• canned fish


with fins on our feet
we step to the edge
slip between these breathing banks
this river is alive
in this river - 
we are alive. 

the salmon,
with scales like spruce trees
whose ancient roots will feed
on these very bodies
finning below. 

beneath and
are tangled,
in the same way our bones,
are made strong by the flesh and
delicate bones
of these fish. 

we crawl from the rivers embrace
with floating hearts
we shed our wetsuits like second skins.
we peel off our fins
collapse on warm rocks
and pretend to be sea lions,
faces tilted up at the sun. 

a solar nap
to dry
and preserve these moments
memories that we can crack open
in the depths of winter
like canned fish
that warms our bodies
these moments; 
they'll nourish our souls. 

eventually we wake
at the rumble of our bellies
just audible over the river's gentle roar
the soundtrack to coastal daydreams
and these days at the salmon river; 
well now they've died
decomposed - 
only to breathe life
into our love for the coast. 

by april bencze


PoetryApril Bencze