Deep Sea Salmon

Dad where have you gone?
Did you leap quicksilver into the last run
of legendary kings – those eighty-pound June Hogs –
that bashed themselves against the walls
of the Grand Coulee Dam?
Or are you too smart for the trap of extinction
still holding in the shadows of that dam
in the back of my mind – thinking
but not showing much?

Once in a while I hear your voice
and I’ll catch a quiet grin in your tone
After all our wrong guesses about each other
I ask again – Is it me you like or is it
just the old charm you turn on
to glove a hard bargain?

When your dad came around
did you cover up or trade him blows?
Or maybe you leapt his trap too
and thought yourself free
No you didn’t beat me but his fist
was still in your hand held back
You couldn’t quite bless anything I did
All the bright eyes you praised
but never your son
Or was it a stone you couldn’t explain
that praise breaks hollow against hard luck –
luck that always runs out?

But sometimes out of our long fishing past
you come in behind me whispering
Let your line go where the current runs against itself
and what may not be there can come into play
Then again if the tide takes you over the bar
I’ll be looking for you off the coast
flashing up from the deep

            – Eugene Marckx

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