A frozen antenna covered in sharp ice crystals.

Here, with the hidden morning sun behind the storm
I smear piñon pine and beeswax on my face, a paste

made by a woman in our small town, before I go
outside in freezing temperatures and wind

to feed the hens and other animals. My boots
now punch through deep white crust. The salve

protects my cheeks and nose, and my lucidity
is clear yet the comprehension I have

of death’s a squall and out of nowhere I recall
this line from dg nanouk okpik’s poem,

I am twixt & torn with emotive thoughts of mortality.
You know, it’s something:

I never saw my brother’s body or my dad’s. To me
they vanished, dad in a canyon, my sibling on his bed

and yet it doesn’t mean I can’t anoint them
in my mind where I bandage my father’s head, place

my hands and bless what I heard was blue-lacing
on my brother’s frozen abdomen and thighs,

wrap both of them in a soft white shroud, decorate
each with ribbons and flowers, welcome loved ones

for days like the Irish do, and whether or not I have
an appetite many people will bring food.


Photo by Bernard Spragg, used and adapted under CC.