A Display of Smoked Mackerel: A New Poem by Stephen Elves

(After Mark Doty)

Splendid in rows like the silvery dead
your afterlife now lit in amber
as if each caught fire then dived
into waves of crushed ice.

Your summer skin glows oiled bronze
a tiger-burnt patina of experience:
the shimmer of youthful flash
quietened by an old gold currency;

this is the whole fish, no etiolated fillet
slit from a bodybag –
the meat needs strong company
in a sweet glisten of horseradish.

The biggest fish catches my eye:
its white stare from a hollow socket
half-winks at me to unwrap its silk
chevrons, strip it to the nub.

I want its dark flesh: its eye,
drowning in dry air, wants mine.

 

For more of Stephen Elves’ work look out for the release of Long Exposure Magazine, Issue 3.

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