rivers like when you know their real names, it’s only polite
the northern pike laugh when you say saskatchewan
but appreciate the effort
of the girls living on the banks.
as kids, our parents drove my sister and i up to the columbia icefield,
told us to fill a water bottle straight from the source,
showed us the signposts of the receding hairline of ice
i can’t bring myself to visit now, to face the glacial m
in the treaty negotiations, we told them this agreement was to last
as long as the rivers flow
that the mountains were too sacred to be included in this treaty
as was the water (obviously)
we have been warned!
that glaciers that feed the arteries of our territory will vanish one day,
and then what will happen?
i used to panic about this particular treaty clause
i still panic thinking about our river no longer flowing
i was full of despair the summer the TMX pipeline was quietly
doubled underneath it,
while another plague hits the people,
who live along one of the rowdiest parts of the river
there was a small comfort to be savoured when i was told...
the rivers flowing references the fluid of nêhiyawak who give birth
(not just women)
this is one of the ways in which i am connected to treaty in perpetuity,
a demonstration of diplomacy, aqueous intentions, fluid continuity
today, the ndn sisters who drink glacial water surrounded by tourists
with their mom
(who would cut a bitch if anyone tried to steal them, as she was)
are just as much the flow, as the droplets from the mountains
Copyright © 2022 by Emily Riddle, The Big Melt, Nightwood Editions