A Death in Kimmirut
Walking out, past cardboard houses, past
T.V. blue lights lurking in daytime dark,
stalking a long bridge of air breathed out.
Your sudden silence screams and
bombards spaces in rock.
The dogs would wake if they were listening,
would howl and yelp.
Screams to call down stars:
make ‘em burn on a stone horizon,
burn hard, burn cold.
Burn under the ice shelf onto beach
in the eerie echoes of tide’s surf:
where that crazed bear,
mad with some kind of fever, was shot
by Jason Ningerapik; where I
skipped a stone seven times and finally
you looked at me with respect; and
our first kunik while lying between
kayaks beached like seal carcasses
under the sun that goes to the edge of leaving
and suddenly changes its mind.
But you were damned by the gasoline fumes,
caught and stretched on the frame like one more hide.
Caught and stretched against an unfinished night
and your stupid soaps of women with red nail polish
and big cars and bad husbands.
I would not have been a bad husband.
It would have been better if you had walked out here,
sat until the night screamed you asleep.
Instead it’s me flying out on a plane
and you here like an inuk that was never built.
I am not a man. I am not an Innuit. I write this never having walked in the North in my body. I write this knowing nothing but the feeling of loss, the smell of cold,
the sound of tides. The ache of alienation.