Darting the Dark Tunnels

for David Sohappy

Down the dark tunnels
draped with tattered shreds
of memories not your own,
past the piercing screams
of gulls raising wings
in your grandfather's throat,
the beaks and claws battling scraps
hurled overhead as your first
salmon ceremony wraps its magic
tight around your mind, the dark
tunnels of broken dreams
which drift from your grandmother's
breathless mouth like mist,
the nets slapping the river's face alive
as the sun paints bright ribbons
on the riotous sky, the screams
in your grandfather's eyes as he sees
the impending end of everything
in the dark tunnels of his mind—
down these, past these, through these
you float in your red cedar canoe,
your carved prow raised
in the old way, your resting place
hollowed by hot coals, your eyes
white like the clouds. In the space
I reserve for you in the swift
streams darting the dark tunnels
of my life, I raise my fist.

[Published in Calapooya Collage]