Crossing the Dezadeash, Haines Junction


It comes to you often in the moments
that you have alone: perhaps you’ve died.
Climbing the stairs between offices,
you’ve noticed it, a slowing of perception, a
slightly altered angle of
attack, the smell, for example, of the plastic sealant
in the windows, heating in the sun. It would be,
you think, the reason
that you seem to care so little, why you take
such risks. Or now,
the highway, no deadline, the shafts
of sun, dark drifts of cloud—
it’s new, this spaciousness, this not
thinking dying would be easier. The ice
has just come off, the five feet
of packed, wet snow: the branch
it pressed into the sand and gravel:
lift it. How that hollow feels,
shining damply. How,
even though the snow is gone, and the stick,
it keeps its shape. Look up:
old ice in the high light:
a torch, a sword,

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