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Second prize winner of the 1st Jackpine Sonnet Contest.
The air redolent of rot and bear scat as we pick and clamber our way upstream. Boots slip against the shifting pebbles through the stew of fish shreds, milt, dams of waylaid, bloated chum clotted with maggots. Highways of still spawning pinks, their slick black bodies half out of the shallows, collide, slide back, flail past. Beneath a submerged trunk of spruce, a cauldron teems with hundreds of salmon at journey’s end, stream to ocean to stream, churning and swirling, the way we churn, swirl, colliding into our biology. Year after year, our striving and failing to love or hold love, or even arrive.