|Spine of Shadow, Moving
Digging spruce roots near the landing strip,
Oline would still her hands and listen.
Fifteen minutes, twenty, before the airplane came,
shed say: Super Cub, Hub Air. Or Jack Smith,
going to Fairbanks. Plans to stop here, wants an extra fare
to make his trip worthwhile, thinks the teacher might
go into town. Shed be right. There he is now
Her son Johnny, eight, could do it too,
with airplanes, or a spine of shadow moving
through the rivers light. Hed stand silent, watching,
cast his line ahead of what he saw, haul in a silver salmon
too big for him to carry. Once, wine
Id sipped an hour before, corked and put away,
left the smallest trace of fragrance in the glass
or on my breath. Johnny took one whiff,
lay his slingshot on my table: You been drinkin?
Checked my trash for empties.
Living close to danger makes you like that.
So why, fifteen years on, does all this flash its signal? A semi,
neither seen nor heard, blasts its horn,
I swerve through slush, it brakes,
splashes mud at me as it roars past.
Get off the highway.
Be still and watch it circling.