Behind the Kalagan Bar
By Mike Strom
What is cold? Gold is cold
At the bottom of a stream,
Matanuska cold and icy,
Alaskan River gold, is frigid.
Once I lived amid another
Life, a fantasy of delight wrapped
In foolish prideful desire.
But… only when adrift
In Cook Inlet, net in wheel
Night closing in, waiting
For the Coast Guard Helicopter,
A savior to chop in from Kodiak
To undo my stupidity
To understand how I could
Be weak when it was so cold
And I in pity rolled
Night set and the jagged ridge
above Kalagan Island silhouetted
and Mount Redoubt simmered
In icy mist along Aleutian Peninsula.
Where southbound Sister Mount Iliamna
that brooding mistress of the north tossed glacier ice
Crashing into icy inky black rushing tide
From Inlet to Gulf relentlessly to and fro,
And then the sound of a turbine powering
Chopping blades… in the shades
Of those great sentinels
Took the chill off the cold, so alone.
And then the light of a Kenai tender
Popped through the night, first a fire fly,
Then a beacon that swept us up
With the days catch of salmon.