The Language of Ice

When I came north,

I only learned that nilak is freshwater ice, for drinking.
No one told me the names of the ice

that will drink you —

igalaujait, the ice “which looks like windows”

qinu, the slushy ice by the sea

qautsaulittuq, the ice that breaks when tested with a harpoon

kiviniq, the dent in shore ice where the water has sat during the tide, and

iniruvik, the ice that refreezes over cracks the tide makes —

or refreezes over you.

No one told me there is no name

for the ice that speaks

the language of living

without bleeding

or breathing.

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4 thoughts on “The Language of Ice

  1. Whoa . .. this is really good, Rose. My favorite line ” No one told me the names of the ice that will drink you.” Congratulations on such a good month of writing. Will you keep going or do you feel you’ve written all you can for this? Thanks for letting me read along with you!

  2. Whew!!! Cannot believe I made it. So glad you liked it — will never, ever, be able to thank you enough. I need a bit of space to absorb and edit what has happened and get a sense where I might go . . . Also, did you know I’m starting my MFA in poetry at Warren Wilson in July?

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