I’ve Waited Five Years to Feel Safe Enough to Send My Son to Kindergarten.

Originally featured in the ADN May 25, 2022

I grew up shooting guns. We had family safety classes and strict gun rules. I went on hunts. I practiced shooting a .22 and a .410 and pistols. There were guns under my mom and stepdad’s bed in my childhood home. They were propped against the wall next to the wood stove during caribou, sheep, moose and trapping seasons. There was always a case of bullet casings to be refilled on the kitchen table. There were rifles behind Carhartt shirts in the closet. Since my grandfather’s passing, my family is still parceling out guns that have been in my family for generations.

I understand guns and I dearly love people who have them — in their trucks ready to hunt a spruce grouse at a moment’s notice. In their gun safes. In their homes.

I’ve also spent a lot of time away from my hometown of Palmer. I’ve traveled the Tube in London before and after the bombings on July 7, 2005. I dined in the Leopold Café and wandered through the Taj Palace Hotel in Mumbai a few months before the bombing and hostage crisis. I regularly visit Belfast, where my husband grew up during the violence of the Troubles, including current periodic flashpoints.

And never have I felt more terrified to be in public and private spaces than in my own home country. I live two doors down from a home where a mother and two of her young children were shot and murdered in their beds.

My son starts kindergarten in August. You know what my top consideration is for choosing a school?

Read the entire commentary here.

Salmonberries and Saag Aloo

Originally published in Alaska Women Speak and the Alaska Humanities Forum, FORUM magazine.

I feed you

smoked salmon

and saag aloo. You

devour salmonberries

from our overgrown garden


and your grandmother’s

chicken curry—not as spicy

as when your uncle

made it after our wedding. We sat

in a room of laughing


tear tracks, the chili pepper

was so strong.

One of you

has eyes the color

of silty glacier water, like


me. And one

has eyes the color

of moss,

gazing up at the sky

from the bottom


of a clear stream. Neither,

have your dad’s

bronze skin

or amber eyes.

Your baby…

Read the full poem here.

Trump is making it Hard for my Immigrant Family to live a Normal Life.

Originally featured on Elephant Journal November 30, 2017

Like many working people, my husband and I want to take a mortgage out on our house.

There is only one hiccup—my husband is an immigrant.

How many of us take the inner workings of normal daily life for granted? How often do we ignore the news, keep our noses to the grindstone, and watch too much reality television because what’s out there definitely doesn’t affect me here?

Until it does. I didn’t pay much attention to United States immigration policy until I fell in love with an immigrant. Then my whole world changed.

Falling in love while traveling abroad sounds romantic, but in reality it means years of sometimes heartbreaking long distance dating and the perils of immigration. Skype calls, thousands of dollars in plane tickets, digital anniversary cards, constant explanations of “yes my boyfriend is real, he just lives in another country,” and loneliness.

True, there are the romantic getaway destinations, the excitement of absorbing a new culture, and of course, love.

But love doesn’t get us far with immigration.

Read the full article here.