is it my blood that makes me wander?

the diaspora of my soul    scattered 

over many lands     

the bones of my ancestors

how they pull on me     offering so many directions

yet how can I answer the many folded inside my body?

this body not my own        a shared place of suffering

                    it searches for safety 

looks for a cord tying me to you… and you and you 

and yet soon we will all leave this room

leave each other        it is then that I will feel 

how alone I am    in the territory of the Salish     

with the bones of my ancestors

                    scattered over many lands

some just north of here

Fort St James the place where many lay

others can be found at Turtle Mountain, the Prairies 

L’Anse aux Meadows and Iceland

as I trace their steps I feel them beside me    whispering

            look here — comes another voice — no here!

their stories forgotten    they ask me to sing home their bones

to find them in the stories of our people

they ask me to tether myself to them and to the stories

a chain unbroken we are stronger 

the stories of those that came before the link

                        untethered we are lost 

patient in our searching we may find a way out 

of this place of loss

out of the wandering 

that comes when one does not know 

the stories of their ancestors

Jónína Kirton received the 2016 Vancouver Mayor’s Arts Award for Emerging Literary Artist. A prairie-born Métis/Icelandic poet, she currently lives in the unceded territory of the Salish people. Her first collection of poetry, page as bone ~ ink as blood, was released in April 2015 by Talonbooks. Her second collection of poetry, An Honest Woman, was released just in time for the 2017 Poetry Month, again with Talonbooks.