Friday, June 26, 2020


At Fort Egbert

    Eagle, Alaska

In a field where weary soldiers once stood

breathing cold river mist at reveille,

I watched a woman and child filling

a large pail with strawberries as small

as the tip of the child's little finger.

She said they were brought to Eagle

over coastal mountains from Valdez

by a cavalry officer's young wife

who wrapped them in wet straw and burlap

when her steamer saild for Seattle.

She had found them deep in the woods

in ruts once cut by wagon wheels.

This story was told her by a woman

whose grandfather was stationed here.

The evening air was cooling as she spoke

with an accent slightly soft and Southern.

I knew the strawberries were wild.

A few were growing in my garden,

and I had seen them near the cemetery, as well.

Still I listened without saying a word.

Her story would comfort them when December's

gruel of thin light shivered in her daughter's spoon.

Tom Sexton
World Brimming Over
Brooding Heron Press