On the death of Marie Smith Jones
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.