[Fiction] Arctic Full Circle

RED GLADIOLA

Arctic

Grandmother in the old country never had an orange, for where she lived it was cold ten months out of the year. She knew the taste of seal blubber and could read the hooves of caribou, calculate the freshness of their crossing by turning her face into the wind; for they carried a musty scent and brought old ice with them. But she had never had an orange. It was her daughter who grew up with oranges, peaches and apples, flown or shipped from places more southern than she ever had traveled, tinned in dripping sauce or dried to crisps. And it was her granddaughter in Florida, who picked tangerines fresh from a veil of leaves, but who never knew the thunder of caribou’s hooves as they pierced the white, white snow.

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