Since it's almost Halloween I thought I'd post a poem with creepy title: The Dead Go to Seattle. This poem was previously published in Cirque.
Life in Alaska can be dangerous. We live with those dangers every day. At any moment, someone can disappear while out hunting, fishing, hiking, boating, etc....
The meaning behind the title of my poem is based upon a myth in the hometown where I grew up, Wrangell, Alaska. Growing up, I heard quite often about disappearances and, in turn, speculations on where and when the person would show up. My poem "The Dead Go to Seattle," reflects my own thinking plus stories I've heard, and also the hopes that the lost loved ones will someday reappear healthy.

Here's the poem plus you can click on the YouTube link and watch the video or any number of poetry videos on Planet Alaska Poetry.

Sometimes people slip in their Xtratufs,
foot on the gunwale, and they go down, cold green
water fills their boots. And sometimes it's a hook
and line catching their arm, yanking them down,
thrashing. Or maybe, it's the rotten stump they've
stepped on to get a better view of the deer in the
meadow below that gives way. Either way,
someone's seen them

in Seattle

during yearly trips to the malls for school clothes,
or to get supplies to build a new house. They're there,
the dead, turning their heads in a crowd crossing
a street at a red light or walking with a golden
retriever by UW. They've been spotted—a child
holding a white Styrofoam cup of clam chowder
down by the warf, an uncle sitting on a curb,
a cousin on a park bench.
They've been jogging, strolling, driving even.
Reported alive-and-well— no seaweed weaving
through their hair, no crab eaten faces, or moss
growing over their bodies. Just sitting on the bull-rail
at the old piers, pulling a wool coat closer, their hats
hanging low on their foreheads, waiting at the old
ferry dock for a ride back home.


Popular Posts