For my second poem selection of the Native Poem-A-Day project, I knew I wanted to look at Tlingit writer and historian Nora Marks Dauenhauer. Really I would love to dig into her whole body of work in a way I’ve always said I’ll do “as soon as…” But for now, a single poem.

I was actually looking for another poem I like (is that cheating?) but the title of this grabbed me.

The Storm

Like people
emerging from a steambath,
bending over,
steaming from their heads
and shoulders,
the ring of the mountains
from the Chilkat Range
to the Juneau ice field
as if in steambath towels
of snow flurries;
at their feet
are foaming white caps of sea
like water thrown on rocks
steaming from the heat.
From The Poetry Foundation. Source: Life Woven with Song (University of Arizona Press, 2000)

So I know that this poem was not about the current COVID-19 pandemic, but I really connected with it because of how I’m feeling right now. Or maybe how I’m sometimes feeling.

It reminds me of the concept of how for some fog is peaceful, quiet. But for the sea captain, fog is insidious. This wasn’t what I was expecting from a poem titled, “The Storm,” but I have felt that way in an Alaskan storm, both witnessing the violence and mesmerized by the beauty.