Of Salmon and Shaman
by Ralph Monday


On sticks we smoked salmon by the river,
the fire burnt to red embers like the ashes
of an expiring lover. Shaman was in the air,
feathers following his vision.
An owl called in daytime, sign of imminent
death.

Hemlocks huddled around us as chicks about
the hen, the river ran November green. Blue
smoke curled upward like vines climbing
toward the sun. This day was not real, the
moment unmounted from fogs skittering
like ghosts. Everything was tongue talking:
water spoke of the womb, rocks related the
age of Moses, the earth dissolved the American
myth; in the distance long buried knuckle
bones drummed out a text of revival, the sun
sang salvation, the river resurrection.

We nodded approval; having already eaten
we fed the salmon to the shaman.






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