From Breathing Fire 2, a poetry anthology edited by Lorna Crozier and Patrick Lane and published by Harbour in 2004. After last call at three a.m. the sun on the horizon like a giant lodestar would guide us over uneven boardwalks and dirt roads toward the George Black Ferry, across the mud-fed Yukon River to where our hidden world of tents lay inside a maze of birch, where branches knocked and clacked in the wind like the restless bones of ghosts, where someone always screamed blue murder back at the landlocked sled dogs as they cried and howled at the lingering season and stunning lack of darkness inside the night. This was Dawson City where we’d all come from something vague: a town, a girl, a life. Most had simply drifted into the ever- widening space of summer’s north, hoping to find work, hoping absence, hard drinking and perpetual light could wipe the slate clean: it seemed we were all young enough to trust in the liberty of forgetfulness— the days blurring without nights, drinking sour toes with the tourists then over-proof whisky at the Midnight Sun then blackouts and waking beside the river if not delighted, at least surprised to be alive, soaked and numb. Had it been a dream, strange-throated ravens gargling in the trees like drowning men, or just some lone person weeping? In the morning, no one could be sure. Although I confess, one night the first star appeared, an unsightly blemish in the milky sky like a pinprick in the idea of forever: fall was coming and I was afraid to travel south, to move alone again, and further toward the slowly diminishing light.