Recorded at the annual Black Earth Institute gathering: Art and Literature Lab, Madison; Oct 7th, 2017
Chinook/Sockeye August to September (October)
Aflame with the crimson color of marriage, the salmon Seek their lovers. For the salmon, the act Spinning out life Is an act of death For the salmon Life lives in death. The salmon bets its life on love. “Salmon Coming Home in Search of Sacred Bliss” Mieko Chikappu, translated from the Ainu by Jane Corddry Langill with Rie Taki and Judith Roche
The River Dance
Choose the site for depth and current water flow and roll. Turn, push and burrow gravel, deepen the redd. Settle in to test the depth. Busy while the males fight to get to me, the prize, my hope chest full of posterity. I choose the reddest one- Aflame with the crimson color of marriage, torn and tattered but flushing deep burgundy slash mark pattern. I pass back and forth over him caressing his back and sides while the others drift away, all their fire fading to dull gray. Crouching together we hover pulsing along the thin dark stripes, our lateral lines, sensing every quiver, throbbing our ancient dance of love and risk. Spinning out our lives we love each other to death.
Coho/Chinook/Sockeye September to October (November)
The salmon die Ahh, so tenderly. “Salmon Coming Home in Search of Sacred Bliss” Mieko Chikappu, translated from the Ainu by Jane Corddry Langill with Rie Taki and Judith Roche
Everything draws down toward autumn and the way light is broken in splintered color we are broken to feed the multitudes take, eat, this is my body this is my blood eagle and osprey raven and bear, stonefly and gull tear my flesh. My silt settles and salts the stream cedar and fern, algae and fungi, ameba and protozoa suck a rich soup. My body emptied of eggs, milky milt settled, completing the circle, eelgrass and catkin, cougar and lynx, creating life from the dead, Food for the stream, I feed all comers.