© Joanna Parypinski

When winter drops whitely,
the neighbor-children build igloos:

hunched snow-hills
sag under
the weight of the sky.

A pair of mint-blue mittens packs the skull,
tunnels out the mouth;
a frosted dome, cozy
as a mausoleum.

They like to pretend
this is where they sleep,
in the Sierra Nevada—
iced mountains peaked white like cresting waves
block the way to California,
golden land—

and they live in an igloo.
The cold bites their fingers
so they chop them off.

The wind shivers

with the Donners.
A boy lies still, eyelashes crusted with snow,
and they swarm like crows
to feast
on corpse-meat, and
they dine on their friend’s fat thighs,
store the scraps in the makeshift meatfreezer

to save for a snack, and pick fingernails
out of their teeth.

The cannibalized boy’s blue hat skips away.

A mother calls lunchtime,
reality breaks—
they scamper off in whirls of white dust

and a laughing echo.
The dead boy
still coated in snow

climbs out of the igloo;
mittens shake free the flakes, which flurry
to the ground.

The stooped igloo broods,
The hat lies flat and


half-buried by the snow.

Categories: Poetry, Writing

1 comment

  1. I remember this poem. Fits well with the weather we are experiencing here. As I look out at the mounds of snow, I wonder what the Donner party experienced, snowbound and with no food. Good poem!

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