July 19, 2018

Manufactured Stress and Prayers for Peace

by Alice Rose Crow Maar’aq 

Manufactured Stress

I.
Manufactured stress creates false anxiety
to do their work

They watch through one-way glass
as you tire on the exercise wheel
first patented generations ago (on mice)

Add enticers to help you
Concede you prefer their bidding

Soon I hear you blubber
it was your idea all along

Your iluraq say they inherited positions
on the grind from our ancestors
long to believe you carry Tradition
when proudly raising an Indigene flag

If history began today
what would those anthropologists observe of you?
What do our children see?

Smile for their cameras

II.
Back then I mopped floors
tried scrubbing away the old stain
of muddy feet trekking to the mouse room
a kind of one-way mirror

They didn’t see me

I saw them emerge from their watch room
one paid the other for a bet made over you

He cashed in
when she said they could make you spin fastest
to the beat of their drum


Prayers for Peace

The wind carries prayers for peace

in winter prayers sting like the biting north wind
meet exposed tear-stained cheeks

Tears freeze and are wiped away

Prayers are heard

After the cold we go to our river
where prayers do not meet deaf ears

Alone we cannot send the ice to sea

Our faith is measured when every spring
what’s frozen becomes dangerous
rots 
and is sent away

Copyright © Alice Rose Crow~Maar’aq. All rights reserved.
“Manufactured Stress,” “Prayers for Peace,” “Ilumun No. 1” first appeared in Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies (Volume 23, Number 2, Special Issue: Indigenous Women, University of Nebraska Press). 2002.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Alice Rose Crow~Maar’aq was born and raised on the Kusquqvak insouthwest Alaska and nests in Spenard. Her work appears in the Brevity blog, Camas, Yellow Medicine Review, River, Blood and Corn, Retort, Frontiers, and Standards. Her book-length collection, An Offering of Words, is well-underway. Crow works with Chip Livingston and Elissa Washuta to earn a seat as a member of the inaugural class of the Institute of American Indi(genous)an Arts low-rez MFA in Creative Writing Program. She is a member of the Orutsararmuit Native Council and is an original Calista and Bethel Native Corporation shareholder.

We have stories / as old as the great seas / breaking through the chest / flying out the mouth, / noisy tongues that once were silenced, / all the oceans we contain / coming to light. —Linda Hogan



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