by Sierra Golden

Baranof Hot Springs, AK

After a good soak I stand
at the top of the trail,

sockless in my Xtratufs and sweats,
nipples and knees stuck to the pilly cotton.

I pluck blueberries one after another
into the upturned bowl of my shirt.

A warm summer drizzle begins,
and everything turns to mud.

I watch it squish up the sides of my boots,
watch the drops pock my grey shirt,

and with stained, wrinkled fingers, twist
the hair clinging to my cheeks into curls.

They say that bears can smell berries
and blood from miles away.

I wouldn’t hear his padded feet
brushing down from the muskeg,

his matted fur snagging pine needles and twigs
or see his snotted nose among the new leaves.

How strange it would be to think
he could devour a small moose

after watching his pink tongue stretch
and curl around a tiny blue berry in the rain.


Pleasure_Golden_Photo_lgeSierra Golden received her MFA in poetry from North Carolina State University. Winner of the program’s 2012 Academy of American Poets Prize, Golden’s work appears or is forthcoming in literary journals such as Fourth River, Tar River Poetry, and Mobius: The Journal of Social Change, as well as place-based anthologies about the Pacific Northwest. Though she calls Washington State home, Golden has spent time in Spain, Mexico, and Argentina and spends summers in Alaska, working as a commercial fisherman.

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