stop at the edge of everything –
bend down and stick your hands in the dirt.
grab a fist full of soil and pull it close: inhale.
this earth has been here
since before nicâpân set
one foot in front of the other.
southerners from the city keep calling these lands a wasteland
because in the south all they can see
is bountiful opportunity everywhere
but north of Hope.
i come from where frost explodes trees
where grandpa makes coffee on the campfire,
grounds spilling into fried eggs.
i come from hunting seasons
and midwinter snow drifts.
if you listened to me you would hear
that this place is where the world begins –
you can stand at the edge of the bluff
and see where muskrat danced.
the knowledge i have from surviving northern winters
has helped me in this city
but i would be lying if i said i didn’t
dream of whiskeyjacks and grandpa’s alarm clock
roaring the CBC at 6am.
if one more white environmentalist
tells me that
the north is a lost cause
i will show him
a lost cause
if you lay on your back along the sukunka
you can see every star
this is where nipapa
pointed and said:
“that’s the north star. if you’re ever lost
you can follow her home.”