This week’s poem, by Kara Douglas, conjures the running of the alewives, as well as of a whole humming ecosystem. I love the clear, visceral details the speaker observes of the fish and their predator, and the intricate larger harmony she reveals and reveres.

Douglas lives in Harpswell with her husband and two daughters. She teaches yoga and meditation classes in the redesigned hayloft of their early 1900s barn. For 11 years, she wrote monthly articles for The Harpswell Anchor newspaper, a doorway into community and practice in the art of listening closely.

Spring Running
By Kara Douglas

Silver and wakeful, the darting begins
near the foaming underbelly of the falls.
The alewives aim upstream,
tails flapping in rapid succession,
bodies scaling the steps of the stone weir,
muscling through the current.
There are so many,
my daughters reach into the water
and catch them by hand.

In the streambank shadows,
two sharp eyes, that don’t stop watching,
two rows of needle-like teeth and a furred body,
flexed and honed.
In one quick snap, the fisher engulfs the fish,
devours body and bone, the marrow of being,
then vanishes into the forest.
One life form becomes another,
passing the flame between them,
each an expression of something larger than themselves.
Roots reach deep as the soil is renewed,
as this place persists, great heart pulsing.

Megan Grumbling is a poet and writer who lives in Portland. Deep Water: Maine Poems is produced in collaboration with the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. “Spring Running” copyright 2022 by Kara Douglas, appears by permission of the author.

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