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Clade Song Left

Clade Song 5


                        On my birthday

Fish the color of ripe tomatoes cruise
where Taylor Creek pools near the west shore of Tahoe.

Like sugar maples, Kokanee turn crimson in fall, dressing up
for mating season.  By taste and smell and mystery

they swim here, where they were spawned, resolving a cycle. 
A troop of rust-headed, tufted mergansers trolls the water,

motor boats with heads tucked under the surface
angling for minnows, or maybe just fooling around. 

Surely it’s an error to suppose other creatures act

only to survive: feed, flirt, mate, nurture. 
Or are pleasure and necessity for them the same?

I read once that nature waits for us to awaken and perceive
with the heart, so it may see itself in reflection, all

consciousness being connected.  But is it the other way around?
In the wild I sense my own amnesiac source.  Autumn loops

back to the sweet hurt inflicted by burnished beauty. 
I stand fixed in the hush that follows and forecasts mayhem.

Clade Song 5 Right
Joanne Allred is the author of three poetry collections: Whetstone, which won the Flume Press Chapbook Competition, Particulate, published by Bear Star Press, and The Evolutionary Purpose of Heartbreak, recently out from Turning Point Press. She was born and grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah, but has spent most her adult life in California, where she taught for many years in the English Department at California State University, Chico. She has been the winner of the Writer’s at Work Poetry Prize and her poems have appeared in many publications including Women’s Review of Books, Prairie Schooner and Quarterly West.  



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