By the Taiya River


I let the wind blow through me
where alder and willow
grow in sandy soil, where
cottonwood leaves, light green
against the darker greens of spruce
and hemlock, vibrate.
Stones pummeled by the river,
some white flecked with black,
some orange or gray or brown,
some round, some angled, mix
like curved snowtops next to peaks
that survived the glaciers. Sometimes
Taiya the golden retriever
delicately mouths a rock
and brings it to my feet
then won’t release.
Out on the Dyea Flats
where the Taiya River pours
freshwater into salt
driftwood trees clench stones
in their stiff roots.
I’ve let the river smooth me
and the wind comb my hair,
my snowy top.
I go where the river goes
and I take it with me.


— Penelope Moffet

Penelope Moffet’s poems have been published in Natural Bridge, Verse-Virtual, Permafrost and other literary journals. In 2016 she was one of the first artist residents at Alderworks Alaska, where this poem was written.

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