The Quickening of Salmon & Years

close up of water bubbling

From this island
               to that isthmus.
Here, an egg.
               There, a fish.
As quick as that.
Never mind swimming upstream,
breaking       the surface

               even momentarily.

None of that wild fervor.
You will not have cause to travel
(the need’s been excised)
so loll & fatten, rushing in another way
to your slaughter, all sped up,
Days into months,
more than twelve, twenty-four,

Something like memories.

               We would run
along the banks to the delta back then.
To the mouth, opening wide.
But now, no. All is inland
        & stationed —
               you & we, too,
sitting at the table,
       fork in our left hand, knife in the right.

The slope of you is for slicing.
& the butter, & the dill, & the lemon for praise.
Somewhere else (other than here)
               is the goat & the pig
& the apple, never browning.

©2018 Kelly R. Samuels

Kelly R. Samuels lives and works as an adjunct English instructor in the upper Midwest. Her poetry has been nominated for Best of the Net, and has appeared or is forthcoming in various journals including apt, Burningword, The Summerset Review, Kestrel, The Carolina Quarterly, Rappahannock Review,and Common Ground Review.

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