Hoonah, AK

In the gravel parking lot
behind the blue Laundromat
I find raspberries, though here
in the rain arched canes are rare.

Haven’t been on land in weeks—
it seems everything could knock
me over: the top steam stack leaks
he smell of fish rot and bleach.

I find the exact wood screws
I need in the hardware store.
There’s fresh water, hot showers,
clothes warm out of the dryer,

a bar full of strangers, cell service,
an apple, and this berry patch
where feral plants have blossomed
and bear tiny ruby drupelets.

I want to eat each one. I
want to walk back to the boat,
cupping the whole harvest, leave
nothing for the rest of town.

In the sink, the berries glint
roe-colored. I see, somehow,
salmon thrashing in black nets.
Berry-pink pearls spawned on deck.

Each day someone does something
worse to another so what
does it matter if I eat
all the raspberries alone?

What could possibly happen
if I placed each in the palm
of another: one for her,
for him, for me, for you?

Sierra Golden graduated with an MFA in poetry from North Carolina State University. As winner of the 2018 Dorothy Brunsman Poetry Prize, her debut collection The Slow Art was published by Bear Star Press. The Slow Art is also a finalist for the 2019 Washington State Book Award. Golden’s poems appear in literary journals such as Prairie Schooner, Permafrost, and Ploughshares. She has been awarded fellowships and residencies by Hedgebrook, Hugo House, and The Elizabeth George Foundation. Although she calls Washington State home, Golden spent many summers in Alaska, working as a commercial fisherman.


  1. Careless, careless me. Make that a raspberry. (Forgot myself for a moment, it tasted so goooood…)

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