A black birch sapling catches
an early September snowfall
outside of the family goldmine,
bending the branches into gnarled

limbs that stunt its growth.
Year after year, the men
In my family take their clan
out to spend vacation mining

for the untapped vein that will
rain gold onto our ancestors’ eyes.
The misshapen tree guards the airfield
and stands watch over the pilings,

blueberry fields and moose crossing.
One night, when my grandfather
hugged the stunted birch at moonfall,
boots stamping against permafrost,

I could not tell if the warped wood
swallowed the man, or if we were
just hardened by the curves of Alaska
folding over us another season.

No Comments, Comment or Ping

Reply to “Bend”