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Inuksuit Stand
by Jeannie E. Roberts

It's the stance, the frozen-in-silhouette sort,
the stand-in-line kind that happens at Walmart;
it's the endless queue, where you feel lithoid,
stone-like, waiting to break this barren stare,
to move forward, to assume your turn. But
until then, you're feeling Inuit-ancient, when
you imagine Alaska or Greenland, where
you see treeless landscapes with hand-laid
structures, rock cairns fused with lichen—
inuksuit transcending tundra, breaking barren
spaces, filling frozen regions with silhouette.
And while you imagine, you recall how each
inuksuk served a purpose, an aim higher than
your current goal of consumer, in a line of
other consumers waiting to check out. Fused
with lichen, upon this commercial landscape,
we stand purposeless as neither taggers
of travel routes, nor markers of hunting grounds,
flaggers of food or weapon reserves, not even
as symbolic storytellers. Nope. We stand
as practitioners of Walmart's "save money, live
better" slogan, where together, we―rock on.

*Inuksuit: Inuit name for rock cairns or stacks
meaning "to act in the capacity of a human"
(inuksuk is the singular form of inuksuit)

This poem appears in Romp and Ceremony, a full-length poetry collection
(Finishing Line Press, 2017)


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