancing with my namesake, there.
Living in the sienna’s myriad
mazes lost beyond found, alive but mostly dead.
I am brushstrokes of a painting half-finished.
What is not clear to me is the order
by which humans now go by.
Sometimes my tunicate, saclike body
fills with ill plague.
Illness disperses, dispels, vanishes in paint on a canvas
no different than multicolored wildflowers.
Distinguished only to a few,
not all flowers accounted for or named just yet.
There for a reason. I don’t know why,
how, when they came,
when they chose to leave
but I do know & wait.
I live in a dugout in the cliffs next to the ocean,
bluffs receding filling with seawater rising
from melting glacial ice. Across the inlet seal island
not far from my dugout.
They bark and sun themselves all day,
but are in constant fear of losing ground to walrus.
The tons of blubber could squash a seal
out of sheer creature comfort.
Walrus take over any small island
rolling around in the sand;
waiting for the coming schools of fish
voraciously hungry, grunting to the sway of wind,
sea of the long twilight hours.


From Blood Snow. Copyright © 2022 by dg nanouk okpik. Published by Wave Books. Reprinted by permission of the author and publisher.