Kersten Christianson, Between Arrival and Departure

In Whitehorse

we pit-stopped
at Canadian Tire
to install a block
heater for the drive
north into 51 below.
We wandered the glitter

highway of Christmas
baubles, half-priced, made
in China. Festooned
packages of holiday
spice drops, Smarties,
ketchup-wincing potato

chips. We modeled
the blinking reindeer rack
perched atop a hunter’s red
woolen hat. Our laughter
echoed along the endless
road of dark corridors. Into

merriment, peals of joy
not stolen by time, not
measured by space. I can
walk these knock-off
trinkets of memory along
looped trails in the absence

of the moon, of you, puzzle
myself into wondering why
my life might be the longer
lived; consider the glimmer
and sheen of the short day’s
last light.


Never a fan,
its notes twitter
and jerk, blast
across airwaves
like a meteor
without destination.

I listen to you
read the weather
for Port Alexander,
Elfin Cove, imagine
your fingers skipping
across the spine

of album covers,
searching for tunes
by memory, fingertips
reaching for the kinetic,
the punchy. When you
played Heywood

and Winterhalter’s
‘Canadian Sunset,’
I could imagine you
playing it for me,
your fingers fluttering
the length of my spine,

meteor showers pole
vaulting dark skies,
unpredictable flutters
pulling the strings
of my heart. Near


Moon enters the backdoor from the east
Sun drops its satchel in the west
and I am somewhere in between
my own arrival and departure,
never quite sure of the time.
I count daylight hours
by long shadow, years
by the flare of candles
on this sweet cake
of existence.

Kersten Christianson is a raven-watching, moon-gazing Alaskan. When not exploring the summer lands and dark winter of the Yukon, she lives in Sitka, Alaska. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing (University of Alaska Anchorage).

Kersten has authored two books of poetry: What Caught Raven’s Eye (Petroglyph Press, 2018) and Something Yet to Be Named (Aldrich Press, 2017). She is also the poetry editor of the quarterly journal, Alaska Women Speak.

2 thoughts on “Kersten Christianson, Between Arrival and Departure

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s