Tundra Dawn by Denise Merat


A small band of scarlet pushes

up against blue dark horizon,

a slow reversal –  one minute less

than yesterday.


Shuffling into slippers,

I slide on my long, black woolen coat

and wrap my scarf against the chill,

snug about my neck.

In late August, light is too quick a shadow.

Stepping out to watch the morning sun progress,

my breath and coffee share steam.

The Arctic is damn cold at 5 am.


With luck, tundra rouge and tawny colors will linger till mid-September.

Fireweed bursts in fuchsia puff, wild berries ripen

and tundra cotton dot the fields of permafrost,

tufted stars scattered upon miles of scrappy meadow.


Silence broke only

by Eider geese, Ptarmigan,

dark-eyed Junco and snow bunting

nipping marsh pond grass to fuel migration.

A fog bank drifts towards town from sea.

I close my eyes and breathe sharp wind.

The last of summer quickening.


ilisagvik stuff 321


Denise Merat, MFA, is a graduate of Vermont College of Fine Arts, 2019.


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