Alaska

by Laura Read
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After he gets back, my brother keeps
talking about the light, how little there was
of it, he was pouring it in a pitcher,
cupping it over a basin. The last time
I was there, it was summer and we had
too much of it, it was all over us.
I was fourteen, visiting my friend
who had moved away. We rode our bikes
out to the glacier and stood beneath
its waterfall, we camped in the Yukon
where you could see the minerals
in the rocks, we lay on the ferry’s deck
and watched the Northern Lights
tear the sky open. At the hot springs,
I went into the wrong bathroom,
but I didn’t leave even when I saw
the bodies were the bodies of men,
red from the showers, their eyes staring
back at mine like the eyes of animals
caught between trees. My brother’s still
cold, he won’t take off his coat, he huddles
over his amber beer like it’s a glass of fire.
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laura readLaura Read has published poems in a variety of journals, most recently in Silk Road Review and Alaska Quarterly Review. Her chapbook, The Chewbacca on Hollywood Boulevard Reminds Me of You, was the 2010 winner of the Floating Bridge Chapbook Award, and her collection, Instructions for My Mother’s Funeral, was the 2011 winner of the AWP Donald Hall Prize for Poetry and was published in 2012 by the University of Pittsburgh Press. She teaches English at Spokane Falls Community College and lives in Spokane with her husband Brad and their two sons, Benjamin and Matthew.