Elizabeth Bradfield is the author of Interpretive Work (Arktoi Books/Red Hen Press, 2008), which won the Audre Lorde Award and was a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award, and Approaching Ice (Persea Books, 2010), a book of poems about Arctic and Antarctic exploration that was a finalist for the James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets.
Leave your reindeer bag, damp and moldering,
and slide into mine. Two of us, I’m sure, could
warm it, could warm. Let me help you from your traces,
let me rub what’s sore. Don’t speak. Your hair has grown long
in our march, soft as my wife’s. Keep your beard turned
toward the tent’s silk, your fusty breath—I know none of us
can help it, I know, and truthfully I’m glad any scent in this
don’t speak. How long has it been since my mouth
has held anything other than ice and pemmican? Your skin,
though wan and sour, is firm, delicious. Yes, your shoulder,
your hip. I’d not thought how soft a man’s hip would be,
do you hear the wind moaning, the ice groaning
beneath us as it strains?