Two Poems

By Karla Linn Merrifield

Aleutian Summer Solstice

I hear the wind is not the river;
I hear we pass the first pass into the Bering Sea;
I hear the coned mountain I see first is Pavlov’s volcano,
the adjacent peak its modest Little Sister;
I hear another rugged erupter within eyesight
has but a small caldera opening (as do I)
and is named, like a man I once knew, Ragged Jack;
I hear of old war clouds, hugging modern human history—
the Japanese Zeros and their zealous kamikaze pilots
who almost, almost conquered the great blue ocean’s islands;
I hear Time pealing in illuminated midnight tides at Solstice
along an unpredictable ring of fire around my storying life.
I may be blown away—for the wind is a river—
a river of young thought before old memory.


I see your face this morning
in a Siberian fur seal as he furrows
a windless Bering sea, calm within calm,
his eyes the same deep liquid brown,
shining with curiosity as do yours
at the lone woman who returns your stare.
We are old, wild creatures.
We do not blink in the face of wonder.