how will I reconcile myself?
the Icelander and the métis
the settler and the
an ally to myself
since birth flung across a
I often wonder am I to
forever be
the way across
weak anchors at each end
my spine a flexible deck
and within my cables too
much tension
as some try to cross
we all swing wildly
in each other’s steps
without safety nets
the waves of emotion
threaten us all
and then there are times
that both sides seek to disown
to cut my cords
let me fall to the rushing
waters below
maybe one day I will just float away
see where the water takes me
but not today

today I will rebuild
this time no quick fixes no steel cables
or wooden planks
no rust no rot
no nails necessary
but rather the slow growth of twisted roots
from ancient trees
the way across a path
made of grandfather
grandmother stones
I will become a self-sustaining structure
gain strength over time
a living root bridge that lasts five hundred years

Jónína Kirton, “Reconciliation” from An Honest Woman. Copyright © 2017 by Jónína Kirton. Used with the permission of Talonbooks.

This poem was originally read in the Poetry Unbound episode “Jónína Kirton — Reconciliation.”