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The Circle

By Daniel White

The snow had fallen for two weeks passing.  No deeper cold had ever been remembered, not by

the grandfolks, nor by any Elders.  A quiet gripped the land.

 

And yet, we still had to go out.  To do our tribal duty.  To meet the beast/beings by which we

lived. To secure our lives.

 

On the frigid plain.  On the tundra.  On the ice where no thing grows.  And now so is this.

 

The Others as in the past have arrived first.  They are the owners of this land.  We are intruders,

but with the power at any time to kill and ravage.

 

But if we did – what is the gain?  For a day, for a week, for a month?  And then the hunger

comes again, and then the hunger never leaves. So now we eat.  Not gorging, but not starving

either, but always keeping within our boundaries.

 

Better to mete out the hunger, and the starving, and the dying.  How then do we make peace with

the caribou – but by treaty?  We, pledging to keep our numbers in check – so sad to see the

needless newborns broken to bones, but keeping the pledge we have made to our neighbors.

 

And in return, the Others sacrifice a caribou each spring to keep us in meat, and to hold us in

thrall.  We are symbiotic for now...but I fear for the next generation who have not signed this

armistice.