Juliane Okot Bitek

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Yesterday my skin became the sky
& you remarked     the sky is so blue
last night you said     the stars are so bright

you couldn’t see that i was imploding
that the stars are a sign
that there will be no sky tomorrow


Tree stumps in a clearing
like children right before the lunch bell

a wooden coffin     a backdrop of unending forest
soon     the coffin whispers
soon     the trees nod in response

three children by the wayside waving at the bus
the bus roars past
i’ll be back    the bus wants to say
kids only hear     back!


Between this full moon & the one before it & the one before that
& before that & before that going back some time
a woman steps into a place that vibrates at such a high frequency
that she disappears altogether
we never see her again
we call her name among the murdered and the missing women

what is it about the men of the franklin expedition that we must never forget?


Juliane Okot Bitek is a Vancouver poet. Her 100 Days (University of Alberta 2016) won the Glenna Luschei Prize for African Poetry. She is faculty at Fairleigh Dickinson University.