(After Raymond Carver’s Hummingbird)

Suppose I said the word “springtime”
and I wrote the words “king salmon”
on a piece of paper
and mailed it to you.
When you opened it
would you remember that afternoon we spent
together in the yellow boat
when the early whales were feeding
and we caught our first fish of the year?
 
Or would you remember that time off Cape Flattery
when you were a little girl:
your father smoking, telling stories as he ran the boat,
then the tug and zing of that very first fish
spooling off into the gray-green world;
you laughing and brushing back your hair
before setting the hook?
 
I know I am hard to understand sometimes
particularly when you are standing
at the post office with only a piece of paper
saying “king salmon” on it
but just think of it as a promissary note
and that electric tug, that thrill
pulling your mind into deep water
is how I feel about you every,
single day.

Note to Poetry Out Loud students: This poem begins with an epigraph that must be recited. Omitting the epigraph will affect your accuracy score.
  • John Straley, “every single day” from The Rising and the Rain. Copyright © 2008 by John Straley. Reprinted by permission of University of Alaska Press.

  • Source: The Rising and the Rain (University of Alaska Press, 2008)

Poet Bio

What People are Saying

"I did not expect to fall in love with poetry. I just expected to recite and be done with it. After just sitting there and analyzing my poems, I realized that the stories told through these few words mean so much. I had to step out of myself and step into the author's shoes, and with that comes great work."
Kyla Rose Bates
2016 LA POL Champion