Vo l . 6 N o . 2
Across the Border
After Jack’s Funeral --for Carol Third potlatch this month. First it was Robert’s sister, Allison. Then Percy. Now Percy’s son, Jack. Everyone knew Allison was about to go. She walked under a shadow and her old man knocked her in the head every time he drank straight whiskey. The knocks had grown more frequent as winter settled over the river. Old man Percy slept with his money in his underwear. He did not trust anyone. His wife losing her mind. The boys pickling theirs. By the time they shoveled the dirt over his coffin, all the gifts lost or ruined, Jack was dead drunk. Found him on his mother’s steps. Tried to perform mouth to mouth but his breath was gone. Nothing to do now. Gather the cousins, the brothers, the gloves handed out to carry the coffins. Stack the food on the tables. Beat drums and let the old men dance until the building shakes. Last week this happened. After the funeral. A shift in the tectonic plates up by Skwentna. We hunched under the tables. The building continued to shake. We held the children. Thought of nothing. Waited only for the earth to stop.
A Journal for the North Pacific Rim