This month I was lucky enough that the majority of the poems I marked are also available on-line at the Poetry Magazine web-site. Here are a couple of my favorites:
On Wanting to Tell [ ] about a Girl Eating Fish Eyes by Mary Szybist caught my attention because the title alone is unusual. So is the poem, which I thought would send shivers of disgust down my spine but left me with a small smile instead. It describes the loss of a loved one and the wistfulness of a sentimental moment. “You died just hours ago./Not suddenly, no. You’d been dying so long/nothing looked like itself:” While I don’t know which parent specifically passed, the parent is honored by the voice in the poem who is watching her own daughter. “I refill the glasses/and we raise a toast to you/as so and so’s daughter…” Then there is the sentimental yet strange (to me) moment of “slides into another lap/to eat another pair of slippery eyes/with her soft fingers, fingers rosier each time,” While the youngest daughter/granddaughter is eating fish eyes her parent wishes for the return of her own mother or father: “If only I could go to you, revive you./You must be a little alive still.” I love that line of “a little alive still” because most of us still feel our loved one’s presence long after they pass. You think of something they would have laughed at and realize you can’t call them up and tell them, you can’t show them a video or pictures of the event because they have passed. For those who believe in heaven, there is comfort in their being alive in spirit, perhaps looking down upon you. In the poem, the youngest daughter delights in eating fish eyes “She is placing one on her tongue,/bright as a polished coin—“ and when asked what they taste like the child simply replies “They taste like eyes.” This is how the poem ends, with a very simple remark from the child while her mother watches in wonder while thinking of how her own parent who has passed on would marvel at this child, also. It’s a strange and beautiful poem that I have trouble explaining but wanted to share with you nonetheless.
The next poem is Murray Dreaming by Stephan Edgar which can also be read by clicking:
A trip to the aquarium brings about wonder and stillness in a boy named Murray as he watches the stillness of the cod amidst all the activity going on at the aquarium whether it be people passing through or sharks swimming in their tank. Stephen Edgar describes Murray taking in all that he sees: “Out in the day/Again, he saw the famous streets expound/Their theories about speed, the cars obey,/Racing to catch the sun….and thought it odd/That in the multitudes not everyone/Should understand as he did the profound/Profession of the cod,/That held time, motionless, unknown to sound.” The words “Profession of the cod” is a wonderful line because it is so unexpected a revelation that cod might have work to do, even if it is to remain still amidst everything else. Murray dreams at night of the fish remaining still while above in the daylight everything zips along. I really enjoy the perspective of the child which brings about the wonder that many of us as adults forget.
Also very interesting in this issue is the section on Visual Poetry which you can read more about by clicking here and seeing/reading for yourself:
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