by Matthew Sweeney
Outside the igloo he waited
for an invitation to come inside.
There was no knocker, no doorbell.
He coughed, there was no reply.
He crouched down and peered in.
He felt the warm air from a fire
pat his cheeks and ruffle his hair.
Hello he said quietly and repeated it.
The frost in his toes urged him in,
so did the pain in his gut. His knees
one by one welcomed the snow
and brought him into the warmth.
He stood up and breathed deeply.
He held a foot up to the flames
then swapped it for the other foot.
He lay down on the polar bear rug
but a smell yanked him upright again
and led him to a dresser of bone
where a bowl sat with a cover on it.
He lifted this to reveal dried meat.
He grabbed a chunk and tore at it
with his teeth. It was reindeer.
He devoured all that was in the bowl
and went looking for some more.
He found none, but there was a bottle
of firewater which he swigged.
He swigged again and left it down.
He lay on the bearskin and fell asleep.
PHOTO: Igloo in winter mountains by Ivan Kmit, used by permission.
NOTE: An igloo is a type of shelter built of snow traditionally used by the people of Canada’s Central Arctic and Greenland‘s Thule area. Inuit people tended to use snow to insulate their houses constructed from whalebone and hides. Snow is used because the air pockets trapped in it make it an insulator.