The Tongass On Air!

Harbor Mountain. Photo by Berett Wilber.

Voices of the Tongass premiered this morning on Raven Radio!

This week's episode was a poem called Physical Love, written and recited by Berett Wilber, who was born and raised in Sitka. Her collection of poems, entitled Lesser Known Marine Mammals Lesser Known Love Songs, won the departmental prize for poetry this year at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota, where she has been a student since 2011. Many of the themes and images in her poems are drawn from her experiences growing up in the Tongass, from the ocean, and from everyday life in Sitka.

Did you miss it? Do you want to hear it again? Just hit play on the track below. All episodes will be available here at the SCS website.

To hear more Voices of the Tongass, tune in to Raven next Thursday during Morning Edition.

Physical Love

physical love

we will never touch anything in our whole lives. our electrons and protons whirring around each other in a series of missed connections so close they feel solid - my palms gripping the splinterless oars, the sway of the rowboat on the water, my wet feet close enough to put in your lap,

this is all just sensation.

we will also never hear each other. the words that you speak will never come to me as you mean them. they will be necessarily twisted through their journey in the internal tunnels of my mind, mere translations that will account for the specific friction of your vocal chords but also, science tells us, your posture, the shape of your mouth, and the exchange of the muscles in your back as you pull us out towards the center of the lake.

sweetheart, i am losing myself in all of this - but what i'm trying to say to you is:

there is a wilderness between us. and it is deeper and more vast

than any of the forests and deserts and mountains that we could cross in this life or any other. we will never be able to escape the bounding boxes of these bodies, leave ourselves behind long enough to make the journey towards that soft pink space where we are each tucked safely and separately like conchs inside our shells.

what I'm trying to tell you is:

this is why my wet feet are in your lap, my ice-cold swimming shoulder pressed against your warm one.

every shiver you shiver from the chill collected in my skin, is a path through the wild. an unlikely victory for the impossibility of our proximity.


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