Friday, October 28, 2011

Sonnet, Without Salmon

image borrowed from bing

Sonnet, Without Salmon

1. The river is empty.
2. Empty of salmon, I mean.
3. But if you were talking to my grandmother,
she would say the water doesn’t matter
if the salmon are gone.
4. She never said that. I just did.
But I’m giving her those words
as a gesture of love.
5. She’s been gone for thirty-one years.
6. The water doesn’t matter if
my grandmother is gone.
7. She swam wearing all of her clothes,
even her shoes.
8. I don’t know if that was a tribal thing to do,
or if she was just eccentric.
9. Has anybody ever said that dam building
is an act of war against Indians?
10. And, yet, we need the electricity, too.
11. My mother said the reservation needs
a new electrical grid because
of all the brown- and blackouts.
12. “Why so many power outages?” I ask her.
13. “All the computers,” she says.
14. Today, in Seattle, I watched a cute couple
at the next table whispering to their cell phones
instead of to each other. But, chivalrous,
he walked to the self-service coffee bar
to get her a cup. Lovely, I thought.
She was busy on her phone while he
was ten feet away. When he sat back down,
she said, “Oh, I was texting you
to get me sugar and cream.”


Posted over on Orion Magazine

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