Suzanne S. Rancourt
Taxis file through the access road, and use the rain, as they idle for customers, to wipe clean windshields, fenders, and hoods. No GPS to track these roads—notice how thick the mud splatter is on the Russian or European 4×4 or the two-wheel drive. This town, on the opposite side of the planet, reeks of North Dakota Man Camp. Taxi drivers and guides are the few locals who migrate from the mountains, plains. A few come from the cities like those ice road truckers above the Arctic Circle. But we are here in Ulgi. A stone’s throw from Kazakhstan. The money earned shuttling white tourists to the rural Altais and Eagle Festivals is one way to interact with the rhythmic dirge of coal mining, fracking, and oil hammer down. I’m transported back to Rosebud, Pineridge, NM, AZ, Northern Maine—shacks, plastic garbage everywhere. Alcoholism. Broken glass at sacred sights. Don’t. Don’t take pictures of that.
Sundress Best of the Net Nominee, Suzanne S. Rancourt, is of Abenaki/Huron descent and the author of Billboard in the Clouds (Northwestern UP), which received the Native Writers’ Circle of the Americas First Book Award. Rancourt is also the author of murmurs at the gate from Unsolicited Press, released in 2019. Old Stones, New Roads, Main Street Rag Publishers, released April 2021. She is a USMC and Army Veteran who holds degrees in psychology, writing, and expressive arts therapy. Please visit her website for a complete publication list: www.expressive-arts.com