Whitefish Run in Winter

January 6, 2011

Whitefish Run

They speed upstream to spawn after dark
slick as ice and pearly white:
whitefish from Lake Michigan’s depths
torpedo home.

With sure instincts
with DNA of generations
with chartreuse eggs; with white milt
their sleek white shapes streak
through dark river waters
now starting to freeze.

It’s been this way in the Great Lakes
since Edenic times
when Ice Age glaciers melted away.
And now in this coldest December
anyone alive can remember
fishermen risk a walk the piers
wear cleats on their boots
tie themselves to something solid.
They jig rigged lines on the river bottom
and sometimes land a sleek, slick, delicious fish
while west winds howl.

–Barbara Spring
Excerpted from Sophia’s Lost and Found: Poems of Above and Below



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