Poetry

Did Geronimo Send Postcards from Florida?
By Jess Koski

(for Al Hunter)

“Kiss my frozen ass” scratched into the stone wall
Of the famous cell at Fort Pickens Florida
a succinct message from Geronimo Winter of 1887;
It can get cold in January in Florida
for an Arizona boy more accustomed to the dry heat of Skeleton Canyon.

Likewise, my friend Al scratches this same sentiment onto a screen
using zeros and ones
ones, zeros
an interplay of programming and the tap tap tapping of moose-greasy fingers.
Sure, he’d rather be here in Sarasota with me
writing ephemeral haikus
in Ojibwemowin in the sand
only to watch the tide erase them.
What poet wouldn’t?

He intones verse from a snow-crusted porch in Canada:

“Venison gravy congeals
on the plate in the sink.”

He struggles for a final four-syllable line…

“Where’s my shovel?!”

Not quite right

“The wind has switched!”

Backspace. The tide erases the lines.

Bear footed and ashen toed
Al steps out into the snow and casts his voice into the Northwest wind
like a great white kite,
and his message reaches me here in a nanosecond,

“You play on the beach, boy;
great poetry requires struggle.”