Cape Flattery


Eagles circle, land on a cedar.

Their chirping punctuates the sound of

jade-colored water from Japan

slurping at mossy rocks below.


My step bounces on roots and spongy sphagnum moss.

A gulp of salty air fills my lungs.

Wind-twisted branches block my view

of Tatoosh Island, lonely guardian of the north Pacific.


From this corner-cliff Makah canoe-hunters watched for Gray whales

and saw San Juan de Fuca’s fleet of Mexican map-makers enter the straight.

Later, Captain James Cook, flattered by the idea of an entrance, a break in the coastline, a passage

saw what he was looking for and named it so.


European intruders would take everything from the whale hunters,

except this small corner lot that guards an entrance, and a nation.

Sheer drop-offs, without rails, speak to accidents,

not genocide.


Twenty-seven years ago I ran away from the

northern Boreal forest of my youth.

I can go no further than where I stand today.

The eagles and water sing me a lullaby.

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