By Laurie Klein
Hovering clouds, more sting than mist,
feel akin to ice, forced through a sieve,
Salmon River below us, all teem and roil.
Pinned to each crest, remnants of starlight
wink. And that posse of rocks could be
flints, sparking this cold northerly’s
steel. Amid the rosy host upstreaming, chafed
raw, we glimpse midnight’s woebegone gills,
summoned by scent. Headlong,
they home in on memory’s silt,
those familiar stones where, as orphaned fry,
the newly bereft raised one another, only
to leave—their final return, the lure.
Praised be the killing shallows,
tonight, where need spawns. You and I must
likewise veer, yield possibility’s sea
for a stream, one day, cede breadth
for brevity, waive all our salty years
as we near the end. Will we flail,
or float? Breach. Submerse. Surge—
here they come, breasting the holy
torrents, lit by a sockeye moon.
Laurie Klein is the author of Where the Sky Opens (Poeima/Cascade). A past winner of the Thomas Merton prize, her work has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies. She lives in the Pacific Northwest.