Volume 12 • Number 2 • Fall - Winter 2020

Summer Koester


By the shrine of Saint Therese
and ashes resting in marble,
a marmot sounds the alarm
as if in warning. We trespass

through a fortress of witch’s
hair moss, past cobblestone church
and Twelve Stations of the Cross,
past shrouded trail to a graveyard

of snail fossils, their spiral mouths
glistening purple and pink guarded
by crows. We follow the yellow brick
rock through emerald greenschist,

leaping from rock to rock, suspended
in time and over boulders igneous.
Rocks that have seen ice ages,
storms, pandemics, hatch-marked

like the face of a mystic, Tetris-stacked
circa the Jurassic. Where gulls
assemble and earrings woven
with prayer and ancestors tremble

from ocean’s breath, or something
else. Crows signal at the gathering
of shells seized like children
for boarding schools, their inner coils

swelling exponential like a virus.
Like love. Forgive us our trespasses,
black-winged sentinels.

Summer Koester is an award-winning poet and writer living in Juneau, Alaska. Her work has appeared in The Sun, Motherwell Magazine, Lowestoft Chronicle, Front Porch Review, and Third Wednesday, among others. She is a winner of the Alaska Statewide Poetry Contest and her work has been featured in the poetry anthology Courageous Women. You can read more of her at