Salmon Poems

Josh Sherman

where the salmon don’t run

went to see the salmon run, but no salmon ran
your Chihuahua did chase a small boy around the trail, tho
and as he looked back in terror you said,
'he's gonna get you'
so all in all, not a bad day

For ****, Oct. 13 or 14, 2019

Major League Salmon

You said you wanted to see the salmon run
in the Don Valley and asked if I wanted to come along
I said, sure, let’s go see the fish parade
the battle of gill versus current
Besides, it was autumn, and it feels good to be alive
when everything else around you is about to die
Like how I always feel better
when I hear an ambulance in the distance
even though I know
one day it’ll be coming for me

We got to the spot that was set up for viewing
after walking maybe 10 minutes along a trail
that had psychedelic salmon painted on it
guiding us, because we weren’t salmon; we needed cues
There were cement benches there like bleachers
overlooking the brown, rushing water
It was like a stadium for salmon watching
instead of football or baseball or soccer
and if I’m honest, it kind of made more sense that way
for people to be sitting here, turning the salmon run
into a spectator sport

For some reason, though, the salmon never showed
Maybe they were taking a time-out
or perfecting their salmon huddle, a 50-yard dash
or negotiating their contract with the river

Written Oct. 13, 2019, edited Oct. 25, 2019, for ****

Salmon Funeral

If we had seen the salmon run
a sacred moment would’ve been ruined

For the salmon, it’s a matter of life and death
so our relationship failing there
would be like
breaking up
at a funeral

It’s in bad taste

Written in hindsight, Nov. 17, 2019

Josh Sherman is a Toronto-based journalist with fiction published in Hobart and the Great Lakes Review.