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Salmon

Written by: Jorie Graham | Biography
 I watched them once, at dusk, on television, run,
in our motel room half-way through
Nebraska, quick, glittering, past beauty, past
the importance of beauty.
, archaic, not even hungry, not even endangered, driving deeper and deeper into less.
They leapt up falls, ladders, and rock, tearing and leaping, a gold river, and a blue river traveling in opposite directions.
They would not stop, resolution of will and helplessness, as the eye is helpless when the image forms itself, upside-down, backward, driving up into the mind, and the world unfastens itself from the deep ocean of the given.
.
.
Justice, aspen leaves, mother attempting suicide, the white night-flying moth the ants dismantled bit by bit and carried in right through the crack in my wall.
.
.
.
How helpless the still pool is, upstream, awaiting the gold blade of their hurry.
Once, indoors, a child, I watched, at noon, through slatted wooden blinds, a man and woman, naked, eyes closed, climb onto each other, on the terrace floor, and ride--two gold currents wrapping round and round each other, fastening, unfastening.
I hardly knew what I saw.
Whatever shadow there was in that world it was the one each cast onto the other, the thin black seam they seemed to be trying to work away between them.
I held my breath.
as far as I could tell, the work they did with sweat and light was good.
I'd say they traveled far in opposite directions.
What is the light at the end of the day, deep, reddish-gold, bathing the walls, the corridors, light that is no longer light, no longer clarifies, illuminates, antique, freed from the body of that air that carries it.
What is it for the space of time where it is useless, merely beautiful? When they were done, they made a distance one from the other and slept, outstretched, on the warm tile of the terrace floor, smiling, faces pressed against the stone.



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