Under my hand, a stone bear in nesting circles carved by ancestors, behind me, the walking woods at dusk, feather and fur, the little stone, moss, and mushroom people— we all still and hush to look and listen. Beyond the barrier islands and reefs, where the sun sets blood red and thunderhead brew black and quickening, the abyssal heartbeat spirits deep within the bedrock upon which all of the dreaming is sown. I would call you by your first given name, Anishinaabewi-gichigami. I would make this offering on this ground, but what are words against the coming gale?
Recording of Lake Superior by M. Bartley Seigel
M. Bartley Seigel lives in the Keweenaw Peninsula, in Michigan’s western Upper
Peninsula, in Ojibwe homelands and Treaty of 1842 territory, on the shores of Lake Superior. He is the author of This Is What They Say (Typecast Publishing, 2013), founding editor-in-chief of the poetry magazine, Simple Machines, and founding editor emeritus of PANK Magazine, which he co-edited with Roxane Gay from 2006-2015. His poetry has regularly appeared in journals such as POETRY Magazine, Fourth River, Michigan Quarterly Review, Split Rock Review, Thrush, and elsewhere. He is Associate Professor of Creative Writing and Writing Center Director in the Department of Humanities at Michigan Technological University. He is the 2021-2022 poet laureate of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, and recipient of a 2021 Academy of
American Poets Laureate Fellowship.
Artwork by Christopher Schmidt