writing – salmon


The Salmon Shirt.

Sweat is pooling on my forehead. Trailing down the side of my face and into my eyes.

Jesus, it’s hot. 

Siri mumbles the directions from my pant pocket.

She tells me I have another kilometre until I reach my destination.

I curse her out as I walk.

Passing a tennis court. The sound of shoes squeaking against the surface.

Pok! The hollow rubbery sound of a clean hit.

Thinking of Canberra. Space. Trees. Empty.

Seeing the city. Ornery car horns. Mountainous buildings. People.

Did you know some species of salmon change colour depending on what water they are in?

They could be reddish pink in fresh water.

They could be silver in salt.

Siri chirps. I have reached my destination. It’s cold in the elevator and my tucked shirt feels too short for my pants. The doors open. I enter IKEA’s wet dream. The receptionist directs me to the waiting room, an open space with four chairs.

The chairs are all different.

Different sizes.

Different shapes.

Different colours.

Congratulations, I think, you guys have broken the waiting room.

Finally, I get dragged into an office and the meeting begins.

Did you know, using stored body fats, Salmon can travel over 3500 miles to spawn? On average they will produce over 2500 eggs but can produce over 7000.

The doors open and I am back outside. Jesus, it’s still hot.

Taking a seat on the closest tram platform, I start texting all the right people. I was too oblique. He called me a millennial. I received some great advice. 


A gruff voice. Mumbling.

It’s an old man. He looks homeless. Clothes are soiled, tattered. Staring right at me, slack-jawed. The victim of alcohol or mental illness or both.

This is just what I need.

‘Hey! …tram doesn’t stop there, need to go to the end mate!’

A smile. Nicotine teeth.


Salmon do not eat while migrating upstream.

The South Morang line trundles from stop to stop. Jolimont to West Richmond. Through the divider at the end of the cart, I watch a skinny Asian kid with glasses going to town on a sub.

He chomps on the thing like he doesn’t need to breathe.

Bespectacled eyes sweep across the divider and meet mine. I am lurched over the seat, feeling raw and hungry. He is precariously balancing the stub of his sandwich and pushing his thick glasses into his nose.

God, that sandwich looks good.

Young salmon reside in beaver ponds.

Beaver ponds provide defence from predators.

Fumbling around my backpack for the keys to my house. Dripping with sweat. Just searching for my keys is making me frustrated. I can feel my patience struggling to keep the peace. The anger is spiking.

Something snaps and I slam the bag against the door.

I start stomping and kicking and destroying. This fucking uncomfortable piece of shit, filled with fucking useless crap that serves no fucking purpose but to slow me the fuck down.

The keys take flight from the bag and land on the lawn.

As I open the door, cold air flushes across my skin. Relief.

Untucking my too-short checkered shirt, I peel out of my ‘professional aesthetic‘ clothes and pull on my ‘gives no fucks‘ attire.

Salmon can survive from 3 to 8 years in the wild.

I’ve been living in Melbourne for 7 months.

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