VIVIAN FAITH PRESCOTT
This paper explores anthropogenic climate change influencing displacement/migration for the Sámi in Alaska.
- Center for Global Climate Migration Research
A body will rise with the summer thaw, spring currents
will bring another to shore. There is still no trace of you
as the light falls, as shadows gather into the silhouette
of a creekbed, or appear as a log balancing on tide.
I keep glimpsing a body here and there. It’s all in your
imagination, they say, this warming, this disappearing.
But this is how we will lose our next generation:
They are awakening from centuries of eroding shores.
Scattered about are flanges and teeth, a mandible perhaps.
One summer I discovered a few bones beneath
our small porch. We gave them to the high school
biology teacher for identification. He never returned them
but said they weren’t human. Deer? Bear? I only know
that someone is missing the missing here and we still need
a ceremony to rid us of our cravings and the gnawing
and the scratching at the edges of what we’ve become—
But it’s not for want of trying. Again and again,
we’ve tried shifting us into the shape of ourselves,
struggled to pull velvet horns over our heads,
tried enfolding into our shaggy haired coats,
and slipping our hands into claws and hooves.
*At present about a dozen Sámi live on the island of Wrangell, Alaska
Vivian Faith Prescott is a fifth generation Alaskan of Sámi heritage living at her family’s fishcamp on the small island of Wrangell located at the mouth of the Stikine River. She’s the founder and co-facilitator of Blue Canoe Writers and Flying Island Writers in Sitka and Wrangell. Her poetry has appeared in Yellow Medicine Review, Cirque Literary Journal, Poecology, and elsewhere. She’s the author of a full-length poetry collection, The Hide of My Tongue (Plain View Press), and her 3rd chapbook Traveling With the Underground People is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press (July 2017).