Ice Age

Burbot, like eels with catfish lips,
feed in the shallows and slack water
of the big, brown, ice-fed rivers.

Winter, when the glaciers dry up
and all the sediments settle out—
that’s the time to take them.

Drop a trotline through your augered
hole in the ice, a chunk of whitefish
on each treblehook, and give it overnight.

Go home, and dream of the windigo.

Bash out the fresh ice at first light
and haul up a gift from the source
of everything ugly and delicious.

Eric Heyne has taught at the University of Alaska Fairbanks since 1986. In addition to poetry, he publishes essays on Alaskan and northern literature and narrative theory.