Umpaowastewin




Umpaowastewin

Umpaowastewin

by Margaret Noodin

This poem was published in the January 2016 issue of Poetry Magazine. Founded in Chicago by Harriet Monroe in 1912, Poetry is the oldest monthly devoted to verse in the English-speaking world.

 
Umpaowastewin

For Pat Northrup the Jam-maker and Jim Northrup the Word-crafter. Umpaowastewin means Beautiful Daybreak Woman in the Dakota language and is the name given to Pat Northrup.

Ode’iminibaashkiminasiganke
She makes strawberry jam

ginagawinad wiishkobinoodin, waaseyaagami
mixing sweet wind and shining water

miinawaa gipagaa nibwaakaa,
with thick wisdom

bigishkada’ad, dibaabiiginad
pounding, measuring

gakina gaa zhawenimangidwa
everything we’ve cared for

gakina gaa waniangidwa
everything we’ve lost

nagamowinan waa nagamoyaang
the songs we have not yet sung

miigwanag waa wawezhi’angidwa
the feathers yet to decorate

ezhi-zhoomiingweyaangoba
and all the ways we’ve smiled

mooshkine moodayaabikoong
filling jars to the brim

ji-baakaakonid pii bakadeyaang
to be opened when we are thin

boozangwamyaang biboong besho
sleeping deeply in winter near

gaa oginiig endazhi-ginibigiwag
where the tomatoes once grew.