Monday, April 12, 2010


Chinook Salmon spawn only once. Born in freshwater streams and rivers, they migrate to the sea to mature. Those who survive struggle back upstream to reproduce, then die.


Corpses line the riverbanks.
A mass grave cloaked in tule fog,
scavenged by one stiff-legged heron
and a noisy murder of crows.

Thrashing in the riffles
below the railroad bridge,
a red male, fasting since he left the sea,
swims his journey's final reach—
hump-backed, hook-jawed—
to gravel beds where he began.

Pilgrim, wanderer, prodigal son.
Spreading seed in childhood waters:
a deathbed offering to a god unknown.

("Odysseus" was first published in Rattlesnake Review, Issue #2.)