Sunday Poem

The Where in My Belly

Scientists say my brain and heart
are 73 percent water—
they underestimate me.

A small island—minis, I emerged
among Minnesota’s northern lakes,
the where of maanomin—wild rice in my belly.

I am from boats and canoes and kayaks,
from tribal ghosts who rise at dawn
dance like wisps of fog on water.

My where is White Earth Nation
and white pine forests,
knees summer stained with blueberries,
pink lady slippers open and wild as my feet.

I grew up where math was Canasta,
where we recited times tables
while ice fishing at twenty below,
spent nights whistling to Northern Lights.

I am from old: medicines barks and teas;
from early—the air damp with cedar
the crack of amik, beaver tails on water.

Their echo now a warning to where—
to where fish become a percentage of mercury,
become a poison statistic;
to where copper mines back against
a million blue acres of sacred.

I am from nibi and ogichidaakweg
women warriors and water protectors, from seed
gatherers and song makers.

The wet where pulse in my belly whispers and repeats
like the endless chant of waves on ledgerock
waves on ledgerock on ledgerock on waves
on water. . .nibi

by Kimberly Blaeser
From Split This Rock

Listen as Kimberly Blaeser reads “The Where in My Belly”.