I’m hoping you’ll be on the Skuuna.
I’m hoping you’ll notice the sand
between the children’s fingers, how
they’ve held on in a wind that blows
constantly here, and the necklace
I’m wearing, how the green curve on
the Alaskan trade bead reflects the cedars’
horizon and hides no other edge. I’ll want
to show you the agate on the beach,
how the light laps through and creeps back
up the hill. Anything you put your hand

on—the fronds, the red huckleberry along
the hedge, even the cockle shells—will open
after the slightest doubt. The loose herds
of Sitka deer drift across the only road.
Sometimes you’ll have to stop traffic to let
them pass. When they congregate in front
of the car, I’ll show you how to pretend not
to feel love when you do. The Haida say
heaven is an enormous plank house where
the sun enters through the front door each
morning and leaves by the back door

each night. Ravens flowering out of trees
are souls in secret, their wings blackened by
somebody’s smoke. It has been said something
shines out from every darkness. But here
on the platform, I stand still. I haven’t learned
how to move with the sun and burn slowly
as something else. It all looks mist to me—wings
blur with the sky, branches make their own
on the water. There’s no need to worry.
You’re not on the ferry.

As a poet, Shawn Fawson hopes for change and the courage to confront structures of injustice, intolerance, and privilege. She aims to stand in compassion and resistance with the marginalized, to impede violence, and engender collaboration. Her MFA is from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her book “Giving Way” won the Library of Poetry Book Award, was published by The Bitter Oleander Press in 2010 and went on to win the Utah Book Award for Poetry in 2011. She is currently pursuing a PhD in Religion with an emphasis in Poetics at the Iliff School of Theology/Denver University Joint PhD program. She works as a hospital chaplain during the summers.

To view other poems published in this issue please visit Vallum’s website.

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