Salmon

Salmon  
by Kim Addonizio
 
In this shallow creek

they flop and writhe forward as the dead 

float back toward them. Oh, I know

what I should say: fierce burning in the body 

as her eggs burst free, milky cloud 

of sperm as he quickens them. I should stand

on the bridge with my camera, 

frame the white froth of rapids where one 

arcs up for an instant in its final grace.

But I have to go down among 

the rocks the glacier left 

and squat at the edge of the water

where a stinking pile of them lies, 

where one crow balances and sinks 

its beak into a gelid eye.

I have to study the small holes 

gouged into their skin, their useless gills, 

their gowns of black flies. I can't

make them sing. I want to, 

but all they do is open 

their mouths a little wider

so the water pours in 

until I feel like I'm drowning. 

On the bridge the tour bus waits

and someone waves, and calls down 

It's time, and the current keeps lifting 

dirt from the bottom to cover the eggs.
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Published in: on March 2, 2007 at 7:39 pm  Leave a Comment  

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