John Whittier Treat
Smallpox First Came to the Pacific Northwest in 1770
—In homage to Thom Gunn’s poem, “To a Friend in Time of Trouble”
It finds it has lost itself upon
The smooth red body of a young madrone,
I built my home long ago among the madrona trees
From which it turns toward the other varying shades
On the brown hillside where light grows and fades,
My home is on a brown hillside not everyone can climb
And feels the healing start, and still returns,
My window’s view of Mount Rainier reminds me
I came from elsewhere, whole
Riding its own repose, and learns, and learns.
Your names, at first a few and then many, are lost to me now
John Whittier Treat is the author of the novel The Rise and Fall of the Yellow House (Big Table Publishing Company, 2015), a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award for Gay Fiction. His short stories have appeared in the journal Jonathan and in the anthology QDA: Queer Disability Anthology (Squares and Rebels, 2015), edited by Raymond Luczak. Originally from New Haven, he now lives in Seattle. For more information visit johntreat.com.
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