Waxed and Chalked

Palmfuls of wax
briskly applied to cold skin
the immanence of nightfall
a skyward trek, a dirt path
half-way up the mountain
the cement island waited.


Winter in Kyoto felt colder
than goose flesh
waxed and chalked
we stopped time.


Prayerful hands pulling upward
naked and prostrate
incessant is survival
heart center, bruised knees
one-hundred and eight
cyclical deaths.


With a dizzy step backward
darkness caught our play
shuffled us back
to the valley below
the glitter of city lights
cradled tokens, blessings
charms of the living.


There was no one else left
but us to warm up the bones
lightning bolts of white paper, zigzag folded
talisman guides silently marked the sacred
directing our exit onward.

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Nika Feldman

Nika Feldman is an interdisciplinary textile artist currently completing a degree in Indigenous Liberal Studies at IAIA. Feldman was born and grew up in the Northeast as a dual citizen between the US and Canada on the unceded territory of the Piquawket and the Mi’kmaq. As a descendant of both a settler-colonial population and an immigrant population, Feldman’s maternal ancestry consists of French, English, Scottish, and Irish, while her paternal ancestry is that of Eastern European Jews. However, more pertinent to the forming of Feldman’s identity was her immediate parental influences incorporating artistic ways of being and anti-establishment ideology.