Interloper

  Driving to a trailhead with sunrise blazing scarlet over cool mountain umber. See the profile, the ears, a coyote’s silhouette in a place you wouldn’t expect. Yes, there. Perched on a concrete barrier, rushing lanes of traffic on either side. Stop the car. Not natural, this posture, this poor choice of place for hesitation, yet eyes alert, paralyzed panic,…

2017 Introduction by Santee Frazier

“So while the Progressives allow the noble savage to be the guardian of the wilds and on occasion the conscience of ecological responsibility, the end result of their view for Indians is the same as its counterpart view of American Indians as howling denizens of a terrifying wilderness.” –Paula Gunn Allen “It is our awareness of the spirit of a…

Flirting with Running

In discounted sneakers, Fred Meyer yoga pants, a tank top from a second-hand store, and an extra-supportive sports bra inherited from a fellow MFA student whose husband works for Patagonia, I am relieving residency tensions by flirting with morning running. Flirting, because a flirtation has benefits that a commitment negates—i.e., I don’t feel compelled to invest in pretty gear; whenever…

My “Cool” Mom

I had a cool mom growing up. I don’t mean cool like she let me have ice cream for breakfast or let me have slumber parties on school nights. For me, cool is more of a cover-up which I don’t have to explain to others. They normally don’t ask me to, they just laugh it off because they only know…

Changed My Perspective

Being Navajo was just my ethnicity, nothing more, until I had finished a semester at Diné College. I knew some words of the language, my clans, the Navajo wedding basket, weaving, and traditional attire, but I did not know the significant meanings or teachings behind them. It was the classes I took that changed my perspective on who I was,…

There’s No Place Like Home

There are days in my life that I suffer flashbacks from childhood. Memories of growing up in the big, white stucco house located in the center of town. The only house in Pine Ridge guarded twenty-four hours a day by a huge ceramic German Shepard permanently resting on top of the cracked cement porch. He has sat there so long…

My First Bowling Plaque

The sunlight blazed brightly through the thin, white curtains of the motel room, piercing the darkness. Drowsy from the night before, the anticipation of the day’s upcoming events consumed my thoughts. I glanced over to the table by the window to see Rainie sitting there looking out into the cool Montana morning, sipping on a cup of coffee. The dust…

Learning to Be Silent

Where I came from I don’t know. Sometimes I existed in the present, at other times I seemed untethered from my conscious mind. I recall a black kerosene stove sitting in a moat of light at the rear of the one room where our family of five lived. The two older children helped with chores. Because I was the youngest…

2016 Introduction by Joan Naviyuk Kane

Our Literary Homes: An Introduction to the 2016 Edition Illiruq, in the King Island dialect of Inupiaq, means “(s)he is building a house.” One makes poems through the construction of stanzas. Metaphorically and etymologically, poems, like houses, are made of little rooms, places for dwelling. Aside from the formulaic ways in which one self-consciously tries to come at introductions like…

Wolf Point Roads

When driving on the roads in your own city or town, how do they feel? Do they feel pleasant to drive on? If your answer is “no” then join the club because we’ve got jackets. The roads in Wolf Point, Montana, are awful.