Witness to a Calving
We slid up onto a shoal of smoothed stones
careful not to injure the shore with our kayaks
then hiked through mud and elderberry thickets
watching for bears fishing in the river below,
their paw tracks wider than our fingers spread
longer than our soggy boot prints, and milk-green
with minerals melted from the fjords
flowing into Aialik Bay.
We spied ponds and lakes the same color
the day before peering down from a tiny air taxi
while ascending higher than clouds
to circle the frozen sides of Mount McKinley.
Finally landing in sunlight on a glacier in the sky,
we saw into her surfaces and crevasses more blues
than palettes hold or prisms yield, more than I
imagined visible with human eyes on our globe.
Down at sea-level we perched on a rocky bluff
where a different glacier groaned, we felt
her heavy birth-rumbles and heard
her moaning until at last she calved
giving a massive side of herself into the sea,
her wound absorbing light off the ocean
revealing pristine blue depths within,
newly visible through the gaping.
Then our young guide stood on one leg
raising her other knee and both arms akimbo,
wide and high to push out a celebratory scream
so robust it assaulted, almost tainting
the moments now returning
through a milky phosphorescence,
like the blue fire within an ancient jewel given
primitive and pure, from the heart of the world.
Diane Solis, born to creative parents in an extremely violent environment in East Los Angeles, has lived and worked throughout her life in and around L.A. In 2005 she experienced unexpected and shocking tragedy, and is writing about it in poetry and a novel. Diane is also crafting a memoir about her relationship with her father, to be comprised of essays, short stories, and poems. Her recent writing appears or is forthcoming in Sinister Wisdom, Ardor, Packingtown Review, Gulf Coast Review, and other literary arts publications. Solis travels at every opportunity, photographing wild landscapes and the creatures who live there.