2017

I.

She relates to me that
a race vet in Kaltag
has misplaced a glove,
gone gloveless and
at forty below
developed frostbite.
This year, five dogs
have died and not all
the teams have reached
the finish. This year
the course runs low
riverside, easier
in altitude
but with conditions
still severe. The five
deaths are unexplained:
she says there’s talk of
two possibilities,
furtive and sinister.
One musher felt the ice
begin to form under
the dying husky’s skin.

II.

She relates to me again
their plans to hear The Wailin’ Jennys.

At every restaurant
where my dad and I consider oysters
or clams or scallops she reminds us
she’s allergic.

Ritual or self-affirmation,
Alzheimer’s, competition,
distance from me, narcissism.

She says she wants to go with him
but she’d be left alone, as
little planes usher him
in legs to further checkpoints.

Six years running he’s seen the aurorae.
His too is an aging mind.
I’d like to be that river, see what I might find.