Launch! Prince Arthur Hotel! Sept.5. Cake, beverages. Launch 7:15 pm. (NOWW AGM 6:30.)

Launch! Prince Arthur Hotel! Sept.5. Cake, beverages. Launch 7:15 pm. (NOWW AGM 6:30.)
Prize Winning Stories from NOWW

Friday, September 10, 2010

Kaministiquia Totem Poem

Kaministiquia totem poem

by Maureen Ford on Friday, September 10, 2010 at 12:04am
Kaministiquia totem

At a certain time in the morning, the river flows so quietly that its surface becomes
a looking glass. Rock, tree, moss and shadow play the painter. 
As if in answer to a Shaman’s rattle
the shoreline gives way to a totem’s symmetry. 
I watch silently from the bank, waiting
to see if the beached gods call
the river denizens to worship, but
it is apparent, on this final morning of summer, that there is only me. 
With a wordless prayer I call to the totem, and as the glass opens, I slip in.

The whiteness of my skin glares
against the cool dark water until
I am fully submerged.
The transformation is begun. 
White turns to bronze, turns
to smoky emerald as, deeper,
I sink into the river.  I am
disappearing, dissolving, the edges of me absorbed by Kaministiquia.  Together,
we breathe water and air.  Above us, waterbugs tat lace of sparkle and light.

Suspended in almost imperceptible current,
an alchemy is performed between consciousness and the water’s reflection. 
A summer’s memories animate the shoreline as we pass: otters, where the reeds part for sliding,
a bear at water’s edge below the firepit, beavers near the creek,
and a whole family of morganzers
in the shallows beyond the sandbar.
From within the river, the marks I have left are few: a sleeping tent, an office floor, last summer’s bridge and this summer’s outhouse.  The river and I exchange secrets in whispers, the locations of new channels cut by the season. 


At the mouth of the creek, Kaministiquia deposits my scattered reflections
in the silty bank.  Creamy filaments woven
of the bronzed river and my own milk insinuate themselves into the muck
like the tenderest shoots of sweetgrass. 
I emerge, crawling across the gravel shore, corporeal again.  The glass seems undisturbed. 

Meegwich Totem,                             
Meegwich, Kaministiquia.

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