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The North This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

Behold:
The shelter of smoke and coals,
the lives of two humans alone
woven together like spruce root bowls,
watertight.

Behold:
The lone wolf howls in the isostatic flats
pure lust in tooth white and fur black,
hungry.

Behold:
Aurora borealis behind cumulocirrus:
The Northern Lights
in a nightdress –
sublime.

And here I am.

Street lights reflected off of clouds in rusty ambience,
then off the snow, orange glow
thrown around so we can still find our way without a GPS
or moonlight or stars.
A four-hour day is only the lunchtime rest
and a 20-hour night is only one long moment
of coffee and Jim Morrison
back where I'm from

Where I'm from, the voices huddle under roofs,
hands cuddle under blankets and jackets,
ears congregate around the guitar and speaker cabinet –
and what they feel about it, they don't ever hold back
where I'm from

We bear scars in the wet
bears scar us back
long west sun sets on our
long black guns,
we see hung deer bags
like swung lunch sacks
yes, I've seen guns shot
but I've seen 44 mags splash
in the channel in memory of the dear
lives of lost freshman comrades
car crashes and liquor heads
leading U.S. suicide trends
90-year-old sourdoughs still smoking cheap cigarettes
this is the resilient slow death of the
wild
wild
northwest.

Where I'm from we are the etched
question how do we bear the scars
of the warrior chiefs and the abusive missionaries?
How do we treat the wounds of alcoholism and
prison visionaries?
How do I assume this humility
when the true weight of our history eludes me?

This land has seen too much death

we occupy the horizon,
the smile of the sky
mountainous jagged edge toothy sneer
reminding us what it takes to make here home,
clothe ourselves in smoke signals and cell phones
because nobody makes it alive in the North
alone.

Behold.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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