Thursday, September 16, 2010

16. Sniff? Sniff? Is that You?

We spent a summer together,
he and I,
facing Alaska - come what may.

Carrying shingles and sheet rock in Anchorage,
days and nights of endless cold rain in Seward
sealed in plastic on the rocky beach
under socked-in Nietzschen mountain
peaks, a month and a half too early for the salmon
run and ill prepared to wait it out.

Seals watched curiously from the water
and called us greenhorns telepathically.

Facing pneumonia and inevitable starvation
we hitched down to Kenai and camped in the gravel pit
with territorial red squirrels and the skinny and fantastic
Thompson brothers who drove up from Texas
and, ultimately, a couple of hundred other migrants
waiting for the fish and work.

He used to talk about killing a bear with his jack knife, just to piss
me off, and though I knew what he was doing, it worked every time.

We danced the Stations of the Cross on our hill top for the entertainment of others.

We spontaneously danced with three moose
we almost bumped into on the trail in twilight,
all five of us running in place in dangerous proximity,
caught by surprise, unsure which way to run.

We spent a lot of time in the tent reading with our
backs to one another trying not to think about food.

One day I was doing just that and he sniffed.
A moment later he sniffed again, louder.
And then again even louder, until I looked at him annoyed.
He was calling me -that sniff was my new name.
I think I laughed for days over that.

And I'm laughing now hoping that
the visitor to this blog
from Poland is you,
old friend.

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