Affirmation

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Affirmation

 

When the sockeye come in, choking the riffles with their

crimson bodies, flashing their fins

with effort 

and instinct,

we push through the alder and into the river

to sit among their fading stories

like patient, glacial erratics.

It has always been this way.

We fish the currents and eddys,

eating our fill. 

 

When did you first deny 

your hunger?

There is no shame in feeding, in 

growing bigger.

Life longs to expand, to 

wriggle free.

 

As a child, you knew this. Each summer cabin night 

you would slide out of bed and 

tiptoe across the moon shadowed floor

to the bear rug.

Its story didn’t matter, just the deep softness, 

darker than the night outside. 

You curled up there, head to head, deep

in a bed of your own choosing.

 

Love chooses love.

It has always been this way.

Think of the day his 

ashes poured from the bridge

into this river.

The sunlight brightened the dust

as it fell,

refracting within the tiny prisms of him, 

connecting you

to this water

with a column of color.

It was as if 

he was becoming every silvery shade

of the river,

every flashing scale of the fish.

 

He loved this river.

Not the way we do, or you will,

but in the way salmon love with a fierce,

instinctual pursuit, heedless of obstacle or cost.

This drive to their own deaths 

and return

is astonishing.

 

But their run is not about a hunger unmet,

or denial. It is not even

about death, though that is part of it.

They swim as the river, becoming it,

not its opposite,

not a journey of obliteration, self-destruction,

and pain,

but an affirmation 

of the journey

Itself.

 

You have made 

a different choice

than him,

season after season.

He took his own life, not yours.

Accept 

this 

feast.

In claiming your hunger,

you are believing what

he could not.

 

Come. The light is fading, and our bellies are full.

Dare to choose the bed that has chosen you.

Rest. Wait. Dream. Create. 

It has always been this way.

The time for waking will come.

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