Friday, 23 of February of 2018

Susan Kelly-DeWitt – Salmon

They came up the river like a band of slick
thieves. The water was thick with their leaping.

They climbed together the ladder of rapids,
hurled themselves and scraped their bellies.

The dead ones floated like pickerel weed. Many
fell out of the river of time, littering the rocky

banks, drawing the rats, raccoons and badgers.
They filled like windsocks with death.

We came there. We carried our eyes
and our baggage of witnessing. We carried

our awe like a caudal fin. The willows crept
down to the river’s edge and hung their heads

like sad old men, trailing all their living
silver green leaves, their dusky olive leaves

the color of salmon skin. The beached ones dried
in the sun; they poked like stiff flags from the weeds

and the light passing over them seemed dis-
embodied, preternatural. Somewhere

in the worlds between this one and the dead
river of salmon ghosts, we heard a howling.

O Coho, O Kokanee, O Chinook.

Susan Kelly-DeWitt
March-April 2005 Earth First!

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