40 YEARS OF CUTBANK: "On the death of Marie Smith Jones"

On the death of Marie Smith Jones

by Gabriel Furshong

Published in CutBank 75

The word does not exist for a glint of sound that unblends whitetail deer from hay fields

If a word exists, meaning

soft dangerous spot on the river

it is no longer felt through speech in the muscles of the feet.

When I heard no voice to withhold this absence I stopped the car and stepped outside.

Snow broke from my boots onto the black highway.

There is no word for a blur of land and light adrift in veils of heat.

*Marie Smith Jones (1919-2008) is the last known speaker of the Alaskan native language Eyak.