I am an old man in the west of my life.
In my dream, all the birch are stripped bare,
bones piled into walls —
deer skulls, the ribs of men, the hollow
spines of wings. I hang myself
from a tree for three days
to learn the songs of my mishomis
and from my father’s fence of kinsmen
I draw the words to forge. And you,
Wolf-with-Hands, Hunterson, sing
with me. We sing hunger from children,
sing away trolls and wendigos, sing hearts
whole, sing guns silent, sing bones unbroken
and buried in a body. Our voices break.
We dance until I fall. It is a good death.
In my dream, you build a great canoe
for the fire of returning to dust.
From the longhouse of my ancestors, I listen
as you teach the silent earth to sing again.