Poetry Month #19: Three Poems by Audrey Powers-Wiggins

Excerpts from Sami by Audrey Powers-Wiggins

Letter Home

Effects yield to

and old, yet familiar regime.

As fire, water, and the past clings to the humpback whale.
Intuitively, she tries to navigate away from harbor and escapes by kayak only

On the next wave,
she searches for relief by tele-
phoning to a dolphin that has no strength in swimming
or in dealing with a walruses’ need to end her own life.

Malice creates in –organic forms while
ruling forces of fire and water,
give birth to pre-historic mammals
that harkens back to include
neolithic eels that the old times obey.

A strange bearded monster rises up.
It overwhelms the stormy, grey seas.
He maneuvers away from Anchorage
by overturning a bike and canoe,
while the Russians leave by boat with only
Morphine and its purpose
that parents fleeting anguish.

Uniting this with alcohol
and you get an aged,
yet neoteric arthritic release.




Before Her

Movement of a people
from one camp to another
and yet the Japanese are
unable to bomb due
to the spirit of Tagituk.


Remnants of an airplane
lie on the Mayuwaaq,
buried by large rocks
after the Russians
bomb down a U.S. plane.
Intestines of people lay
strewn over the tundra.


The U.S.  Army comes
to bury Hazmat materials.
Fifty years later
signs are posted
stating, “Do Not Pick Greens!”
Fifty years before
Annana’s like ants,
wearing traditional dresses,
carry pots, pans, and snacks
for the days of gathering greens
for the following winters when
there will be no vegetation.


Can you hear the ice coming in?
Can you hear the ice breaking up?


Sugar Shack opens,
where Apa makes pies;
coffee is served
while a grandfather punches out
the postmaster’s dad over the
loss of a Checker’s game.


Apa becomes a U.S. citizen in 1956.
She recounts of a time when
her best friend teases her about
her slip showing.


The grandchildren pull their apa on a sled,
counting the many layers of traditional dresses,
and pulling and pinching her saggy skin.


Girl twins are born,
one dies at birth
and the other at the age of fifteen
(swallowing pills?)


Apa catches the coughing blood disease,
is removed from the village, and sent to
Seattle for sixteen months.
Her father gets another girlfriend
that hits him over the head
with a glass bottle while
blood streams down his face.


A clan-mother shaves the children’s
heads from the lice infestation
that came to remain.

For McCauley Manor


Pinching fingers cut
a bit of meat
from a larger piece
while a green velvet coat
barricades a showing belly.


A mother and daughter
are no kin together
while a daughter in court
sings of all ills
to an old willow.


Endure living with a nun
in a shady convent
while the worth of her virginity
makes bold her modesty
in the cold, fruitless room.


In the glimmering night,
fly from this place
with Sadie
who composes beauty
out of long dandelion chains.

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