Every winter she remembers how the ice
came down out of the north,
locking the land in creaking sheets
of weighted white. Bears froze
in their dens. Ptarmigan and hares
stayed white all year round.
The big animals, the mastodon
and dire wolf, even saber-toothed cat
stayed south of the Big Ice, obeying
that single law: Eat or Die.
She lived those ages out in a high cave
on the Prince of Wales Island looking south.
She scambled together a denning nest
of dry seaweed, lichen and moss,
living on mussels and crab and finally,
gone into that hibernating sleep,
on her own fat reservoirs.
Last November, she left me, traveling
back in time and north to that cave
where now she sleeps the long north nights
dreaming perhaps of our life together
or perhaps she dreams of her glory days
with The People.
But I am abandoned here in the rainy green,
her pale girl, flap-armed marionette
with nothing real to say.
How long before a lengthening sun
sends puffins to the cave to wake
the sleeping Giantess? There will be
spring-run salmon to fuel
her waking blood. When, oh when,
will she remember me and follow
the line of the warming sun south?
In my cold garden, the apple boughs
are still bare, but I have built
a fire circle of green sea agates
and a red carnelian to call her home.