by Sarah Aronson
I surface aspirate-blue, the mother-of-pearl edging on a button blanket, cedar strips steamed then bound, a bentwood box cupping tidal foods: limpets & mussels, red ribbon seaweed & sea cucumber, swaddled in the duff & mold of a life-sized eagle nesting tree before the museum is razed for asbestos & breaking fire code, where the pallor of my waist is first mentioned by the gearshift hand of a boy. I come mesomorphic, from the inherited hands of milkers, fruit pickers, the spawn of cheechakos who steadied a single-wide against the williwaw, under the loom of Thunder Mountain’s chalked ridge, termination dust arriving each September, sometimes earlier. The season schoolchildren make fish camp, mouth GunalchÈesh & unflinching elocution of strange things done in the midnight sun under whiteout gymnasium lights to offset eighteen hours of permanent dark. The PE teacher slumps over Seagram’s at the Eagle’s Nest Bar, watching trawlers in Auke Bay Harbor while algae proofs the anchor chains. Tomorrow, he will set up the two-legged high kick with a whiffle ball hung from baling twine to the backdrop of slicked-up seabirds in Valdez & someone’s father explaining how crude unsettles over saline.
SARAH ARONSON writes poetry and nonfiction from Missoula, Montana. Her work can be found in the High Desert Journal, Cirque, Portland Review, and Big Sky Journal among others. She is also the host of the Montana Public Radio literary program and podcast, The Write Question.