Ayana Harscoet


post-Superfund designation, it begins with maybe. maybe we will find it. maybe it will be hidden in the metrics. maybe we will find it at the intersection of 1st Ave S and E. Marginal Way or at the crossroads of hydrologic planning and bioengineering. maybe it’s a hypothesis and maybe it isn’t. maybe it defies what is. whatever may be, it begins somewhere near the opening at elliott bay and trickles upstream with the rising tide.
there are a number of research questions. here is the question: is it possible? here is a question: what deepens? here for good measure is another question: what spills over? here is a measurement for good practice: 1,400 ppm. here is a methods section and here is an overflow and here is an emptiness waiting to be new.


just think—
with the right tools
and strategic techniques

we1 are right on the verge
of almost knowing.


flatten the intertidal at Herring’s House
(store in GIS/ArcView software)

crack the armored shoreline

get intimate with the data:
identify restoration sites:

        –   relict patches embedded
        –   in an industrialized landscape
        –   undoubtedly compromised

fix samples in 5% buffered formaldehyde    transfer to 50% isopropanol

develop criteria
(best to have at least nine
physical and biological)

don’t forget to ask salmon
to diagnose the ecological state

or shake coarse sand
through nested sieves
(#10, #18, #35, #60, #120, #130)
if necessary, forgo placekeeping
for pacemaking. fixate
on return, or settle
for approximation.

arrive with toolbox overflowing
with protocols and procedures and methods sections and plunge gloved hands into the current.

become a publication, a citation,
a cover page, a precedent.

renew the search.


what lies at the end
or something like that


will be known in due time.

1.  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
School of Aquatic & Fishery Sciences, University of Washington
School of Marine and Environmental Affairs, University of Washington


Much of the first page of the methods section in this poem is found language, drawn from the following scientific reports and papers: Elliott Bay/Duwamish Restoration Program: Year 1 Intertidal Habitat Projects Monitoring Report; Ecological Effects of Shoreline Armoring on Intertidal Habitats of a Puget Sound Urban Estuary; Biological Monitoring at Duwamish River Coastal America Restoration and Reference Sites: A Seven-Year Retrospective; Duwamish River Coastal America Restoration and Reference Sites: Results from 1995 Monitoring Studies; and Elliott Bay/Duwamish Restoration Program: Duwamish/Diagonal CSO/SD Cleanup Study Report.

Ayana Harscoet [they/them] is a queer, diasporic Japanese-and French-American poet based in unceded Duwamish territory (Seattle, WA). An emerging writer and recent college grad, they’re currently chasing after / compelled by / diving into rivers, ecological restoration, and the limits of western science.

Originally published in Moss: Volume Seven.

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