Somewhere in Ketchikan, Alaska

Dublin Core


A poem by Ciera Higginbotham

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Copyright protected by Ciera Higginbotham. Use of materials from this collection beyond the exceptions provided for in the Fair Use and Educational Use clauses of the U.S. Copyright Law may violate federal law. Permission to publish or reproduce is required.



Note on transcription: This transcription may not reflect the poetic form established by the poet. Please refer to the PDF file of this poem available in the Files section for proper formatting.

Somewhere in Ketchikan, Alaska
On a crabbing expedition, you learn that the Alaskan Dungeness crab
lays 2.5 million eggs every mating season. You wonder about this
because you are born with all the eggs you are ever going to have.

You also worry about the feast to come after the tour, but then
the guide explains that only the male crabs are legally caught, sold, and eaten.
Flipping a female on her back to immobilize her,

he lets you touch her silky fibers. Your eyes widen
at the impossible softness of those hair-like stems––
like cat fur. Or maybe a chinchilla’s. On the boat, your guide

points out an active eagle nest. In the tops of spindly branches,
sticks have been cross-stitched and plaited into a bowl.
The guide, in his hunter’s orange fishing waders, throws small fish

off the back of the boat to swooping, white-skulled birds,
and you remember a recurring dream you have about a giant
bird, ugly and skinned––the kind that looks like

someone plucked away its feathers from the neck up.
This mother-bird has built her nest above a restaurant pavilion,
and, when she flies, the world trembles. Snagging several

patrons by their napes, she carries them to her nest. She sits
there and waits on her speckled eggs to hatch, but, with your luck,
you wake up before the first shell cracks and rains down on your head.

A part of you wants to join her up there. A part of you
wants to stand on her shoulders, arms parallel to wings,
and let the wind sweep inside, scooping you hollow.


Ciera Higginbotham_Alaska.jpg
Ciera Higginbotham_Alaska.pdf



Ciera Higginbotham , “Somewhere in Ketchikan, Alaska,” Mississippi State University Libraries, accessed October 1, 2023,

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