“Inukshuk” by Daniel David Moses

You were built up from stones,
they say, and positioned
alone against the sky
here so that they might take
you for something human

checking the migrations.
That’s how you manage this,
standing upright despite
the blue wind that snow is
this close to Polaris.

Still the wind does worry
you some. It’s your niches
which ought to be empty.
Nothing but lichen grows
there usually. Now

they’re home to dreams. Most came
from the south, a few from
farther north—but what comes
out of their mouths comes from
nowhere you know about.

They keep singing about
the Great Blue Whale the world
is, how it swims through space
having nightmares about
hunters who hunt only

each other—each after
the other’s snow white face.
How beautiful frozen
flesh is! Like ivory,
like carved bone, like the light

of Polaris in hand.
So it goes on and on,
the hunters’ refrain. Dead
silence would be better,
the Pole Star overhead.

The wind wants at them—at
least to stop each niche up.
How long can you stand it,
that song, the cold, the stones
that no longer hold you

up now that they hold you
down? Soon the migrations
recommence. How steady
are you? Dreams, so they say,
also sing on the wing.

Works Cited

  • Moses, Daniel David. Inukshuk. Canadian Literature 124–25 (1990): 241–42. Print. (Link)