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by Marion Menna
Red-winged blackbirds oka-lee
from thickets of cat-tails on the shore.
Shadblow serviceberry is in bloom,
glittering white in the hedgerows.
Shad roe has burgeoned in the deeps,
fine dining for crabs and eels.
What 's left over bursts forth,
gray spurts of tiny fry.
Carried by the current to the sea,
they school, and browse, and grow
until one spring, they swim upriver
to spawn where they were born.
Grown shad are bony fish,
like a porcupine inside out,
still all along the river's shores
men and boys stand with nets
drag them up onto the land
in silver struggling heapsó
the flesh is filleted from the bones
and fried in oil at makeshift stands.
In the same season, at the same time,
the shadblow glistens - perfect, star-shaped,
five-petalled flowers, a blaze of white,
as abundant as the bones, the roe, the fish.