I was in the garage sweeping,

bare feet dabbling in the dust,

when my mother carefully placed the lid

on the aluminum salmon smoker;

she’d soaked the fillets in salt

and brown sugar, the pink flesh

washed a soft brown.


We sat and chatted on the concrete step,

our backsides cold through our jeans,

remembering the slow green river

and the silver-gray backs of the salmon,

and we talked of the long lazy summer—

memories rising and lingering like smoke.


And yes, the salmon was probably too sweet,

but we peeled off the skin and ate it anyway.


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