This fiery summer, my mother is dying
Because the streams are too shallow
And warm. There is nowhere
For my mother to rest and hide
From the sun and heat and predators.
Experts warn that my mother
Will go extinct in certain bodies of water
As the earth grows hotter and hotter.
Yes, my mother will soon be the last
Mother to perish in this sacred river.
My mother will be mourned by the trees,
And diver birds and hungry grizzlies.
There will be nothing left to deliver
Other than centuries of eulogies.
from You Don't Have to Say You Love Me by Sherman Alexie
His mother tells him that as a child she walked across the Spokane River on the backs of salmon. As a child I remember standing on the banks of the Kalama watching salmon swimming upstream to spawn, so thick that you could have easily imagined crossing the river on their backs.