Legacy of the Tundra

Julia Tupper / Vancouver, Washington

I live in a banished place.
I wander the frozen tundra,
Weary and alone.

The legacy of being silenced
Is the yearning for a voice...
To be seen and heard.
The legacy of neglect
Is the yearning for connection. 
The legacy of yearning
Is rejection.

The tundra
Is a desolate place
On a cold winter day.

There is no place to hide.
The exposure is life-threatening.
Every creature, save the hunter
Scurries from me.

So desperate am I
To share my soul,
For a moment
I even consider the hunter's eyes
A place I might find connection.

But the only eyes
Which connect with mine
Are two holes
At the end of a rifle,
Pointed at the wise place
Between my own eyes.

I drop my gaze
And once again give up
That moment of "maybe".

I have but one spurt in me
To avoid this murder.
And once again, I manage.

But the second the fear
Of domination-by-death recedes,
Loneliness and sorrow,
Sweep across the tundra of my heart,
As if the Arctic Ocean has come
To meet me where I stand.

And I am left only...
With wisdom born of sorrow...