What I Mean When I Say Chinook Salmon

This poem by Geffrey Davis appears in this week’s New York Times Magazine.

My father held the unspoken version of this story
along the bridge of his shoulders: This is how
we face and cast to the river — at angles.
This is how we court uncertainty. Here, he taught
patience before violence — to hold, and then
to strike. My fingers carry the stiff

memory of knots we tied to keep a 40-lb. King
from panicking into the deep current
of the stream. Back home, kneeling
at the edge of the tub with our kills, he showed
the way to fillet a King: slice into the soft
alabaster of the pectoral, study the pink-rose notes

from the Pacific, parse waste and bone from flesh. Then,
half asleep, he’d put us to bed, sometimes with kisses.

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