Uganik Island

Some things come easy, after all

after this hard year

we skiff past westside capes

bare cliffs like the stone paws

of mountainous sentinel lions.

Past Cape Kuliuk and Cape Ugat,

past places mapped

by VHF call—Bartenders, Broken Point,

Noisy Island, Trap 6, Bear Gardens

to Uganik Island,

green all the way to the beach

and wild roses all the way up.

A weathered red cabin with summer-filled windows,

beach gardens growing taller than the kids.

Time and daylight enough

for projects of whimsy—pink outhouses, buoy swings,

napping cabins and salmonberry bushes pruned

into head-high mazes.

When the rain starts

we sit on the porch eating salmon

pulled straight from the smoker,

muffins made with yesterday’s oatmeal.

We warm our hands

around hot coffee in old mugs, each one a story

and between the stories, talk of fishing and weather.

Always talking fishing.

Later, by a driftwood fire,

its easy heat reminds you

how old friendships return you

to yourself,

how readily we believe

we’ll return next season

our socks waiting in the drawer,

the dishes by the sink.