Quiet Love/New Poem (Rough First Draft)


In the book I’m currently reading, there’s a photograph of a Polar Eskimo man from 1905. I had the idea to write a poem about a women obsessed with the image, and fantasizing what it would have been like to have been with him. I didn’t go with that, instead I wrote it from the perspective of a Polar Eskimo woman deeply in love, who doesn’t want to share her husband. (It used to be common practice for Polar Eskimo men and women to ‘exchange’ partners.)

Quiet Love

You observe the flight of migrating birds,
study the movement and shape of clouds.

You know the moon and her halos,
are fluent with the depth of the thaw.

With a handful of snow, you smothered
our deformed first born, and I still
chew your boots each morning.

In arguments, you drag me out
onto the ice and we fight, then love
each other quietly under furs.

We breathe quickly, sigh when
the moment is ready, while
the warm cluster of family sleep.

I wonder if you’d love me more
if I didn’t flinch when the wolf howled?

The pain coming in to see you
with another is like coughing up
bear bone needles.

To see your smile leaves
my heartbroken heart humming
sadly in my ears.

I walk away, pulling my spirit
behind me, like a seal recently
hauled dead from the ocean.