Alaska Shorts – Togowoods: An Alaska Cabin by Kellie Doherty

Togowoods: An Alaska Cabin

decided to go to Togowoods today.
The cabin is still simple and old,
there are no heaters, just a fireplace without any wood.
I walk outside to the only restroom for miles
an outhouse, and not a very good one at that.
As I open the door, it creaks, the sound is
similar to the one I remember all those nights ago.
The outhouse was scary back then
a long walk down a steep hill, icy from snow,
and dark from the absence of any electricity.
It was the 3 o’clock-in-the-morning-bathroom-runs
that showed who your true friends really were,
the outings where we swore monsters would get us
or at the very least a moose would charge.
Where the round seats were bigger than necessary,
and had a thin sheet of stick-to-your-ass frost
we always forgot about until it was painful to get back up.
Where the spider-webs and icicles melted together,
gossamer strands, unable to decipher the difference
until an angry arachnid suddenly appeared on your shoulder.
Where, when finished, I would shut the door
on the frozen hole they called “the outhouse”
and look up into the night sky, the stars glittering like jewels,
and feel the infinite emptiness
of that vast space pushing down on us
until we were ants on a blacktop,
crawling helplessly over pieces of sand
that were really mountains.
Where I first realized we were merely specs in space,
that earth, which seemed so big to my ten-year-old self,
was just one tiny planet compared to the millions of others.
Where the sun, our sun, the life-giving force
that brings us heat and energy,
the center of our solar system,
could be just another star to somebody else.
Now, ten years later, I am taller and wiser,
I know there is nothing scary about an outhouse.
Yet, the fact still remains; I am no larger than I felt
that one moment so many years ago.
A tiny speck on our edge of the universe.

Kellie Doherty lived
in Alaska for 25 years. She is currently a Portland State University graduate
student studying book publishing. She is a copyeditor for the Vanguard, a blogger
for the PSU Chronicles, and a freelance editor. When not doing homework,
work-work, or trying not to stress out about all the graduation prep, Kellie
likes to write, watch too much Netflix, and go for walks. Her debut novel
Finding Hekate will be published by Desert Palm Press in April 2016, and she is
enormously excited by that fact. Find more information on her website:

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