Broadcasting Beacon

by Alice Rose Crow~Maar’aq

Weaved through North Arlington again 
to reach a(nother) long wait.

At a bank of inserted, taxed, maintained 
cross-lights on Benson at Lois
—after a Loussac library hold pickup and 
early evening Iñupiat oil inletside trail walk—
this gaze follows a named next-next-next-next-hext generation. 

A rubbernecking expat bicycler in-training. 

Above, on a signifying chicken-type 
wire-enclosed footbridge with an accompanying mountain/wolf tooth pattern
—raising up then pointing down—
a butt-ass naked budding Brown woman gestures wildly as she hurries 
across and back, 
back and across. 

A(nother) pacing

Traffic lights finally try 
Too late to veer east? 

Follow southeast. 

Turn onto Lois then signal 
to maneuver across and back. Check west and wait against a pulse of even more gawking passers. 

Navigate to reach Benson’s far north fourth/
third lane. Enter a southern side lot
of a gentrifying spec housing stock/customizing home constructor. 

Park at the foot of northern steps
where a burdened male stands deciding what to do?

Emerge from a dusty, pollen-strewn aging black Toyota sedan. 

From the stairwell base, he asks, 
Do you have it handled? 

Raise myself toward a fury of (yet) a(nother) ranting woman. 

Ask that particular questioning male, 
Would you please mind waiting 
to make sure I’m ok? 

Check both ears where long, patiently heated and shaped swirls of copper exchanged during a Friday evening stroll in Madison seven summers ago swing 
are swung. 

Unlatch a front door. 
Take a maybe-not-really-fading royal blue 
—Cabela’s Made in China Gore-Tex—
raincoat from a driver’s seat and ready to begin this climb. 

Just past a first landing: a fallen scarecrow.

A tan cashmere-weight
—shiny camel-lined—waistcoat, 
a folded then knotted bandana, 
sweats, top, undies, 
a patterned pair of 
crew socks and canvas sneakers, 
an almost full thin syringe beside a short stack of bright foil packets 
neatly arrayed across a southern side of an upper flight of northern cemented stairs. 

Above, a woman’s voice firmly announces, 
I never wanted to get married.
I never meant to!

Reach an overpass. 

She is striding with remnants of a naked brown woman’s body flowing below a full head of streaky chemically coppered hair. 

—still she— 
as I offer a hand-me-down tax-deducted raincoat. 

Are you ok? 
Raising her voice she makes her claim: 
I’m interrupting her broadcast. 

A screed?

Can’t you see I’m BROADCASTING?

Yes, slowly I nod. 


Where you from? 
Are you ok? 


She wants

—I want—

people to look and see 
what this city does to People.

She paces, gesturing across a nakedness 
that is her own brown

—patchy discolored and scarred—

yet still strong body. 


Look! LOOK!

See? SEE? 

HEAR WHAT IS BEING DONE in this place. What they are doing TO PEOPLE HERE. 


Look! LOOK!

See? SEE?

Still—quiet—slowly I ask, where you from? 
Offer the Bishop Attic’d 
double zipped ykk raincoat.  

Couldn’t there be

—isn't there—
a better way 

to solve problems we find here? 

How is this helping? 

Sweeping my right arm across more imported cars steady streaming east on Benny Benson below, suggest, 

people passing can’t hear hollered words 

but some will want to try call pole-ees 

because they do (not want to) see you 

naked like this. 

Cops could come take me to jail 
to make them all see Eve 
even if I have to do it 

Cocks then fires a pointer finger trigger. 

Asserts I’m taken over by evil, letting it—them—inside me. 

Asks, why did you let them inside? 
Get them out. 

I pinch a scarred brow and slow shake 
my head. No. 
More quietly now—

Where you from? 

Offer the fading royal blue raincoat. 

I would want you to try help
if you saw me naked and 
talking like this 

but I do see

I can’t really help you 

like this 

right now. 

As I start down those hard steps, 

she turns to face me, 

drops a knee, 

apologizes for forgetting her manners.

I look up to her

I mistook you for somebody else. 
You’re probably married 
and in bed by 9 and 
don’t know what happens at night. 
Girls, kids are sex trafficked...

She tells me her English language name. 
I smile.  Reply with mine. 

Out of respect for X and Y Z she says 
I will cover myself

Good, I say. Thank you. 

She steps down,
bending to reach for an outspread coat. Slowly turns each sleeve inside out, 
saying something about needing to do it like that because of how it was offered...
a man looking so sad...sad

The now not-waiting man calls out,
I’m leaving now. 

Pausing at a landing, I gesture toward plastic syringe and packets to say, please don’t put that shit in you...

Continue down. Reach a bottom and thank the back of a quickly-walking-away man. 

Thank you, sir,
I attempt

Circle round to drive away past a looking-down man now climbing into a low Audi
with its gleaming overlapping four-ringed symbol of progressive engineering. 

At the southbound stoplight on Lois,
I look east to see our latest kinswoman pacing across and back—
raging with nipples bared in a manner of Pauline Opangu. 

This time she is inside a sheen of an inside-out sandy coat shielding her scarred still strong aging Brown body. 

Aarpagtuq, aarayuli. 

Her words are in my ears as she shimmers in an evening sun echo-screaming, How many more Epsteins? Why so many Acostas? 

She is—we are—waning and yet still climb above enemies on all sides, all around. 

© Alice Rose Crow~Maar’aq

Alice Rose Crow~Maar’aq, was born for and raised on the Kusquqvak in southwest Alaska. She nests in Spenard, a southcentral Alaska westwardly neighborhood near water and take offs and landings. Ali is a momma, granny, lover, ilung, relative, and friend. She completed an Institute of American *Indigenous Arts MFA in Creative Writing under the guidance of Chip Livingston and Elissa Washuta. Her longer works remain underway. In them she explores dynamics of holding steady and moving forward in these times of rapid change and anomie. For whatever it might be worth, Ali is a member of the Orutsararmuit Native Council and is an original ANCSA Calista and Bethel Native Corporation shareholder.

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