Naming Water | Carol Willette Bachofner

Image: United States Geological Survey
Gwantigok, Penawahpskek, 
		Passamaquoddy, Pashipakokee,
long rivers, long through the land you flow
long through us will you flow,
flowing from where the rocks widen,
from where pollack feed us.

Piscataqua, Androscoggin, Cobbosseecontee,
		Olamantegok, Quahog,
where water lies between the hills
through the sheltering place, 
to where sturgeon gather together
to red ochre river, color of our children.
Shellfish place, treaty-making place.

Sebastcook, Seninebik, 
		 Skowhegan, Baskahegan,
our stories flow
through little channels,
bearing rocks and memories
from where salmon leap the falls
to broad open waters,

turning back to where wild onions grow,
With birch and ash along their backs,
long rivers of first light
through our families flowing:
Wazwtegok, Winoztegok,
		Zawakwtegw, Gwantigok.

			Ndakinna.

Carol Willette Bachofner is an indigenous poet (Abenaki), watercolorist, and photographer. She is the author of 7 books, most recently Native Moons, Native Days (Bowman Books) and Test Pattern, a fantod of prose poems (Finishing Line Press)

Her poetry has appeared in various journals, such as Prairie Schooner, The Connecticut Review, The Comstock Review, Cream City Review, Crab Orchard Journal and others. Her poems have been published in numerous anthologies such as Take Heart: Poems From Maine (DownEast Books) as well as Dawnland Voices, An Anthology of Writings from Indigenous New England (University of Nebraska Press, 2013). She has won several poetry prizes, including the Maine Postmark Contest (2017).  She served as Poet Laureate of Rockland from 2012-2016. Her photographs have appeared in various journals, such as Harbor Review (2021) and Spirit of Place where her photograph, ”Rigged” was an honorable mention given by Maine Media Workshop in 2013.