Aki and I are on the Juneau waterfront, watching the Seven Seas Mariner pull up to one of the new cruise ship docks. It’s our third cruiser of the morning. Passengers from the earlier arrivals walk up and down the docks, like salmon looking for a place to spawn. But sex doesn’t appear to be on their minds. They are fixed on shopping. Most carry bags from the tea shirt shops. One has a bag full of handmade glacier silt soap.
The squawking complaints of a seagull gang draws my attention downward. But the white and gray birds are only forming and reforming a raft. I drift to memories of hand washing experiences. I picture the thick gobs of greasy glacial silt that I wipe off my bicycle chain during the bike’s weekly bath. Even dry, the glacier silt is an abrasive powder that forms an irritating cloud when lifted off the streets by passing tour buses. You could polish glass with it. What would it do to a maiden’s face?