Dying, the salmon leap the dams, taking
no food until they reach their destined stream,
then lie together to climb, forsaking
all but release from the dark primal dream
of birth, the odor of gravelly holes
that went with them down to sea, there to rise
like tides swelling the mouths of rivers, shoals
that rush headlong backwards in time. Their prize,
death without knowing, obliteration.
Just as here, I, shedding a lifetime’s fears,
feel the dark rush of anticipation.
In hope of hearing songs of ancient seers
I’ve stalked the echoes of superstition
and learned the rhythms of death’s repetition.
Originally published in The Amherst Review, 1986.
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