Howling Dog Moon
Howling Dog Moon, he said. Tonight
The bay will be full of Dog Sharks.
During Harvest Moon, he further reflected, that’s
The Salmon Moon, the time the Swimmers come home.
On the evening Cal Ripken
Broke baseball’s and Lou Gehrig’s
Consecutive games record,
I picked bull rushes with John Joseph
In knee-deep mud, mired in Young’s Bay
—picked bull rushes
Beside and under a freeway,
Galloping along unsure
Of its true destination
—picked bull rushes as faces
From autos leaned down and found me askance. God,
The questions they asked. Only John knew his purpose:
Bring reeds to Cedar Woman, the old Makah,
Weaver of grass mats.
The sky had molted lavender and gray,
As if winter waited
Lean and wizened on the flank,
An army of gray, a jihad of gray.
Howling Dog Moon, he said
As a full moon
Doused the landscape with glitter,
Flouncing shards of light across
Broken wave tops, jittering
Like Monet brushstrokes.
Late that night I woke to silence.
The vanilla moon was full. I caught the face
And wondered, salmon or dog shark?
Visioned the ringed black eyes
Of the Swimmers.
There, I made a choice: Silverside.
Remembered John bent double
His belly hunkering
Inches above the mud. His pony tail
Ebony going silver.
His face happy.
His eyes far.
Above, the modern world
Slid by, wheels spinning,
Anointed with speed.
Dog sharks, I thought,
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Poet, author, chef and free-lance writer, Daily Astorian and Chinook Observer. Environmentalist.