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By Dawn's Early Light
at 120 Miles Per Hour


In Memoriam: Dennis O'Brien 1944-1980

As early as seven
I knew Salmon
would crawl between bark and trunk
in Spring
and become Willow

They were young then
their slim shadows gliding
under my perch
easing out on the fast water
going away.
But I could call their kind as they passed

By nine
I'd learned ten precious stones
to cook with the women
number pigeons in flight.

At twelve
I could run down rabbits
dig in the ground
as deep as the rest
sweat with the men.

August ended hot
the water high.
Salmon traps
were set again
wherever the river

bent around.
were posted.

That night
I returned
to sleep
with The Willows.
At first light
was already
miles away.

My mouth toughened to a beak.
My skin was resplendent with long silver scales.
Behind me
                for miles
their now
              heavy bodies
the hot fish
ready to merge

I counted the nets and traps
counted the waiting
                            hands and eyes
signaled the first leap.

We slammed against the wood
dove into the nets
tearing them down
tearing it all
til the river was free
and we could stroke
                 our gills

                each breath
our song
boulder to boulder
its special chord
through the tangled roots
The Willows
 as we passed.

I leapt the last trap
past the eyes of the older men
gently nudging
the spent bodies,
my brothers and sisters already
fused to the dense spore.

I came to rest then
in my own time
on the slick round stones
in that mouth
where our first journey had begun.

Barcelona Diary
It's Mother's Day
By Dawn's Early Light at 120 Miles Per Hour
The Man With His Back To The Room
Intimacies, Prose. Poems and Stories
Homage to a Widow
It's Only TV
Improvisations - Chapbook
After Goya
Improvisations - From Contemporary Music
Mustering What's Left