Archives for February 2021

A reading of Sherman Alexie’s “That Place Where Ghosts of Salmon Jump”

Meleager’s Curse

The logs I put on this shameful fire are wet
Although I have nothing to base this on
But the fact that they were once collected
Like lost children in the earliest part
Of past spring, encased in a thousand snows,
And sopped through to the pith by rains that March
And April let loose through the haggard woods
Where they first came to life, then were hewn down,
Then split apart by flex of axe and maul.

The logs I put on this shameful fire are wet
And will only sputter now like old men
Faced with an impossible choice between drink
And a winking spark of pert nonchalance
Offered by a pretty slattern’s visit
To the bar, platinum-haired, dolled up and grim
With smiles. The logs now tumble, smoke and hiss—
Dismissing fate, soggy with lassitude,
Indifferent to what burns them at last.

The logs I put on this shameful fire are wet
And daylight tapers outside my window
Into porcelain blue, brittle and fazed
With February weather. I poke the logs;
They answer briefly before returning
To their witless sleep. Or do they dream
They are vaunting like masts amid their days
Of swaying June? Or in their senescence
Are they still flagrant with dreams about fire?

A Fellow Named Webb

A fellow named Webb there once was
Who was hounded and harassed by the fuzz
For committing a crime
Every single time
He just did what everyone else always does.


Tulips for Elsie

Source: The Writer’s Almanac, 2/1/21

See Also: Dappled Things, Pentecost 2012