Ivory in my Pocket
© Christoffer Petersen, 2021
Eight hundred miles north
Across a shrinking desert of ice,
Is magnetic north – a wandering Pole,
Closer than my parents’ house. Such giddy latitude heights
Where I live at the very top of the Earth.
I do my best to visit – weather permitting,
Arriving with ivory in my pocket, scrimshaw,
Etched with history, carved with a hunter’s eye,
Or showing off my prized polar bear claw –
stiff knuckle hairs still bloody from killing.
I’ve seen the great beast, you know? Carpet stretched
On a curing rack in the settlements
Pinned beside the bright pink and orange towels,
t-shirts and jeans from a wind-bitten residence,
blistered paint and parched wood – winter etched.
The houses are clumped beneath the mountain,
Paths traced with hoof-footed rubber boots
From one tiny house to the next
Where children play in winter suits,
Like regular kids – laughing, shrieking, and shouting.