When I write about being Saami, my sister
cringes. She doesn’t want us to be indigenous,
but rather middle-class. My father is divorced
from his heritage, the nuns having beaten
my grandfather’s fingers if he ever spoke
a word of a language that is now dead.
And I think of the death of language, how
the heart of words stops hyper-perfusing
so that the hands grow cold and the letters
turn pale and the lungs cease. I want to be
indigenous, but it is more than writing poems.
It’s becoming a shadow to drums, covering
yourself in the stillness of your ancestors.