[1] This piece is part of a larger collection of poems, Nez Perce Word for Shark, that draws on my heritage language of Nez Perce to explore the grammars of meaning and distinct aesthetics that emerge through its linguistic features. The collection also draws on figures and tropes from Nez Perce narratives.

[2] qú’nes/condor; hími:n/wolf; qoq’á:lX /buffalo; saq’antáyX/bald eagle; sík’em/horse or má:min/appaloosa; XáXa:c/grizzly bear

[3] “circles back” is a gesture toward the verb “cikilí:” (NPD 25) which means 1) return, go back, go home; 2) turn something over, turn something inside out.  

Beth Piatote is an ARC 2020 Poetry and the Senses fellow. This poem was written while on fellowship in spring 2020. Beth’s bio can be found here.