The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: The Last Glacier at the End of the World by Vivian Faith Prescott

Much Addicted to the Superstitions of Their Ancestors

In Sámi culture there are hundreds of words for snow.

No one else looks as closely
at the edges of light, at the wavelengths,
refracting through ancient bergs.

No one else dreams of ice as he does
at the back of the bookstore
thumbing through musty old books,

how the scent of ancient things
causes him to swoon.
This is how he finds himself

stranded on an ice-floe
every morning, sitting on the bathroom floor
staring at the small crevasses,

those shallow cuts on his skin.
They say that with the help of a seer
one can see beneath the ice.

For thousands of years he’s wiped away
his same reflection—
bođus: ice-floes floating-separately collectively;

sáisa: mass of packed ice pressed up on or towards the shore,
from the wet mirrored glass,
an image of the light absorbing into him,

traveling deeper and deeper,
all colors disappearing until all that remains
is a shock of blue.

This selection comes from The Last Glacier at the End of the World, available from Split Rock Press. Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Nilsa Rivera.

Vivian Faith Prescott was born and raised in Wrangell, a small island community is Southeastern Alaska. She lives in Wrangell at her family’s fishcamp—Mickey’s Fishcamp. She holds an MFA from the University of Alaska and a PhD in Cross Cultural Studies from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. She’s a founding member of Community Roots, the first LGBTQ group on the island. Prescott is also a member of the Pacific Sámi Searvi, and writes frequently about Sámi diaspora and climate change in Alaska. She is a two-time recipient of a Rasmuson Fellowship (2015, 2019) and a recipient of the Alaska Literary Award (2017). Prescott is the author of four chapbooks, two full-length poetry books, and a short story collection. Her work has been nominated for Pushcart Prizes and Best of the Net. Along with her daughter, Vivian Mork Yéilk’, she writes a column for the Juneau Empire called Planet Alaska. For more information, visit: Twitter: planet_alaska and poet_tweet.

Nilsa Rivera Castro writes about gender and diversity issues. She’s also the Managing Editor of The Wardrobe and the Non-Fiction Editor of Doubleback Review. Her work appears or is forthcoming in Huffington Post, 50 GS Magazine, Six Hens Literary Journal, Assay: A Journal of Nonfiction Studies, Selkie Literary Magazine, and Writing Class Radio. She’s currently an MFA Nonfiction candidate at Vermont College of Fine Art and lives in Riverview, Florida.


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