In her own words...



Yesterday I saw some bears at the top of a waterfall. 
They were watching salmon leap up from the cascade. 

It was on television and, moreover, part of an ad. 
Not one of them, salmon or bears, was impressed

by the water's will, its weight, its wrath, its wall, 
the salmon flying out from that knockout force

like careless birds rising from a field of silver wheat. 
The falling water obviously had no intention of getting

in the way of a salmon's destination. It was beautiful. 
Trouble was, the bears were there with bear intentions. 

Their heads bobbed up and down, perhaps admiring
every quiver and flash, their four feet as firmly planted

in water as the rock-face itself. Now and then one of them
opened its mouth to let a fish dive into it. That was the part

that made me think of my own headlong leaps and dives 
when I thought there would be no mouths to receive me.


About this work

“Destinations” was first published in The New Yorker, May 27, 2002, p. 66.  It is also included in Dorothea Tanning's book, A Table of Content: Poems, New York: Graywolf Press, 2004, p. 14, and may not be reprinted without the publisher's permission.