Occurring Frequently in the Wild

Vivian Faith Prescott


The stories that have shaped you are restless,
in the coat pockets you’ve folded them into,

or rather stuffed them.

There’s a story loosening with a pull
of a gloved hand from your pocket’s warmth,

a story once folded among grains of sand,

a whelk shell and lint. Unnoticed by you,
it now lies below you in a small puddle—

on a trail next to the sea. And there’s a woman,

who was fifteen minutes behind you, strolling
in light mist, leaves tumbling about, and she’s bent

to pick up what she believes is an origami boat

and discovers it’s really a smudged note,
the beginning of story you were going to tell,

but could never bring yourself to write…

You jotted only a few words on paper.
And now the woman sits on a nearby bench,

not considering who might’ve dropped this,

but like a message in a bottle. The words—
my mother and the faded and creased lines

are written in ink—nothing more—

which is now evoking the note-rescuer’s mother,
in a photograph of memory, dressed in pale

yellow culottes and bouffant hair

sitting on a frayed blanket on a beach, an infant
on her lap, as two toddlers dig in sand nearby.

The mother’s face is one that women recognize—

that you recognize. Eyes fathomed in a stare
at something beyond the eddy of time, beyond

the sticky infant’s hands and the green sea anemone

in the rocky tide pool, to the way the sea is flowing
———past its body wall,
——————and the infinite wave
of plumy tentacles.


Vivian Faith Prescott was born and raised on the small island of Wrangell, Kaachxana.áak’w, in Southeast Alaska on the land of the Shtax’heen Kwáan. She lives and writes in Lingit Aaní at her family’s fishcamp. She is a member of the Pacific Sámi Searvi and a founding member of the first LGBTQIA group on the island. She’s the author of several poetry collections and works of non-fiction and fiction.



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