Aanii ezhi pagozi dibikgiizis? / How does moonlight taste?
Aanii ezhi noodin pagwad / How much does the wind weigh?
Aanii ezhi ezhichigeyaamba / What do I need to do
Ji-nsostaawaag waawaateseg / to understand the fireflies?
Jiimaanan ina n’ga pagadanan giizhigong / Throw kisses or canoes to heaven?
Maage mikzhaweyaanh gdo’wiikweodenong / Or row to a heart’s shore?
N’wii bodewaadiz gonemaa / Perhaps I will set myself alight
Miidash tonaanan shkodensan shpemsigong / then place the flames in the sky
Anongziibike minajiwong dibikong / making a river flowing through night
Miidash wii baashkaazoying dibishko / where explosions echo
Zaagigaabaag ziigwaning. / the bursting leaves of Spring.
Bíonn dúil le béal farraige ach cha bhíonn dúil le béal uaighe.
There is hope from the mouth of the sea but not from the mouth of the grave.
– Ulster proverb
Chigaaming shkitoyaanh bagosendamyaanh,
In the sea I can hope
jibaaygamigong anamiyaanh chikeyaanh.
in the grave I pray alone.
Wenesh waa ezhiwebag pii baasadengak kaanan?
What happens when the bones are dried?
Pii niibishensan mitigens bid?
When the little leaves have become sticks?
Pii gokoshag taawagag ziitaaganing?
When the sow’s ears are in salt?
Maamwimaajaan ina Anishinaabemoyaanh miinwaa neseyaanh?
Do they leave together, the language and the last breath?
Enya gonemaa enya
Yes maybe yes
mii wii boonendaamaang
it will be forgotten
mii wii waanendamaadizoyaang
we will forget ourselves
pii chigaming gaawin noondoosiimaang
when we no longer hear the big waters.
Vicki Lawrence has many years of experience in journal management and in writing and editing for publications in science, health, medicine, and the arts and humanities. She has an MFA in writing and literature from Bennington College and also writes fiction.
The University of Michigan Library's Michigan Publishing maintains an electronic archive of past issues of Michigan Quarterly Review. To search through the complete electronic text of this archive you can use the search facility set up by Michigan Publishing