Joan Naviyuk Kane

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  Summer Sea (Quilt) | Cindy Rinne

                     Natsumi Summer Sea (Quilt) | Cindy Rinne

Up the Mountain


Cover him with willows to spare

the ravage of wind which brings

a carrion bird bound from oxbow

to the bend of the cove—


we find no shelter, no firmament,

no family, no flicker of light save

azure beyond fissure of shore ice

and ocean, the current a warm river


once under, not open. My daughter

uncoils from her course mistaken— 

let us position her well even as the bird

banks, banked, and moves on.


She perceives, far off, my body

still body as it comes into glass,

breaking it. Until I release her

name to a newborn she will not


be retained in this song.

Bone Mineral


No way to ruse a flame back into being.

The ice doesn’t appear to move. One transforms

into an owl arising away and does not revert.


With it cold enough yet for the sun to be missed,

scrape the pitch to mend the rifts in the hull

of the boat split during rough portage.


We return together beyond the blue white churn

of the ocean, so vast, at the jut of rock.

There must have been known to us alone a line,


a brink, a bluff long private. One could not cross

the shoals or trouble surfaces left worse

without the turn from I did not know,


but now I know you. A life thick with pieces

now moving with concision: a hell of lexical

squall. Some do not deal with loss, but provision,


build, eye and embody. Her sky above the horizon

of stone and pewter light: row upon row of peaks

like teeth: winter furrows, snares of white.


The improbable order of ash and snow falling

back to fill the emptied sky: a blue bead I bury

to recall our quarrel. At the edge of a sea of milk,


you fled me following four hundred white foxes,

your trail of white hardened together with earth.

Salvage Phase


What he was

the man could make


& with little

assembled tools

devices                       devastations


called by stone

and saw

and blade

back into the small study

of solder and wire

filament  file and filigree

to destroy then rebuild

and refine again


one’s lungs fill with cold air

bone dust and a want

of space


livid hues of

synthetic stone


encircle the neck

with rope and a wreath

of rock


when I do not wish to

consider his hands

his money


plasticine discs

in a chop uneven

along my collarbone


for what else learned

to hold me together?

Peripheral Vision


It is not winedark. Its bright break a page of script repeating—

there is not land and land submerged. Everyone sleeps.

Let us return to chase the thoughts the waves erase

and rake over again in a mind following the heat of its fevers—


the woods gone white. Winter of a prime disturbance,

said before, subsumed, and said again.


Hours until the sun cusps the brow of the mountains

that ring the wolves away. A hush peculiar from months of rain

and wind lifting the eaves, rindling rot and gape. Child,


I am called to carry you to see the world, snowy as it was

before, but more so, and so still, with other snow yet overhead.



JOAN NAVIYUK KANE is the author of The Cormorant Hunter's Wife (NorthShore Press, 2009 & University of Alaska Press, 2012) and Hyperboreal (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2013). She's a faculty mentor with the Low Residency MFA in Creative Writing at the Institute of American Indian Arts.