Notes From a Backwoods Saami Core (from 19 to 24)

by Sigbjørn Skåden

Notes From a Backwoods Saami Core (from 19 to 24)

Note 19

Down by a place where two rivers meet there is a meadow. If the time is right he who passes here will hear infants crying. These are the unwanted new-borns, left here to die by a desperate father or mother. Every seventh year these children return to the place where they were abandoned. We call them eahpádusak, human apocrypha trapped between existing and never having existed. That is why they return. That is why they cry. Only by performing an ancient baptising ritual all may be alleviated. Only then it will all be over.


Note 21

“I wash the dishes the Saami way,” he says.

“How so?” says the anthropologist.

“It’s in the wrist,” he says. “But for people who are not so familiar with Saami culture it might seem like I do it exactly the same way as everyone else.”


Note 23

My coffin is slender, skinned trunks of willow, tightly bound.

My coffin is old postal bags, split and sewn to a snug cocoon.

My coffin is nightfall and the following day.

My coffin is the particularly roomy ski box I got so cheaply in Sweden.

My coffin is a boat, with no sail, no oars, and the sky open above me.

My coffin is the wind, and entrusted men carry me onto the mount.


Note 24

Much later they arrived at a place. They viewed the land.

“This looks rather okay,” he says.

“Yeah,” she says.

“We’ll settle here”, he says.

“Yeah,” she says. 

Sigbjørn Skåden