Dogfish Moon

Posted by on Sep 6, 2022 in Blog | No Comments
Dogfish Moon

Dogfish Moon

Full Moon  September 9, 2022


face forward & her body slumped

her husband appeared in the aisle & lifted her face

glazed eyes unresponsive, he called for a doctor, a nurse

our plane was silent & still as he cried emergency

twilight oxygen, burning jet fuel, flying high above the earth

one human life

her toddler on the seat next to her, white travelers to America

good English, decent clothes, flying coach, perhaps dying

within arm’s reach her encounter with death landed

somewhere deep in my own body, a crisis of intimacy

this stranger’s panic was my own helplessness

in the face of a world falling forward into absence

my own fever wail & feeble wish to help

stopped by gravity, by mystery

just across the aisle, younger than I, almost gone from all this

leaving us bereft of whatever dreams she may have traced


I wept through the next layover

every person a riffle of meltwater

in the echo chamber plastic & metal concourse

later the reality of a salmon run touched the same tenderness

smell of fish bodies disintegrating, last muscular splashing

each one in the fresh rainbow of life-death, each one me


in my own body’s natal water abides true home

unbound by my love, liberated from my fear


better to say one life—no species modifier

one life in an unlimited circle

that honors & uplifts each in their place

above, below & all around

one harmonic life singing out over the rushing falls


Poem by Qayyum Johnson

Painting by Suiko McCall. She who Moves the Shore, 2022. Ink on Yupo, 48×60″.


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