Animal Figurine (by Joan Kane)

Two identical pools
Of tobacco-ash and blood—
Gunpowder would

Black the eyes
Of a seal carved of ivory
If provisions had not run so low

During an ill-omened
Over-winter. It is
Just as—

Against the bleached bone
Of the body, the storm
In its long hour—

Burnt fuel. The fixed
Discs of eye raised
In low relief. Not the replica

Of the solstice to scale,
But a focus of distance
Admitting light.

This is an original work posted by permission from the author. This work is not to be reproduced or replicated in any form without the express written consent of the author.


Joan Kane is Inupiaq Eskimo, with family from King Island and Mary’s Igloo, Alaska. She graduated with honors from Harvard College and received a writing fellowship at Columbia University and her M.F.A. in writing in 2006. A former Harvard National Scholar, Ice Floe Press awarded her the John Haines Award in 2004. She was selected by the Academy of American Poets as a semi-finalist for the Walt Whitman Award in 2006. With the assistance of a 2007 Rasmuson Foundation Individual Artist Award, has completed her first book of poetry, tentatively titled Otherwise Sky and scheduled for publication in 2009. With her husband and son, she lives in Anchorage, Alaska.

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