From CutBank 75
On the Death of Marie Smith Jones
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 language to withhold this absence I stopped the car and stepped outside.
Snow broke from my boots onto the black highway.
No word for a blur of land and light adrift in veils of heat.
- Maria Smith (1919-2008) was the last known speaker of the Alaskan native language Eak. _________________________
Gabriel Furshong writes from Missoula, Montana, where he works for the Montana Wilderness Association. His poetry has been published in the anthology, “I Go to the Ruined Place: Contemporary Poems in Defense of Global Human Rights” (Lost Horse Press, 2009) and the CutBank Literary Magazine. His writing has also appeared in High Country News, Earth Island Journal, Montana Magazine, Montana Quarterly, and Plenty Magazine.