by Gina Williams
Night trains scream around the bend,
rattle brittle dreams as sleeping loons
drift apart beneath the Corn Moon.
They say the crumbling shacks
at the edge of town
are where Ojibwe elders go to die.
At dawn, birds cry out to mates—
beavers slap, birchbark canoes glide
silently to the other side.
We fry northern pike for breakfast,
watch fat bubble to the surface,
tails curl as if in final, futile resistance.
From here, you can smell the fire-forged knife
edge of everything, trace sinew-sutured lines
on parchment maps to the end.
Wild blueberries glisten after a passing storm—
we climb the hill to gather basketfuls for cobbler,
listening for ghosts in lodgepole pines.
Light slants through broken plywood walls—
an elder takes last breaths in a box
as we sup on taken fish and fruit.
Beneath a northern star
Gina Williams' writing and visual art has been featured most recently by Juxtaprose, River Teeth, Okey-Panky, Carve, The Sun, Fugue, Palooka, Boiler Journal, Whidbey Art Gallery, Black Box Gallery, and Great Weather for Media, among others. ginamariewilliams.com