Low stream flows, deceptively gentle
incubate fish eggs, keep them safe,
while storms would sweep them away
toward predators downstream.
Birthing salmon and steelhead, fins flinch,
shudder in waters too calm for swimming
to tributaries, their birth canals.
In the main stem, they dig up
each other’s eggs, lay their own. Animals
fond of ikura, meaning ‘salmon eggs’
and also ‘how much,’ quickly feast.
Sword of storm, sword of calm hangs above.
How often we celebrate, scoop caviar,
lives swallowed like casual swords
cutting through first life.
Custom of delicate spoons, as if fearing
fragility of wealth, prone to slip away,
glistening pearly ounces, as if
taking less dignifies the taking, as if
life’s thrashings disappear beneath
glistening dishes of roe, as if
too much would reveal our gaze
deciding who survives cycles,
Fish ache to fly upstream like birds
swim through clouds like blooms
welcome the sun, as fawns bond
in faint cries to their does.
Doe and fawn graze, lie on grass,
each blade holding its own weight.
Lynn lives in the U.S., works in disaster readiness, formerly at an environmental NGO , has been published a bit.