“Okay but what’s Sami?”
Sometimes I take a breath,
Make myself say the word Lapp—
Then half the time they still don’t know.
I’ve said it for nothing.
Sometimes I find
A way to say, in the far north.
So they understand (but don’t care).
Once I told a small child,
“The reindeer people, sweetheart,”
And I saw in his widening eyes
His sudden, fervent belief
In Arctic shapeshifters.
Yes, that’s us.
The antlers are the hardest to manage
At first, but after two full moons,
We learn to spring unafraid
Over starlit fields, slip into
Browse a neighbor’s garden, then disappear.
For decades my grandmother hid this from me
But now I know
My own velvety snout, my sturdy hooves:
I changed shape in an instant.
© 2022 Marissa Lingen