When I came north,
I only learned that nilak is freshwater ice, for drinking.
No one told me the names of the ice
that will drink you —
igalaujait, the ice “which looks like windows”
qinu, the slushy ice by the sea
qautsaulittuq, the ice that breaks when tested with a harpoon
kiviniq, the dent in shore ice where the water has sat during the tide, and
iniruvik, the ice that refreezes over cracks the tide makes —
or refreezes over you.
No one told me there is no name
for the ice that speaks
the language of living