Sitkalidak Island

There’s Maui, our pilot points jokingly across the Pacific

Who needs Maui on a day like this

after weeks of rain and the longest winter

when the northern sun finally, finally reaches us

A day warm enough for porches and puttering

around spaces abruptly returned from the snow

baseball games and rusty bike rides better under blue skies

How about the school year ends today

Summer’s happening, even if spring never did

The plane’s shadow trails us

over grey whales and black swirls of herring

we land on the same beach

where years ago my dad’s Piper flipped in the wind,

my brother upside down next to him

Even after years and years of flying here,

I stay in amazement, the pilot says. And it sounds

like the answer to everything

He digs razor clams while we wander past

their open shells like a kid’s drawing of purple butterflies

We find bear tracks on white sand, white antlers in driftwood

orange buoys, sun-glazed bottles, yellow floats

What a mess people make of things

What a beautiful mess

What a feeling of smallness and wholeness

wild places offer

filling us,

like grief,

almost to drowning

with love