After the flood, the salmon cut
the Wilson River, high and colored up.
Their bodies, candied nuts in butter cream
water that’s supposed to be green,
flicker and fin, release their milt
to the effluent tons of forest silt
thickening banks like packed brown sugar.
When the salmon spawn, their bodies shudder.
Meanwhile, downstream, in the RV park
the displaced poor sit in the dark,
their bodies stuck in trailers wet and wrecked
in the sour streak of the flood’s havoc.
When night falls and still there is no heat,
will they know the taste of death is bittersweet?
– This poem first appeared in “Oregon Pacific,” a book of Nancy Slavin’s poems published earlier this year by Bay City Books.