by Patricia Pierce
I thrive now, a transplant, a sourdough.
Thirty-one years after the Last Frontier stole my heart,
Nowhere else fills that space.
Released into the wild, I, like salmon, swim away.
Disappearing into the depths of rural Alaska,
I decorate the outhouse with postcards;
Haul water; split wood;
Mountains, like the North Star, guide my travel.
Beyond roads, onto islands, into tundra.
Adventures outnumber adversities.
Memories of each I respect.
Slowly, I heal, accept mistakes, and embrace my scars.
With family few and friends plenty,
I am proud to have survived a place most unforgiving.
Ripples from glacial waterways rush my fingertips;
Northern Lights illuminate snow-capped mountains;
Cottonwoods snap at 40 below zero;
Penetrating decay of leaves and wild berries;
Laughter lingers on my tongue as I am weaved into another heart.
Again, like the salmon, I venture back to what I know as home:
I procreate. I age.
Yet, unlike the salmon, I do not die.