Kimberly M. Blaeser

Hydroreality: My List of Water Words Grows

I have moved on from puddle, pond, creek, and wetland,
from slough, swamp, marsh, brook, river. I add lagoon, loch.
I swim stream, tarn, bayou, fjord, ocean, sea. Listen
then dream ziibi, zaaga’igan, mashkiig, and gichigami.

Now I am floating—beyond words, the writing of them.
Floating mysterious in aqueous body—my own. 
Porous vessel or sieve. We are suffused—holding nibi,
being held. Brain, heart, lungs—even our bones watery.

Liquidity the dharma of water, eternal blue essence—
our home. We are wet, ionized, H2O. Geyser or rivulet,
we condense, rain, freeze, splash as wave—transform. 
Nibi, our relative, manidoo spirit: alive, sacred, kin— 

we cannot own nor legal document this elemental being.
Nizhawenimaa—I bless, pour eternity over paper—

Recording of Hydroreality: My List of Water Words Grow

Kimberly Blaeser, a past Wisconsin Poet Laureate and founding director of In-Na-Po, Indigenous Nations Poets, is the author of five poetry collections including Copper Yearning, Apprenticed to Justice, and the bilingual Résister en dansant/Ikwe-niimi: Dancing Resistance. She is an Anishinaabe activist and environmentalist, an enrolled member of the White Earth Nation, and the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native Writers Circle of the Americas. Blaeser, a Professor at UW–Milwaukee and an MFA faculty member at Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, lives in rural Wisconsin, and, for portions of each year, in a water-access cabin near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in Minnesota. Additional information is available here:

Artwork by Christopher Schmidt

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