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Northern Words

ISSUE:  Winter 1986

Mice, be off, and timid days.
I sing of wolves and wolverines
in a circling dance.
My waiting time on the hill
is a tremor before the dance begins,
and I sing: Love’s no mother bear
pawing the light in a river of stars,
it will dig no winter den.
An arctic tern, my song flies north
where margins are lean.
Under the sky’s menagerie of lion
and dog, I sing to the emperor seal
in his cold court of gulls.
In my song an Eskimo counts sledtracks
in her sleep, no one seizes her catch
at the ice floe’s edge.
In my song youth won’t come around again
sniffing my hips, licking my legs—
but love, you old fox, always ready
to chase and pounce, I am singing
of our getaway out of the icefield,
out of the tundra. Don’t you hear
me singing?


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