Northwords Now Issue 39

The FREE literary magazine of the North

Fish

by Amelia Graham

Last night I dreamed I was a fish,
slipped a knot twice around my wrist and let myself
slide, toe first, into the silver, rocked
and overgrown water where
I eventually shrank to a scaled and slippery size.

Like salmon in a river’s belly, waiting to flash
back against the peaty gold flow,
I found
in my river
to my surprise
that same want to fill
to return
and satisfy that overwhelming-
to go home.

So I pushed against the stream’s awesome load,
weighted against me
full of stones and spawn
and charging thick foam
to find the place where it all started long ago,
back when I let the river stream me
down towards the sea and out into the world.

Salmon travel out to sea and return
again by instinct, need.
We return, when we are worn,
to some old family home
‘a pool of one’s own’

This morning I book the 11:00 am train from
Kings Cross to Inverness,
and call my mother on the phone.

Thoughts of my returning surface as a smile.