I feel you loosen grip on me,
moving, your fingers pressed
to cool Plexiglas.
We stare into the exposed hatchery pond,
watching as the 10-foot
sturgeon slides through a shoal
of hovering Coho,
snapping into sight with elongated
upper-tail lobes.
It’s all bone plates,
smooth scutes
catching like knives
in shafts of light.
It turns to suck on the side of the tank,
toothless mouth level
with our faces
fleshy barbels
hanging over gums.
I imagine it gnawing
on the muscular hinges
of clam shells—opening
to swallow salmon whole.
It’s called thunder,
when sturgeon slap their swim
bladders to attract
each other, the small sounds
reverberating in a river.
I wonder if the impulse fades here:
echoing alone in a pool of concrete—
like how could you wait, still reach after
every time you’ve strained,
bent your body’s length
to communicate

Taneum Bambrick