Defective Heat

Susan Shaw Sailer

Forty years ago I camped on Quinault land,

in the morning woke to see ponies 10 feet away

trotting up the beach, no bridles, no saddles.

Fog rolled in, Pacific waves broke 50 feet away,

the Quinaults' village out of sight. On NPR I heard

the tribe will have to move to higher ground.

The Pacific breaches their seawall, laps at backyards,

threatens homes for 760 tribal members. Cooled

by an Olympic glacier, for eons the Quinault River

gave good salmon runs. Five years ago the glacier

melted. River too warm, the catch half of 20 years ago,

the river so low a fisherman stubbed his toe

on a mastodon jaw submerged since the last ice age.

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Susan Shaw Sailer lives in Morgantown, West Virginia. She has published two books, THE GOD OF ROUNDABOUTS and SHIP OF LIGHT, as well as a chapbook, COAL. Her recent poems appear in such journals as MINERVA RISING and KAKALAK 18.

Abby Michelini