Pick-a-Poem: “Swordfish”


This week we feature another poetical selection from Poems.com, which is a great source for daily poems. If you’d like some rhyme and verse injected into your day, check out the website. This week’s selection is Swordfish, which is written by Andrew Hudgins. Unfortunately, no matter how I searched the world wide web, I could not find an audio version of this poem. So, unfortunately, I cannot offer the experience of hearing Andrew Hudgins read his poem this week. But, there is a second, bonus poem at the linked page, which is called The Imagined Copperhead. So…a bonus poem is pretty good, right? Check it out!

According to his page at The Poetry Foundation, Andrew Hudgins has published several books of poetry and a collection of essays. These books include Saints and Strangers (1986), The Never-Ending (1991), The Glass Hammer: A Southern Childhood (1994), and The Glass Anvil (1997). Hudgins has been awarded the Hanes Poetry Prize and the Witter Bynner Award for Poetry. He has received fellowships from the Ingram Merrill Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. He has taught at numerous institutions including Baylor University, the University of Cincinnati, and Ohio State University.

Swordfish, by Andrew Hudgins

My fingertips marveled at the silvery shimmer,
already less silver, less shimmery than when it lived.
I never again should cause flesh this beautiful
to be less beautiful, I thought.
At supper
—swordfish—my brother offered up his neighbor
for conversation. He’d shotgunned every TV
in his house, even the puny black-and-white
on the kitchen counter. Buckshot shattered black
granite and splintered yards of golden oak.

In the unexpected hush as we considered
slaughtered appliances, my brother’s drinking buddy
told my girlfriend she was a pretty lady,
a real pretty lady. She looked like a dream.
One day she’d make a real man really happy.
I barked three hard flat laughs. The lit friend winced
as each blast turned his cheeks a richer red.
My girlfriend closed her eyes and opened them,
her azure eyelids shimmering with jade.

I hope you enjoyed this week’s pick-a-poem. Check out more of them here. Check out our Slate poems here.

— Jet Fuel Blog Editor, Mary Egan


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