Gillian Joseph

wičánȟpi [is Dakȟota for star]

I traipse in a forest dense
with fallen trees’ reverberations
few lend an ear to

how sweet, walking among the sap of languages.

grasp for any syllable distinguishable
from white noise, colonized vernacular
birthing a cacophony

the glare dims; now richness, now depth
finding myself among whispers
layering over each other

learning requires:

first.    giving up control
            beneath the canopy

next.    listening to night fall
            branches drawing
            curtains on day

then.    immersing, immersion, immersed

they take turns
sing to the moon
in their native tongue

brightening, fading
growing, shrinking
the universe is their stage

who am I to an audience of planets?

although there’s no interpreter
I know one star sings of love
their words unfurl, cradle my head 

left in quietude’s expanse, searching
overhead for them, pleading
for an encore, remembering

this is all transported 
borrowed time before
the unbearable beam of english

projected out and up
polluting [do not
confuse with outshining]

leaving in its wake
opaque colors
a canvas painted over

meant to trick the mind
into believing nothing, no-one
was here prior

Gillian Joseph (they/them) is a queer, 2-Spirit Ihaŋktoŋwaŋ and Mdewakaŋtoŋwaŋ Dakota storyteller who grew up as a guest on Waxhaw and Catawba lands. They are an assistant folio editor at Anomaly and enjoy spending time near mní (water) + trying to figure out what their dreams mean.