Susan Morse

Exposed

Black crows wheel and scream along with red-tail hawks overhead, 

early November mornings - the fish fulfilling their inescapable destiny,  


and I remember a poem I once read. In it, a girl writes of gang rape

and visualizes dying salmon, Pacific salmon with delicate insides exposed.  


Years ago at the Mokelumne River we watched them scatter useless seed

in their final frenzy, trying to fling themselves up and over the fish ladders 


thrashing

pink

bloated 

with grayed lips and underbellies


their silence and the water's silence

sharply punctuated by the thrust

of the excited onlookers' cawing, 

ready to pounce on any remains, 


the salmon ascending and dying all at once.  


I think that is what she meant. 


Susan Morse grew up in California, then moved to Maine and lived there for 30 years. She taught ELA at the middle school level before retiring. She moved to Oregon in 2016, and she is currently a member of the Oregon Poetry Association. Her first chapbook, In the Hush, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2019.