American River
As long as a woman's forearm,
as thick as a wrist,
the salmon's gray; the water's hazy.

If I lifted her with spread hands
she'd fall to pieces in the middle
where scavengers excavated a hole.

Roe's piled like pink pearls, the color
of a tea rose whose curved petals
are falling in my friend's front yard.

Shiny fish's eggs exposed
to Saturday sun -- rows of treasure
she swam with, swam with for miles.

Alexa Mergen writes from Sacramento where she enjoys walking the American River Parkway. She teaches with California Poets in the Schools.