Fish Ladder

Imagine a concrete incline with steps
no feet will tread;

how our bodies, scaled with rainbows, wrestle
water to leap upstream

over man-made bank and lock
to follow the imperative to mate

and spawn. Spent, we swim up
a narrow rill

to fish heaven where the gates are pearly
and translucent as ribs,

where wood-fire smoke billows
like fluffy beds of rice.

Elaine Mintzer is a Los Angeles poet. She has been published in journals and anthologies including Perspectives, Borders and Boundaries, Mom Egg Review, Lit’s Like a Girl anthology, and Rattle. Elaine’s book, Natural Selections, was published by Bombshelter Press. www.mintzer.org