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2 poems by Vivian Faith Prescott

Perhaps tidal, wind, or thermohaline


This morning’s light is a corridor to evening

and I am passing through the day again,


walking among seaweed draped boulders,

rain falling on my head.


Sometimes I’m out this early looking

for the wentletrap and tucked topsnail,


a ribbon of kelp, and other times

I’m simply walking, imagining


the Kittliz murrelet eating krill,

and our nearby glacier feeding into the sea

at 90 feet per day.




Unusual Mortality Event


Gray whales may be exhausting their energy reserves

before they reach the arctic to resume feeding. ~NOAA


Our island is shaped like a snowbird—

the whale rots

near Earl West—barnacled beach,

Back Channel.


We are #8—a graph, a pie chart,

timeline, map of whales.


Above the sediment


in the water column


gray whales seek


to survive.


Normally, bottom feeders


suck sediment


and food from


the seafloor, roll on side, swim along slowly


leave long trails of mud. Feeding pits.

Now skinny

and not enough food.

Longest migration,

1,000 miles round trip,

back to the Arctic.


Strandings—

Clam Gulch, Chignik Bay, Kodiak Island, Copper River Delta,


Egg Island, Turnagain Arm.


This newest migration of maps and data into our homes—the whale pose.


We see children standing for the photograph—in front of the dead whale—

one older child is holding up another child in her arms—

offering each breath to the Earth.


__________________

Vivian Faith Prescott was born and raised on the small island of Wrangell, Alaska, on the land of the Shtax’heen Kwáan. She lives and writes as a climate witness at her family’s

fishcamp. She is a member of the Pacific Sámi Searvi and a founding member of Community Roots, the first LGBTQIA group on the island.

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