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Benjamin Steiner

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From late April until early July, we work. Our Season of the Salmon: we guide rich men from Seattle or San Francisco, Chicago or Houston along the Ninilchik River, men who are lawyers or chief financial officers and do not know the spawning patterns of our fish, a knowledge they pay Richard and me for, each man who hires us a copy of a copy of the one that came before and the one who will come after.

Richard is my husband, though not legally here, neither in my native Montana, nor Richard’s Puerto Rico. Estar por la luna, Richard describes the men we guide when they ask if our camps have wi-fi so they can text pictures of the day’s catch back to their wives. Loosely, he calls them moon men, which I might take to mean clueless or alien here, though he never offers an explanation.

And in the Alaskan wilderness, in our cabin on the Kenai Peninsula three miles from our nearest neighbor, we might seem foreign here, a joke that begins, A Jewish man and a Latino man shack up below the eighteen hour moon and speak to no one else for the entire month of November. The off season an endless copy of nights named simply Ours, in the cabin where Richard stands at the stove boiling snow every morning as I read and try to write him a love story.

Let him but copy what in you is writ, / Not making worse what nature made so clear. Every morning of the off season I fail, or I succeed, a facsimile of the morning before, which was night. I yell across the cabin, Richard, what day is it? He laughs, Tuesday, estar por la luna, Tuesday.

Benjamin Steiner is a playwright with awards from the Los Angeles Playhouse, Wooly Mammoth Theater, and Chicago Fringe. He lives in Alaska with his partner.

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