Sunrise at Spokane Falls, Wa. Née The Center of the Universe

Geese in the north channel
Feet rinsed by federally ordered aesthetic flows
Rise into the orange light spilling
Above the downtown bridges.

City of basalt and brick and steel
Still shadowed, the geese suddenly aloft
The homeless woman sleeps, blanket and shopping cart
Atop Sherman Alexie's spiral poem
"Where the Ghosts of Salmon Jump."
Near the falls. What was the falls.

Hot-pink panties atop leopard-print sweatpants
She sleeps, not that I look.
I’m careful to avoid seeing her vulnerable,
While stepping quietly in the dawn.

Which makes it awkward to read the fine and angry words
“But look at the falls now and tell me what you see..."
Riding the poem to its tragic, dammed center
Dam death for salmon and Indians
Tighter spirals, softly stepping, hushed.
“... Where I stand now … alone and angry."

Once the ocean, the vast holder of things
Surged this far in spring chinook bright silver
A gift for the Center of the Universe.
But look at the falls now.

The river slides against rumpled basalt
In the whirlpool below the dam
Where the bodies of jumpers collect
A flip-flop, a bucket, a basketball
Bob and spiral in the froth.
No salmon or ghosts of salmon.

Banff Mountain Film Festival @ Panida Theater

Sat., Jan. 22, 7 p.m. and Sun., Jan. 23, 6 p.m.
  • or

About The Author

Kevin Taylor

Kevin Taylor is a staff writer for The Inlander. He has covered politics, the environment, police and the tribes, among many other things.