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  • Contrary to Popular Belief, and: Top Ten Signs of Climate Change
  • Vivian Faith Prescott (bio)

Daughter, our mouths have forgottenwinter—how to say it, how to feel it,

how to breathe it.This calm disappearance

is like a traveler shedding days.Everything has shifted.

We disbelieve the spring-likegrass in December is still green,

still filling the ditches along the highway.The conditions for this witness

are perfect, but aching.We are present for our own departure.

Top Ten Signs of Climate Change

  1. 1. My father tells a story of a severe winter that lingered through March: The earth shook; my cousin was swept away by a tidal wave. That winter, my father dug up a frozen sewer main by hand to unthaw it. Fishermen had a good salmon catch that year. [End Page 75]

  2. 2. I inhale too many mosquitoes now.

  3. 3. The salmonberries are rotten from the sun.

  4. 4. The thimbleberries are rotten from the torrential rain.

  5. 5. My father goes out trolling and doesn’t catch a salmon. My father goes out trolling again and doesn’t catch a salmon.

  6. 6. We don’t eat shelled sea creatures: no crab, no cockles, no clams or geoducks. We know better.—Alexandrium species, Pseudo-nitzschia species, Dinophysis species.

  7. 7. My sister’s ex-sister-in-law is shot to death along with her teenage daughter and niece by my ex-husband’s new girlfriend’s ex-husband. He murdered them and then shot himself—and caused a heat sink scenario; the water bodies at the terminus acted as thermal energy and Shakes Glacier began to retreat.

  8. 8. My father tells the story of working in the sawmill, of working at the Forest Service, of fishing for winter kings. He stares out the window of our fish camp, at the 50-degree ocean, and imagines another story.

  9. 9. Legend says my children’s ancestors traveled over ice. My own ancestors migrated over ice across Scandinavia after the Wind Man cleared a path with a shovel. I think about this legend. I invent words for our new oral tradition: neoglacialgenic, defishification, griefologic cycle.

  10. 10. My normothermia is 101.6 degrees. [End Page 76]

Vivian Faith Prescott

Vivian Faith Prescott is a fifth-generation Alaska, born and raised in Wrangell, AK. She lives in Wrangell at her family’s fishcamp. She holds an mfa from the University of Alaska and a PhD in cross-cultural studies. Her poetry has appeared in the North American Review, Cirque, Yellow Medicine Review, and elsewhere. She is the author of two poetry chapbooks and a full-length collection, The Hide of My Tongue (Plain View Press). Her short-story collection, The Dead Go to Seattle, is forthcoming from Boreal Books/Red Hen Press.



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pp. 75-76
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