a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society
~Appletons’ guide-book to Alaska and the northwest coast,
Eliza Ruhamah Scidmore
The Alaska route: During the excursion season
of climate change, many thousands of tourists
visited Alaska. All were delighted—charmed.
All made the same report: the matchless grandeur
of the trip, the trip of a lifetime, such splendor
and novelty. There is nothing like it.
Make the usual preparations—adjust
your internal clock to the earlier plant bloom
Spiked shoes, ice axes, and ropes are not needed—
our ancient temples are toppled. You can climb
over totems, through our old boats, and even lasso bergs.
Itinerary: A day is given to a glacier
in the tourist season. Fight a wildfire,
measure snowmelt, count dead murres.
Hike higher mountains and nightgaze
at satellites spinning faster across the sky.
Watch for sinkholes,
and make sure your immunization
for smallpox are updated—the ancient dead
are thawing all around.
Take your allergy medicines and inhalers.
We provide masks and tissues. Visit
the memorial for 125 Arctic lakes.
Photograph algae blooms. Buy vials of soil
samples of what was once Shishmaref, Newtok,
Make a summer excursion to Alaska;
it is the finest and cheapest in the world.
Vivian Faith Prescott was born and raised on a small island in Southeastern Alaska and lives at her fishcamp in Wrangell, Alaska. She holds an MA in Cross Cultural Studies, an MFA from the University of Alaska, and a Ph.D. in Cross Cultural Studies (UA Fairbanks). Her poetry has appeared in Prairie Schooner, North American Review, Yellow Medicine Review and elsewhere. She is the author of a full length poetry collection, The Hide of My Tongue, three poetry chapbooks, and a short story collection The Dead Go to Seattle (Boreal Books/Red Hen Press). She is a recipient of the Alaska Literary Award and a Rasmuson Fellowship.