poem index


Joan Naviyuk Kane

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Joan Naviyuk Kane is the author of two books of poetry: Hyperboreal (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2013) and The Cormorant Hunter’s Wife (NorthShore Press, 2009). Her honors include the Association of Writers & Writing Programs’ Donald Hall Prize and a Whiting Writers’ Award. An Alaska Native and member of the Inupiaq people—with family from King Island and Mary’s Igloo—Kane teaches at the Institute of American Indian Arts and lives in Anchorage.

by this poet


I let him do what he will to me—
we are traveling into the waves
and the ocean is torn by swells.

I am cautious. The moon,
it can barely be sensed,
it cannot be helped.

I learned something, I am learning.
I am untangling a rope.
I am caught by a breaking wave.



The enemy misled that missed the island in the fog,
I believe in one or the other, but both exist now
        to confuse me. Dark from dark.

Snow from snow. I believe in one—

Craggy boundary, knife blade at the throat’s slight swell.

From time to time the sound of voices