I live and write on Lingít Aaní, and gratefully acknowledge the past, present and future caretakers of this beautiful place, the Jilkaat Kwaan and Jilkoot Kwaan.

I could have written yesterday, to you– or begun that new book- or just a poem for me, but I stopped and smelled the lilacs, and took a bike ride with my husband and then went to the first Little League game of the season and watched my granddaughters, in real baseball uniforms, pitch, run, hit and catch. And this morning, I’m walking the dogs with my friend on the beach, taking another long bike ride in the sunshine with Chip, and then making an anniversary dinner for dear old (as in for a long time) friends. (She’s baking the rhubarb pie.) Pie is perfect, as I have been thinking about this poem a lot recently, as a kind of antidote to, well, everything–  and I wanted to share it with the writers at the North Words writing symposium in Skagway, but couldn’t recall it exactly ( only the idea of it) and actually not even the author (I had guessed incorrectly Maxine Kumin– another great poet you should know)– So here it is now, and I hope the late (great) Grace Paley doesn’t mind that I print it here:

The Poet’s Occasional Alternative
by Grace Paley

I was going to write a poem
I made a pie instead it took
about the same amount of time
of course the pie was a final
draft a poem would have had some
distance to go days and weeks and
much crumpled paper

the pie already had a talking
tumbling audience among small
trucks and a fire engine on
the kitchen floor

everybody will like this pie
it will have apples and cranberries
dried apricots in it many friends
will say why in the world did you
make only one

this does not happen with poems

because of unreportable
sadnesses I decided to
settle this morning for a re-
sponsive eatership I do not
want to wait a week a year a
generation for the right
consumer to come along