Peter & I at the Ballard Locks
July 9, 1996
We go out to the Ballard Locks to discuss our relationship.
Already I've told you, for the first time in 10 years,
"I usually kill people who call me 'cute'".
We walk all around the locks to see the salmon run.
You note the missing sea-lions;
a passer-by says they're sent to Florida.
I note the sea-gulls floating wistfully back and forth
and the one that stands for hours on the wall.
We walk again, and walk, and walk, uphill
looking for a place in the park to talk
and I finally say,
"YOU like to backpack, YOU like the high & lonely places,
YOU've climbed Mt. Whitney;
*I* like computer terminals, *I* like carnivals,
*I'm* ready to sit down NOW."
We talk for hours, and agree,
that we will always love each other,
I say I will write a poem about the salmon slam-dancing,
and the seagulls that mutter,
"Why wasn't I born an eagle? Why wasn't I born an eagle?"
And I say that you will write a poem
about the salmon-stags pawing their way upstream
and how the frustration of the salmon
is like the frustration of a man
torn between the love of a woman and the high lonely places;
between the love of a woman or the love of a different woman;
and any other confusion.