IAmong the quiet people of the frost,
I remember an Eskimo
walking one evening
on the road to Fairbanks.
IIA lamp full of shadows burned
on the table before us;
the light came as though from far off
through the yellow skin of a tent.
IIIThousands of years passed.
People were camped on the bank
of a river, drying fish
in the sun. Women bent over
stretched hides, scraping
in a kind of furry patience.
There were long hints through
the wet autumn grass,
meat piled high in caches -
a red memory against whiteness.
IVWe were away for a long time.
The footsteps of a man walking alone
on the frozen road from Asia
crunched in the darkness
and were gone.
From THE OWL IN THE MASK OF THE DREAMER (Graywolf Press, 1993)