Snow Sucked Clean/New Poem (Rough First Draft)
Snow Sucked Clean
He knows the way home,
even when the moon has been
consumed. But this night, the air
is colder than he can ever remember.
The inside of his small head
feels like an igloo’s outer walls.
He is young enough to recall
being wrapped in caribou skins,
suckling from his mother’s breast,
watching the world from over her shoulder.
But today, he began to learn the way
of man. He now knows the sensitive
spots of dogs; legs, tips of the ears, nose.
In a few days, he will be taught
how to control the whip.
He moves quickly, can smell
the dogs before he sees them,
hear their fur crackle with frost.
He can taste the coats of the animals
his father introduced him to,
smell their damp underbellies.
They bury his small body in chaos.
He hears the drumbeat of the dead.
His stomach swiftly becomes
a black voids, his intestines a rich,
once in a lifetime treat.
The heat from his blood clots
into fog, white as the Arctic fox’s
deep winter coat.
The hours pass.
A new outcropping of ice gathers
around the door.
The waiting father naked, seeping
in sweat, meets the scent
of his dead son.
The dogs have sucked the snow
clean, there are no bones,
no sealskin gloves, no nothing.
His first born will no longer crunch
seal eyes, eat the grass from the first
stomach of a reindeer.
He will not wear the pair of bearskin pants
his mother was sewing in secret.
There is less air to breathe now.
The father thinks how he could have
used his thumbs to press back in his
son’s guts, if I would have arrived on time
The mourning makes the home cold.
The Father speaks of hope.
He will travel with us on bear hunts.
he will move in front with the dogs
and meet the horizon.
Outdoors, dogs sleep, tails tucked
under noses, warm meat digesting
in tight, swollen bellies.