Monday, April 21, 2008

from Notes to Nomenclature


I should begin with adik, with reindeer and caribou. To know the geography of it, to start with its features.

Your face is this blur of fur and antler.

My story is the history of frontier, a wooded terrain. We could not see each other through the cacophony of trees. But I could hear you breathing. Some kind of wind the nose sings. Adze is a way of stripping the layers of. When the skin is stripped from muscle, cleaved from bone.

Agawaatese is not the sound but the shadow. An interception of light.


Offering. I have only this. A life without footprints.

From the rooftop anything is possible. Free of ground and its gravities, there is no track of your departure. I found a book of two tongues from which I describe twilight. I too am this in between thing.

Miziwekamig is not earth. It is adverb; it is strewn about and across. Aki is the name by which the earth is called in secret, what I would have whispered into the soft yield of your belly if you had remained. Now, alone, I could call the world akiiwan, this celestial body. To be gravity and mass, to cling to what you know. I would have given you this, my slippery tongue, but you were walking backward toward the edge of the rooftop. Beyond you was the emptiness of horizon, asphalt, another inanimate future self.


Dawn is not self referential. Neither is dusk. If I could speak this, if I could, anishinaabe-gaagiigido.

I know only what language makes possible. A tenuous transmission of. I could describe it as inendaagozi or inendaagwad, but meaning is something else entirely. To be remembered is not to hold the idea of oneself, some bundled thing wrapped against the cold.

You once said that nouns were for accumulation, for bartering and trade. Use everything you can, you said. I have laid out all my assets on the rooftop. There is some duplication, an echoing of. In which language should I describe the different parts of me? Inzid, my foot. There is another.

By dusk the buzzards have blanketed the sky overhead. There is shadow and body, memory and mass.

I have sorted the dismembered pieces of me according to their function. Apendage is crowded, but indengway has no one beside her. What can one do with a face? Peel back the skin and her features are indistinguishable. Remove nishkiinzigoon and, now sightless, she is without point of view.

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