The Eskimos' Hundred Words for Snow

by Phil James

tlapa           powder snow
tlacringit snow that is crusted on the surface
kayi drifting snow
tlapat still snow
klin remembered snow
naklin forgotten snow
tlamo snow that falls in large wet flakes
tlatim snow that falls in small flakes
tlaslo snow that falls slowly
tlapinti snow that falls quickly
kripya snow that has melted and refrozen
tliyel snow that has been marked by wolves
tliyelin snow that has been marked by Eskimos
blotla blowing snow
pactla snow that has been packed down
hiryla snow in beards
wa-ter melted snow
tlayinq snow mixed with mud
quinaya snow mixed with Husky shit
quinyaya snow mixed with the shit of a lead dog
slimtla snow that is crusted on top but soft underneath
kriplyana snow that looks blue in the early morning
puntla a mouthful of snow because you fibbed
allatla baked snow
fritla fried snow
gristla deep fried snow
MacTla snow burgers
jatla snow between your fingers or toes, or in groin-folds
dinliltla little balls of snow that cling to Husky fur
sulitlana green snow
mentlana pink snow
tidtla snow used for cleaning
ertla snow used by Eskimo teenagers for exquisite erotic rituals
kriyantli snow bricks
hahatla small packages of snow given as gag gifts
semtla partially melted snow
ontla snow on objects
intla snow that has drifted indoors
shlim slush
warintla snow used to make Eskimo daiquiris
mextla snow used to make Eskimo Margaritas
penstla the idea of snow
mortla snow mounded on dead bodies
ylaipi tomorrow's snow
nylaipin the snows of yesteryear ("neiges d'antan")
pritla our children's snow
nootlin snow that doesn't stick
rotlana quickly accumulating snow
skriniya snow that never reaches the ground
bluwid snow that's shaken down from objects in the wind
tlanid snow that's shaken down and then mixes with sky-falling snow
ever-tla a spirit made from mashed fermented snow, popular among Eskimo men
talini snow angels
priyakli snow that looks like it's falling upward
chiup snow that makes halos
blontla snow that's shaken off in the mudroom
tlalman snow sold to German tourists
tlalam snow sold to American tourists
tlanip snow sold to Japanese tourists
protla snow packed around caribou meat
attla snow that as it falls seems to create nice pictures in the air
sotla snow sparkling with sunlight
tlun snow sparkling with moonlight
astrila snow sparkling with starlight
clim snow sparkling with flashlight or headlight
tlapi summer snow
krikaya snow mixed with breath
ashtla expected snow that's wagered on (depth, size of flakes)
huantla special snow rolled into "snow reefers" and smoked by wild Eskimo youth
tla-na-na snow mixed with the sound of old rock and roll from a portable radio
depptla a small snowball, preserved in Lucite, that had been handled by Johnny Depp
trinkyi first snow of the year
tronkyin last snow of the year
shiya snow at dawn
katiyana night snow
tlinro snow vapor
nyik snow with flakes of widely varying size
ragnitla two snowfalls at once, creating moire patterns
akitla snow falling on water
privtla snow melting in the spring rain
chahatlin snow that makes a sizzling sound as it falls on water
hootlin snow that makes a hissing sound as the individual flakes brush
geltla snow dollars
briktla good building snow
striktla snow that's no good for building
erolinyat snow drifts containing the imprint of crazy lovers
chachat swirling snow that drives you nuts
krotla snow that blinds you
tlarin snow that can be sculpted into the delicate corsages Eskimo girls pin to their whale parkas at prom time
motla snow in the mouth
sotla snow in the south
maxtla snow that hides the whole village
tlayopi snow drifts you fall into and die
truyi avalanche of snow
tlapripta snow that burns your scalp and eyelids
carpitla snow glazed with ice
tla ordinary snow