Sonnet 17: Sápmi

The call keeps dropping for the Arctic photographer
on NPR, his voice fine and crisp and then suddenly
drowned in a closet, choked by the devil, when he
desperately wants to explain how the ice is knighting,
how loss hollers hollow, its voices drained, and I
want to call in, explain my indigenous Arctic heart,
its aortic streets pumping snow, how polar deserts
of my past keep rising, and my father told me that
the dead children can be seen if you stare deep
into blizzards, and the radio turns to static, my car
aching into the stretch of Seney on my way home
in May, a snowbank still clinging to some forest
shadows, and the caller battles to warn the world
but the world is losing to sounds of decomposition

Ron Riekki wrote U.P.: a novel and edited The Way North: Collected Upper Peninsula New Works (2014 Michigan Notable Book), Here: Women Writing on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (2016 Independent Publisher Book Award), and And Here: 100 Years of Upper Peninsula Writing, 1917-2017 (Michigan State University Press, 2017).