M.L. Smoker

“. . . linguistic diversity also forms a system necessary to our survival as human beings.”
–Michael Krauss

The sun has broken through.
Breaking through,
this sun—but still
today my words are dying out.
Still as I tell of stillness
of a very word
as ( ) as it leaves this world.

My grandmother was told that the only way to survive was
to forget.

Where were you?
Where were
you? Speaking of myself,
for my own neglect: too often
I was nowhere to be found.
I will not lie.
I heard the ruin in each Assiniboine voice.
I ignored them
all. On

the vanishing, I have been
mute. I have risked
a great deal.
Hold me accountable
because I have not done my part
to stay alive.

As a child I did not hear the words often enough to recognize
what I was losing.
There are a great many parts of my own
body that are gone:

where hands
belong there is one lost syllable.
And how a tooth might sound—
its absence
a falling.

Sound is so frail a thing.
( ) hold me responsible,
in light of failure
I have let go of one too many.

I have never known where or how
to begin.

Leave a Reply