Autumn’s last few weeks blinding
as two suns. Lights the dull chemistry
in cardboard signs men & women scribble with Sharpie.

Stand at the corner of Northern Lights & Denali. Slash
of sun-blaze through the city,
bold black letters in midnight sun exposure:

I avert my eyes. Look to signs— two streets named in honor, mark
place. The inlet renamed: Cook—
the weight of a name, repeated, takes

space. The skin of the sea is not a new horizon
but walls that rise like smoke
made solid. Drift & twist, reared

from light & heat. The women & men move away when the Lights
appear. Blue & green & red swirl
in distortion. Make their way to the city woods,

take refuge in a soft barrier of trees. & I, faithfully sigh,
as seasons turn. Wear my discomfort layered,
walled. Here the sea never rests. Not in waves of blighted foam

& violence, but a trickster substance unhinged. Arctic winds
unsettle. Exposes lashed tarp,
blackened rings of wet pits. Water, salvaged,

plain thirst. I avert my eyes against nudity of flesh,
however embraced by bark,
by cloth. Cottonwoods wrinkled cleavage. Rags of men open,

offer a view. Frosted winds through stains of ash,
campfires built for relief. The city dismantles each tent
& quiet shelter, offers nothing

in their place. Alders lose enthusiasm, bone on bone
wave. Offer restful holds,
no matter how leafless, how cold. The men & women stand

on shore, watch walls build on the horizon. & I, faithfully enclose,
my body against the chill.
Distance in distortion. Look to the Inlet slit

for an emergent break, a visible crack
bending light.