is as far as you can drive,
the westernmost point that still connects
to the rest of the country,
a place self-styled pioneers
and paranoid ex-husbands
move to escape the Lower 48
with all its contiguous burdens.
glaciers sweep down the fjords
to meet the halibut-soaked waters
of Kachemak Bay.
And here I find myself.
I peer out
the hotel's frosted window serenely,
my view of Bishop's Beach
blocked by the Driftwood RV park.
Old schoolbuses come here to die.
They caravan a week or more
on the Al-Can
just to share this view.
One bus painted
in broad stripes of red, white, and blue
waits for a break in the storm.
Another rounds the corner too fast,
its tire half-sunk in drizzled bog.
The bus door folds opens:
a damp-haired teenager and St. Bernard
bound down linoleum steps to survey the damage.
Pebbles I collected
firm tans, grays, chalky whites--
echo the mountains in my palm.
I line them up on my windowsill,
afraid to take them home.
the ranger at the Petrified Forest warned us
that taking stones from sacred places brings bad luck.
The museum was filled with testimonials of visitors gone
Nine years ago,
I took this piece of wood.
Since then my life has never been the same.
I am so so sorry."
I worry the
stones will haunt me,
insisting I bring them back to the Gulf of Alaska,
keeping me in Homer to stay.
I pack them anyway.