on the old tracks in fresh snow

it started to snow in the afternoon. you said, “see you later,” when you left. i tried to write for a bit; took a nap. you were at the theater before me, waiting. i introduce you to nikawiy and nikawis. when the lights dim, nehiyawewin infuses the air then flute and drums and soon all our cheeks are wet with lost lullabies remembered. i joke in your ear and translate and somehow we are holding hands, homophobic suburban moms forgotten, for once. auntie reassures me with her 8-string ukulele: don’t be afraid my girl, you belong in this world. and i know the depression is lifting but i’m still not sure if i can believe her. after the show we walk to the coffee shop and i pause at the train tracks until it’s almost too late… “can i kiss you?” two steps ahead, you turn, look around as if to say, “ah yes, this is poetic.” there on the old tracks in fresh snow. your lips soft, my glasses fogged up. you play it as cool as i have never been. is this what happiness feels like? later i take the bus home and my shoulders start to shake. thinking about how i didn’t think i would survive this fear. thinking about how i did what i thought i could never. thinking about those Cree women who gave me the gift of loving me more than any ideology. those Cree women who loved me so i might learn to belong in a world that didn’t want me because they did anyways. those Cree women who gave me the love i didn’t think i deserved. they give it with tears and they give it with laughter. this brief ease is hard-won. we weep for joy. and the snow has never before been so beautiful.

Meghan Eaker
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Meghan Eaker (they/them) is a queer, non-binary, mixed nehiyaw & white amiskwaciywaskahikan based poet, Registered Nurse, and member of the Woodland Cree First Nation. They are a PhD student in Indigenous Studies at the University of Alberta studying nehiyaw storytelling as a creative practice towards miyo pimatisiwin (a good life).

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