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POETRY LETTER TO MY WIFE FROM THE COASTAL PLAIN, ARCTIC NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE You have lived with me longer than stone with its unchosen mate of soil and there is no perfect reason for this save your willingness to be fractured by force greater than either of us here in the last decades of our lives. For five days I have sat riverside with migratory birds and the first wild crocus to risk its full height of one inch before tonight’s killing freeze. In the haze of a quarter century’s love for you, I think no woman would rise from rock to make her purple wings felt on this June day but of course, you have, and have again, to save me with petals that otherwise would fall to the grave descent of lying alone in this valley of arctic water. When I wake from winter cold it is like the resurrection of field grass in this raw place without you, and I am steadied by your resolve to return to the unborn field of my brown hands, witness to the morning you broke from earth the rooted shadow of what I was. Shaun T. Griffin PATCH OF GREEN I have but one patch of green in my life. It is a verdant, vibrant green that can be seen through the cruel cross-hatches of a chain link fence, topped with concertina wire. It is such a lush and luxurious green that one barely notices the fading bed of browns and yellows that rest beneath the bright green blades, nor the mudhole that is slightly off-center, where the grass refuses to grow. Indeed, one rejoices with the sight of a blooming daisy, forgetting it is but a weed. I have but one patch of green in my life, but they say I have none, none in my life, nor in my soul. Indeed, that may be true, if life can be held back by their fence. Karl Chamberlain SHAUN T. GRIFFIN lives and writes in Virginia City, Nevada, in the mountains above Reno. KARL CHAMBERLAIN is on Texas Death Row in Livingston, TX; to see more writing, artwork, or information check out . Naomi Shihab Nye JULY 22, 2005 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 19