I was going to explain why I’m repelled by children
who have been taught to say all the right things
about Edward Hopper’s night café—some paintings
need to be earned and this is one of them— but here,
instead, are three stanzas about Iceland.
It is shimmering and fresh and yes. Trout leap
in the lakes. They are stippled and as hard as ice.
The summer is hinged and cracked. It fills
postcards with blue lupine, purple and invasive.
Beside the sea and the volcano, a door opens
and I am only steps away from where a woman
in a red dress is waiting for something. It is late.
The café is about to close. The man beside her
has looked at his watch. The light, triangular
and green, has spilled into the street. It will never
be entirely dark. On the coast of Iceland,
it will never be entirely the way it was. Root out
the lupine and something equally glorious will arrive
to take its place. Let the bell of the indigenous
bluebell clang. Let women never look back.
While most of my writing deals with Alaska history and ethnography, poetry is my first love. Moments Rightly Placed: An Aleutian Memoir was followed by a couple of histories & ethnographies and then a YA novel, Ivory and Paper: Adventures In and Out of Time, appeared from somewhere. I’m now at work on a book about Unangan grass basketry. I live in Vermont.
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