Floyd Skloot

Sep 22, 2010 No Comments by Sea Stories

Salmon River Estuary

Drifting close to shore, we enter the shadow
of Cascade Head.  Our kayak jitters in an eddy
as we dip and lift the double-bladed paddles
to keep ourselves steady.  Lit by morning sun,
current and rising tide collide before our eyes
in swirls of foam where the river becomes
the sea.  Surf seethes across a crescent of sand.
Gone now the bald eagle’s scream as it leaves
a treetop aerie, the kingfisher’s woody rattle,
gulls’ cackle, wind’s hiss through mossy brush.
Light flashing through sea mist forges a shaft
of color that arcs a moment toward the horizon
and is gone.  Without speaking, moving together,
we power ourselves out of the calmer dark
and stroke hard for the water’s bright center
where the spring tide will carry us back upriver.

Winter on the Island

In late December nothing could keep us
from walking the shoreline to land’s end.
Storm by storm we saw high summer sands
flattening until the old year died in a surge
of surf.  By then swash stained the beach
gray as the place where sky and rising sea
came together. This was the turning world
as far as we knew it, children learning faith
in longshore drift, the quiet work of currents
beneath all that dark churn and spume.


Floyd Skloot has published fifteen books, most recently the memoir The Wink of the Zenith: The Shaping of a Writer’s Life (U. of Nebraska Press, 2008), named one of the top ten northwest books of 2008 by the Oregonian, and The Snow’s Music (LSU Press, 2008), his sixth collection of new poems. His Selected Poems: 1970-2005 (Tupelo Press, 2008) won a Pacific NW Book Award and ForeWord Magazine’s Book of the Year silver award. Skloot has received three Pushcart Prizes, won a PEN USA Literary Award in Creative Nonfiction (for his 2003 memoir In the Shadow of Memory), and Oregon Book Awards in both poetry and creative nonfiction.  He was a finalist for the Barnes & Noble Discover Award in Nonfiction and the PEN Award for the Art of the Essay. His work has twice been included in the annual Best American Essays, Best American Science Writing, and Best Spiritual Writing anthologies, and once in the Best Food Writing and the Best of the Best American Science Writing. He lives in Portland with his wife, Beverly Hallberg, a painter whose work graces the covers of four of his books.

Autumnal 2010, Littoral Currents

About the Editors

Casey R. Schulke grew up along the Kuskokwim River in a rural Athabascan village in Alaska fishing for king salmon and mushing her sled dog team. She now resides on the shores of Resurrection Bay in Seward, Alaska. Casey's a poet, a naturalist, a dog-lover, has two birds, and is married to a wonderful man.
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