He told me, maybe thirty years ago,
he'd met a rawboned Eskimo named Jack
while filming polar bears on an ice floe.
Jack went out fishing in his sealskin kayak
but the current carried him so far off course
that when a Russian freighter rescued him
they signed him as a mate to Singapore.
Five years at sea it took to get back home.
The year an Englishman gave him his name.
The year of hustling on a Bali beach.
The year of opium in Viet Nam.
The year he pined for snow. The year he searched
for any vessel that would turn toward Nome.
The man who told me? I tell you, I don't know.
Copyright © 2013 by David Mason. Used with permission of the author.