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Make Like a Caribou and Hide

first published in Tripwire Journal 2020
Tawahum Bige

Shield: oak & steel, a business

suit of plate male—

tectonic eruption in a body strong 

enough in its violence

to lift a pipe above his head

in a kind of ceremony.


Guardian, reflective green vest

unlike summer birch—shiny

& wrinkled with a walkie-talkie.

Remember the dogs

and who trained them.

Zip-ties tackle isolated



The protection, environmental,

technologic like the sword

           or the saw

mill or the Dawn

dish detergent

to clean a duck-feather

while the spill shrinks

            or kills

the sturgeon & salmon.


           The white

            blood cell

doors & bars to hold

quantified quantum

while the white ford

F-350 carries a jet-ski 

to smash plastic scraps

over the stones, gray

in the brook.


Brace your wrist—

for impact—the oil tanker

has run a ground 


assessed itself safe—to transport

jobs & camps & men & missing, murdered

women spilled like oil

into the river.


1984 taught me many things

like how they will make a statement

but mean another,

apology, declaration, ruling—

the tree is just growing 


and without roots, look

how it splits into two, 

wood pulp sawdust

a cloud that prospers


into our lungs:

metal fragments

& safer alternatives—


lead is toxic

but see how its thickness

stops an invisible radiation,

it’s merely a necessary evil

to piss blood. 

octopus with background.jpg



Cover Art by: Brandon Gabriel



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