Approaching Easter Island

by Pepper Trail

After a strange, invigorating dream
I woke in the far Pacific, sailing east
Toward Rapa Nui, the long hard faces
Waiting, ready to crack a smile at last
To share in the joke of our ruination
Before relaxing into wind-smooth stone

Beside us fly the pure white birds
Weightless as angels, with great black eyes
Beaks keeping their secrets sharp
Escorting us toward the land

That necessity that we still require
With all our ships, flights, fuel
Just as we have always required
Where we will begin to build again
With whatever our hands can find
Our lives, our mysterious lives


Pepper Trail lives in Ashland, Oregon, where he works as a biologist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. His poetry has appeared in Spillway, Cirque, Borderlands, Kyoto Journal, and many other publications, and has been nominated for Pushcart and Best of the Net awards. His recent collection, Cascade-Siskiyou, explores the relationship between wilderness and humanity in the remote mountains along the Oregon-California border, and is a finalist for the 2016 Oregon Book Award in poetry.

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