November’s gold oak-leafed waves slop the pier;
the ancient salmon and trout move towards shore.
Each November it’s the same; each November
the healthy fish bring the old and sick in to die.
For two weeks, the long, quick fish swim the length
of the pier, thread the pilings until all the ones
that swim the shore breaking water with tails & fins
have beached & been eaten by gulls, stars, & hawks.
Then the steelhead, coho, brown
trout left return to deep water.
And the trees begin to look like saints in moonlight
and the black walnut fills with cedar waxwings
all balled up against the November winds.
Poem by Susan Firer. From her book, Milwaukee Does Strange Things To People: New & Selected Poems 1979-2007 (The Backwaters Press; Copyright 2007 Susan Firer).
Published here with Susan’s kind permission.