365 Poems – 188 The Arctic Years (Rough First Draft)
The Arctic Years
Death was tender last night.
I experienced his warmth
He left without me,
but before he went, he said
the arctic years are still to come.
Recollect the freedom
the north will bring to you.
He turned porridge with
a wooden spoon, and fed it to me,
while I dried snow from my blue skin
with his rough robe, and watched
the candle he’d made from bear fat burn.
I witnessed real dark last night.
The shadows didn’t startle me,
but I couldn’t go forward into them.
Death held my hands and said
the dead will always be waiting.
Explore the shadows of the forests first,
the darkness of the tundra in winter.
The past is rotten. Leave it outside
the arctic circle. Leave it behind
with the plait you chopped and stuffed
into your own mouth, so you
could stand the pain and try
to enjoy the release.
Listen, your dust is not ready
to settle yet. It’s not the time
for blood on your breath.
Work from within. Look forward
to spring from a distance, where
you can quickly drift into the great,
white expanse of the north.