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By Sara King
Genre: Poetry Level: High School 10-12
Year: 2001 Category: UAA/ADN Creative Writing Contest

If I had been born a hundred years back or a hundred years since,
when my grandfather would not have been able to fly to Skwentna
With me on his lap and dive-bomb the bears that ran away with growls
that I couldn't hear but could feel above the engine's roar
And if I hadn't been able to go and learn to use a knife and fish alone
where people are few and the air is clean and the rivers shine
with the glistening radiance of the sun on a summer's day in June 11, 2001
and if I had not watched as the wheel on the river turns,
slopping angry fish into a basket filled with others of that beautiful
species of salmon that taste so good when their flesh is darkened
with ships of smoke from the little hut that smells like fire amidst the trees
I would not have learned to love the giants that lean in the wind with
a tiny groan and the squirrels that hop from limb to limb with tails bouncing
as they prepare to disappear to a place much further away
I would not have learned the feel of lukewarm lake water upon my fingers
that tingle as they brush themselves through the sandy soil along the riverbed
I would not have found my soul within the bark of the cottonwood tree
so high above standing quiet sentinel to time and eternity
I would not have filled my brain with images of sun and shadow that dance
deep within my skull as I sleep and dream of how I will ever capture
The elating essence of the gentle wind sweeping along a sandy beach
to catch a tiny fluff of feather and drift it slowly through warm air
suspended from time and place until a raindrop breaks the loving caress
and slams it jealously back to earth.

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