Alaska Love

by Patricia Pierce

Arrived broken,
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;
I grow.
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:
Urban Alaska.
I procreate. I age.
Yet, unlike the salmon, I do not die.
I live.

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