Deep Sea Salmon
Dad where have you gone?
Did you leap quicksilver into a big run
of legendary June Hogs now long lost?
Or are you too smart for that?
Did you break through the trap of extinction
holding to the shadows of that dam
in back of my mind—thinking
but not showing much?
Once in a great while I hear your voice
and feel a quiet grin in your tone
So I ask again after
all our wrong guesses about each other
Is it me you like
or is it just a charm you like to turn on
that gloves a hard bargain?
When your dad came around
did you cover up or trade him blows?
Or maybe you leapt his traps 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 hard stone you couldn’t explain
that praise breaks hollow against luck
luck that always runs out?
But out of our long fishing past
you come in behind me
your hand down over mine
and you whisper that luck has a feel
Let your line drop through a rip
where the current runs against itself
and what might not be there comes into play
Then again if the tide takes you out
deep off the coast I’ll be looking for you
flashing in the dark
June Hogs, a salmon species, each eighty pounds or more, up to a million of them migrating along the Columbia River into Canada, were wiped out in 1941 when the Grand Coulee Dam was built.