Joan Naviyuk Kane is the author of Milk Black Carbon (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2017), Hyperboreal (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2013), and The Cormorant Hunter’s Wife (NorthShore Press, 2009). Her honors include the Association of Writers & Writing Programs’ Donald Hall Prize and a Whiting Writers’ Award. An Alaska Native and member of the Inupiaq people—with family from King Island and Mary’s Igloo—Kane teaches at the Institute of American Indian Arts and lives in Anchorage.
I let him do what he will to me—
we are traveling into the waves
and the ocean is torn by swells.
I am cautious. The moon,
it can barely be sensed,
it cannot be helped.
I learned something, I am learning.
I am untangling a rope.
I am caught by a breaking wave.
The boat is rolling from side to side
I tell of my going to town—
What he threw broke through,
it has broken away.
Translated into English from Inupiaq by the poet.