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Pipeline memories: Poet says creek is 'ours to hold and keep holy'

Susan Erickson.
Susan Erickson. THE BELLINGHAM HERALD

Susan J. Erickson wrote this poem about the June 10, 1999 pipeline explosion in Bellingham.

"Whatcom Creek Prayer"

Remembering the June 10, 1999

gas pipeline explosion.

Whatcom Creek reads like a life line

on the palm of our town, flows from the thumb

of its water source, traverses head

and heart lands until it enters the sea. This creek

is a line of destiny, too:

how we write communal history.

Walk along the creek.

Listen for the kuk-kuk-kuk

of a pileated woodpecker. Inhale

the green scent of moss layered on stones

and cedar. See the fire-blackened totems

of fir trees, witnesses to all that ruptured

when a gas pipeline exploded

and Liam, Wade and Stephen died.

From then until forever, this place

is ours to hold and keep holy.

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