365 Poems/100 Skin-Walker (Rough First Draft)

Skin-Walker

The village buckles

under the strength

of the worst winter in years.

 

The snow is merciless,

the avalanches frequent,

as if the mountains

have lost their muscle.

 

Death is on the mind

of every man, woman and child.

 

I approach the mountain

which has no name,

look back at the prints

I have left.

 

They will never be the same.

I will never move

precisely like they do.

 

I put my head to the ground.

I can hear him, under the earth,

breathing steadily.

 

I hold the bear’s

rounded shoulders

while he dies.

The moon comes to look.

 

We roast the meat. There are stories

we haven’t heard for months,

and singing. Hips touch hips,

skin touches skin.

 

There is no darkness or hunger.

The cold that settled on

the children’s chests has lifted.

The young will see in spring

 

We distribute the teeth, whittle the bones,

hide away the skin.

 

Inspired by Scandinavian folklore.

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