Last winter I [had a thought, go out],ii hunt foxes.
, and, having come
to the opening of a little hut , I entered it
and apparently there was a fox there, I didn’t
see , but when it was seen and pointed to me
I could shoot
, but running after it I
finally lost my breath
under a rock,
pulled from there
, then I walked and walked
, and seemed to
be a fox but didn’t see , but
started to run again, shot , so
I came back two .
After I went to sleep,
the day got up again
to hunt fox [.] I passed
to the other side
up the hill
thinking how I was
daylight the hill
the north side,
a fire a little cave
until the morning,
a pit in the snow
slept in until the morning, daylight
and went home
i Told by Stepan Prokopyev, Attu, August, 1909. Cylinders 25 and 26 ( four minutes and
forty-five seconds). Transcribed and translated into Eastern Aleut by Jochelson and
Yachmenev with the help of Stepan Prokopyev, Umnak, 1910. Of the paired lines, the first is
Attuan, the second Eastern Aleut. The written text differs in several spots from the cylinders.
New York Public Library Manuscript 61.
ii Contamination (or copying mistake).
iii Some words missing
This selection comes from the book, How to Dress a Fish, available from Wesleyan University Press. Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Natalie Giarratano.
Abigail Chabitnoy earned her MFA in poetry at Colorado State University and was a 2016 Peripheral Poets fellow and 2020 Kenyon Writers Workshop Peter Taylor Fellow. She has been a resident of Caldera and the Wrangell Arts Center, and her poems have appeared in Hayden’s Ferry Review, Boston Review, Tin House, Gulf Coast, LitHub, and Red Ink, among others. She is a Koniag descendant and member of the Tangirnaq Native Village in Kodiak, Alaska, was raised in Pennsylvania, and is currently a consultant for a company in CO that works to facilitate tribal self-determination. Her debut poetry collection, How to Dress a Fish, was released from Wesleyan University Press. Visit her website at salmonfisherpoet.com for more information. Twitter Handle: @achabitnoy
Natalie Giarratano is the author of Big Thicket Blues (Sundress Publications, 2017) and Leaving Clean, winner of the 2013 Liam Rector First Book Prize in Poetry (Briery Creek Press, 2013). Her poems have appeared in Beltway Poetry, Tupelo Quarterly, Tinderbox, and American Literary Review, among others. She edits and lives in Fort Collins, Colorado, with her partner and daughter and is the city’s poet laureate.