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Swordfish

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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.

It wasn't election time or football season.
Maybe his kids had watched Debbie do Dallas.
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.

Source: Poetry (March 2007)

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This poem originally appeared in the March 2007 issue of Poetry magazine

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Swordfish

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