Read poems from Steve's award-nominated book!

Steve's style continues to be a favorite with readers and editors. His poems, while simple and accessible on the surface, often open a complex recall within the reader, through beautifully crafted images and language. Poems in the book have been described as having the impact of short, short stories. Enjoy pieces from his book which was and entrant for the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry and for a National Book Award.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Which Tales Are Fish Tales

Which Tales Are Fish Tales

I don’t remember nearly drowning,
my head submerged, taking in water,
unable to kick my feet loose
as I hung like a bat in the rafters,
from my father’s arms.
He dangled me over the toilet bowl until,
by some miracle,
my mother thrust her small body against him,
knocking him down and setting me free.

She did what any mother would do,
in that circumstance – save her child.
She told me this after the divorce,
when he was halfway around the world,
maybe doing the same thing to another enemy.
I hated him for it.

It would seem a five year old would remember,
or, as I aged, be afraid of water,
but she said it, my mommy, my mom,
my mother.

The same person who told me about the fish,
a huge grouper she had caught.
So large it stuffed the car trunk,
then filled the freezer on the back porch,
then the bathtub as it thawed.

The same fish
that came to life and bit the mop handle
in half as she tried to kill it again.
The same damn fish
she saddled with a chair and rode wildly
until she stabbed it enough times
with a butcher knife.

I’m sorry mom,
I just don’t remember almost dying,
or the fish almost living.