Klin

Even though I am the wilted white owl that you now
see before you, when I close my eyes tightly, memory’s
magnificent and destructive spirit, once again, brazenly
advances across our land.  I will never forget.

A wet, hairy ice cube grazes my cheek as the morning
is conceived.  Evening’s wounds are still visible on
heaven’s forehead whilst ashes gracefully float down
from incandescent feathers.

At first, she comes like a cautious vulture, circling, stalking,
searching for signs of life below her ample wings,
determining just when she should strike.  We observe
convoluted flightpaths with apprehensive joy.

Into the sugar sea we plunge, swimming in
the sweetness issued from above.  Flapping and
squawking, Sister and I are swallows wading
through frigid rivers of crumbling milk.

Beneath an alabaster cloud, we collapse in laughter.
Drooping limbs sink into birch as warm talons rake across
fragile bodies.  Behind fluttering tents, salmon as long as my
legs leap from salty waters into our yearning mouths.

For three days, the world is hidden from us.  Four
become one, huddled tightly within a tepid blaze of
cruor and serpentine cipher.  Voices, low and uneven,
cry out to ancient skirts and beards.

Suddenly, the rage stops with one cluck of Father’s
tongue.  Have his coarse lips vanquished the conflict?
Under a scornful moon, frozen fields are embedded
deep inside glittering achromatic lacerations.

Long raven locks bleed between Mother’s trembling fingers.
Rough faces look to a star-studded sky for blessings as their
owners prepare for a cheerless journey into the flatlands.
A shivering infant howls from a lightless corner

The dust which falls today shall neither hatch swallows nor
bury ravens.  It will vanish with the midnight visions that
transport us to those imaginary, fanciful kingdoms, which
we often have difficulty remembering.  But oh, that tempest
of my youth – I will never forget

*****

Eskimos have at least a hundred different words for snow.
Klin–the title of this poem–means “remembered snow”.  The other types of snow which are described in “Klin” are shiya (snow at dawn), tslslo (snow that falls slowly), talini (snow angels), intla (snow that drifts indoors), tlapinti (snow that falls quickly), tlun (snow sparkling at moonlight), mortla (snow mounded on dead bodies), and naklin (forgotten snow).

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