Pilitak - Poem by Leo Yankevich
The agéd Eskimo, once "sangilak, "
the strongest of them all, prepares to die.
Today he will not shield a slanted eye,
nor starving in the evening stagger back.
Having fought a bear and years of cold,
fresh salmon never leave his fingertips,
and caribou blood never parts his lips.
And yet, he's lost his balance and his hold.
He's "pilitak, " of help, but little use.
So he lies on a bed of tundra ice,
awaiting "kadzait, " wandering wolves, his eyes
blind in the twilight like those of a moose.
Slow, pleasant, death will come at six or seven
in the wake of a fierce blizzard storm,
(hypothermia and crystal form) ,
and it will be all he will know of heaven.
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