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Laurie Arnold - McMillan

posted Apr 24, 2014, 12:56 PM by ais13@rmu.edu   [ updated Apr 24, 2014, 12:56 PM ]

-a found poem from articles from www.alaskadispatch.com


I lied when I said I was happy to stay home,


flip through Cruise America, happy to imagine


arms extending out the wrap-around

honeymoon deck, glimpse black fins doing mid-air twirls.


The hungry season, the season without solid ice covering the water,

is getting longer…


I half- lied when I said I wanted to go to Alaska

when you told me you worked for Alaska Cruise Magazine.

We might chance it; leave NJ for the Inside Passage—


You seldom eat when working, but I scramble

eggs, peppers, and cheese,

pour Budweiser down a dry winter throat.


A polar bear in northern Hudson Bay can eat hundreds of seabird eggs in a day.


I skim over your manuscript, check words

repeated: like ambient, like atmosphere, like Arctic,

like hovercraft, (that I am), floating .over you, like seagull.


I lie when I say I like cooking for you. Your shadowy breath body

hardly will budge—just eat without me.



The bears get their mouths around the ice-tree, the hard bark,

and crack the shells of the thick- billed murres (300 at a time).


Some of the bears are sniffing and crunching bones,

--old whale bones— which have little caloric content.


“I can write it from here. Being out there is incidental.

I don’t dine in the Moose Lodge in Fairbanks;

I can ask a hundred people.”


Incidentally, how incidental is it?


I lie when I tell him how his writing makes me feel.

I take the magazine that’s open and folded back.

I point to the picture of a polar bear climbing a barb-wired fence

to get to a tree with food, with bird nests.


Warm water entered the western fjords in 2005-06 and since then has not shifted.

What happens to a species when its ideal habitat starts to disappear?


“When the grizzlies come closer to shore they keep the cruisers

toasting the wild outdoors,” he says. I lied when I laughed about that.


A female polar bear reportedly swam for nine days - nonstop-across the Beaufort Sea before reaching an ice floe, costing her 22 percent of her weight and her cub.


What’s this costing me?


The ice days are only 60 and thaw comes 30 days earlier.



The bear’s too weak to climb that tree,

his eyes focused on the those nests, hungry.

He drops down, head, then front paws,

holding the trunk like he would his lover,

hungry, hungry.