Nora Marks Dauenhauer was named Alaska State Writer Laureate in 2013. She was born and lives in Juneau, and her first language is Tlingit; she began to learn English at the age of eight. She has a BA in Anthropology and is internationally recognized for her fieldwork, transcription, translation, and explication of Tlingit oral literature. Dauenhauer is the author of the poetry collection The Droning Shaman (Black Current Press, 1989) and Life Woven With Song (University of Arizona Press, 2000), a collection of poetry and prose.

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Slowly, without sun, the day sinks
toward the close of December.
It is minus sixty degrees.

Over the sleeping houses a dense
fog rises—smoke from banked fires,
and the snowy breath of an abyss
through which the cold town
is perceptibly falling.

As if Death were a voice made visible, 
with the power of