Burning Bush Publications
is proud to announce the winner of
the People Before Profits Poetry Prize 2001:

Drew Cherry
for Nunauguluk vs. Icicle Seafoods

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Nunauguluk                            vs                  Icicle Seafoods
©2001 Drew Cherry
sweet red strips hang dry                         metal on metal on metal
on driftwood racks                                        grinding grating
cool spiced berries                                       building pilings shaking
disappear while the buckets fill fast                                     engine growls
                                                          10,000 pounds down
make a set                                                   the chute
laughing, as the fish hit hard                                    silver backs black and dry
haul in, backs arched, arm over arm                         dead-eyed men stand by
                                                                  in yellow
you take the leads                                                like space men, they
I'll take the corks                                          are called "technicians"
brother, you pick                                 pulling levers pushing buttons
                                                     slicing off head and tails
life means working together.                                              automatically
Um'a splits another fish                              hiss and steam and grimacing face
baby sister sorts them out:                       the foreman's coming look alive
                                                          meat pumps by    pressed
heads for salunak                                       flash neat in gold tins
humps for palak'aaq                                fork out the boxes, make the next flight
milt and eggs for Up'a                                      and shit out the rest in the bay.
                                                      Every fish a silver dollar-
Above, Raven circles;                                          every egg a little orange gem-
patiently waits for a meal                                to spend, somewhere other
which he gets, because we are thankful.                   than this fucking dump. 
Glossary
Nunauguluk : A small subsistence fish camp on the Nushagak River near Dillingham, Alaska
Um'a: Grandmother
salunak: Yup'ik Eskimo dish made from fermented salmon heads.
palak'aaq: Yup'ik Eskimo dish made from the meat along a salmon's spine.
Up'a:Grandfather

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