Saturday, January 16, 2016

new book

... et mentem mortalia tangunt

Get it here or here.

Salmon Run, Kagawong, Ontario, 2013


We decided not to have a child
and now walk together beside this teeming.
Cold pries flushed leaves from the maples
above water heaving with flesh.
I want my wife's breasts. She undoes a button
and folds my hands into the warmth under her clothes,
and I waver near regret, never knowing if the choice
was wisdom or cowardice, unwilling to risk chaos,
unwilling to pay the time --- our melancholy,
grown-up caution before the violence of desire.
But I touch her and tell myself I know our child,
curled hank of vein and bone swimming through her
that would have knotted
our temporary blood to this falling and surge.


I have never seen this before:
the traveled fish thrash uphill,
stubborn as hammered spikes,

hovering to rest
in the lucid pools, then bursting out,
tails beating the ice-water

over ruffling shoals,
urgent toward reproduction
and death. When one loses

its grip on the water, the current
sweeps it far back, until it catches
somehow and climbs again,

each a thick, single-minded
sleeve of flesh pulsing
like a horse's thigh muscle.

The untiring, convulsive salmon
whip themselves above
the slick, algae-green stones,

against the also stubborn
invisible current, yellow-
black ripples of shimmer and

thrust --- or, each a fist
clenched on roe or milt,
they punch a tunnel through water

to quiet where they will gasp
and drop their milky heat
into the dangerous chill of this world.