This next windstorm
will blow the last leaves from my alder.
My view of the inlet will no longer
afford the perspective of a foreground
and the little brown birds and
squirrels and woodpeckers
will not be able to chatter, nest and hide.
A humpback rises hugely
out of his first element
and plunges back in a personal tide.
Three coho lie lifeless on the picnic table
ready for the knife.
Deep in the woods
the ferns are not brown,
but capture the autumn light
as it is broken in the fall
through the evergreen canopy.
Osmotically, they gather into themselves
the soft, cold light from the hours left
between dawn and dusk
like long abandoned saints so old
they have become a stonehenge
made of faith in circadian rhythms
and glow with interior illumination.
• Sarah Williams experiences poetry as clear, brave, passionate speech. For 38 years she has lived all around Alaska, mostly in a small village. What she has experienced she finds best expressed in a poem.