iskwew

my kokum used to tell me: “if you wear your shoes on the wrong feet a bear will eat you.” when i moved to the city my kokum cried because cities have never been kind to us and there are threats bigger than bears chasing a toddler with her left shoe on her right foot….

otāskanaw

1095 days is a long time but so is 500 years I feel like i’ve been carrying this longing under my skin since a muskrat dived beneath the flood to grab dirt in our language we say “you are loved by me” i am still a visitor to the words that exist in my body…

askīy

i have bent myself backwards trying to find a place for myself inside of being                         b e a u t i f u l i have broken fingers and snapped tendons trying to make myself smaller. hoping to get by unnoticed and noticed but when you have this much history buried under your skin you’re…

omisa

i came here with razorblades hidden under my tongue hidden between my legs hidden between my knuckles we were never taught how to be soft and tender or how to find ourselves by using another’s veins as a map i came here with med’cines that are older than time planted beneath my eyelids we were…

kīkīwin

when you’re in the bush look for dead spruce grey and leaning sideways that’s where the muskeg is i’m at renfrew waiting for the bus to bring me to the final witnessing event apparently i’m supposed to heal today muskeg will swallow a human whole moose have sunk to the bottom so i’m told so…

pākahamakew

you have to soak the elk hide overnight. i have a stack of half-finished love letters that i have written to my body that all begin and end with the same word i’m not sure if i’m apologizing to myself or to someone else. you have to work the hide to make it soft rub…

nitotem,

  i can narrow it down to the last minute we talked i could probably tell you – what constellation i was standing under as you told me about the last three years of your life that i wasn’t invited into but that’s ok. i don’t fault you for it. we worked hard to stretch…

poem 5.

  “i’m almost there, five stops away” Commercial. McLean. Clark. Glen. Hawks. i’m minutes away from where the blood mixes & where i’m going to spend the next four hours exploring the shapes of acquaintances, beer, & cigarettes. if i close my eyes i can picture the road to my grandma’s house: head down 97N,…

mīkiwām

i’m beginning to learn that home isn’t where your heart is. i still have the key to my kokum’s old house, the one she lived in for years before my grandpa walked on. the house was old, held together by laughter and fights and loud Cree shouted through the telephone. the table in the kitchen,…

sīpiy

so i guess this is where we’re at. i’ve stretched your fingers apart for miles trying to see what rivers flow through them but instead all that exists in those spaces are wastelands. you can’t catch water with gaps like yours. i’ve followed the lines on your palm like traplines looking for something that i’m…

pipon

kisēpīsim – the great moon – january i’ve had this dream more than once. i’m standing where the rivers meet  i’m surrounded by faces that have features like mine they speak our language and point with their lips. i can’t understand what they’re saying mikisiwipīsim – the eagle moon – february you told me. i…

a letter to Joseph Boyden

tan’si Joseph, My name is Samantha; I am a Cree-Metis woman. My family comes from Ile-a-la-Crosse, Saskatchewan, but I grew up in Treaty 8 territory in Northeastern British Columbia.  I am writing this letter to you while I live on the unceded, ancestral territories of the Squamish, Musqueam, and Tsleil-Waututh peoples. I am constantly humbled…