The Homestead

Near Sappho, on the peninsula,
is a place quieter than you can count.
There’s an old barn with short-tempered
chickens and sunny kittens. An easygoing cow
with big horns. Beside the house,
a nine-foot high fence surrounds
a profusion of vegetables in the garden.
The wire fence keeps the deer and elk out,
usually. A trail runs clear down
to Bear Creek off the Sol Duc River.
The water so cold it could freeze
your feet, even in summer,
stand there too long.

This is the place my Great Aunt Olga
homesteaded. She cooked for the hunters
of elk and deer, gave them a place to stay.
And then she’d laugh,
because the hundreds of elk
meandering around the pastures and hills
the day before hunting season began
would disappear entirely
for the next several weeks.
But she made a grand oyster stew.
That made a difference somehow.

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