The alder we bought from the Christians on Bainbridge
was so green I baked tomorrow's on tonight's fire,
fingers thin and white as yours, hissing on the Franklin.

It split so clean, like . . .
God this last year without you.
That winter the house slid a foot down the bluff
and all the pipes snapped.  Water froze in dirty dishes.

I should remember Orcas out the kitchen window,
blackberries we could pick from our bed. I remember
your fists, without hope, on my chest, your nails in
my arm as the towering doctor started the pump.

On the porch against the hill,
so straight the grain, so clean the hit,
the sound like biting an apple.


From Duckabush Journal
Fall 1989

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