I’m a Sámi-American living on the small island of Wrangell, Alaska at my family’s fishcamp.


No one else looks as closely

at edges of light, at wavelengths,

refracting through ancient bergs.


No one else dreams of ice as he does

at the back of the bookstore

thumbing through musty old books,


how the scent of ancient things

causes him to swoon.

This is how he finds himself


stranded on an ice-floe

every morning, sitting on the bathroom floor

staring at small crevasses,


those shallow cuts on his skin.

They say with the help of a seer

one can see beneath ice.


For thousands of years he’s wiped away

his same reflection—

bođus: ice-floes floating-separately collectively;


sáisa: mass of packed ice pressed up on or towards the shore,

from wet mirrored glass,

an image of light absorbing into him,


traveling deeper and deeper,

all colors disappearing until all that remains

is a shock of blue.


*In my Sámi culture we have hundreds of words for snow.