Lisa Wells
Salmon jumping in river
Photo by Drew Farwell on Unsplash


On the seventh day I saw the concrete breached,
the river returned to its original vein, and pulsing there 
       slick and muscular multitudes 
                     of Coho winding north to spawn. 

It was so. 

I understood intuitively, if the Coho are to return
I must maim the developer’s trademark.


Now here comes the Prince of fractured libido
                   and his purse dog, Fritz. 

Here’s our man, the Viceroy of Bitumen 
also known as
    “He who bloviates well into the lunch hour”


Not quite a circle of hell, more like a coffee ring
of restless feet treadling beneath a conference table

while the talking heads attached itinerize 
their suicidal mission:
                   desertify the mountain, burn the slash.


I vow to banish these knuckleheads 
just as soon as I get born again.

                                   In a scabby motel off I-80
amidst air-conditioned doldrums
the dream began


dream of the dance pole 
conductive of sun’s
                   clockwise action and counter-
                   clockwise action of moon-

gears of equal and opposite force manifest 
                   violet thunderheads, lightning-crazed 
traveling out from the center in concentric rings
                   to make a world. 

Logic of resistance.


We will meet, in the road to Tar Sands
a man of myriad chattering heads—

disordered, habituated 
to the freebased recremental whee of implosion.


Who has for an opponent
the meeting of middle class reformists.


You waiting for the thrill jockey to get his fill 
and climb down off us?

                   He will never get his fill. 
                   He will never climb down off us.


Just ask the kids at Fort Mac, where threshers undo
                   the true name of Lake Athabasca.


Forgone, that we are all accomplice
                   but it’s not too late to turn
                   if you want to 
cool your heels here on earth.

Lisa Wells is a poet and nonfiction writer from Portland, Oregon. Her debut collection of poetry, THE FIX, won the 2017 Iowa Poetry Prize. A book of nonfiction, Believers, is forthcoming from Farrar, Straus & Giroux in 2019. She lives in Seattle.