Thursday, December 9, 2010

Two Poems By Jessica Fisher

Jessica Fisher is a poet that I have recently encountered. I'd picked up her volume Frail-Craft from my favorite bookstore--Pegasus Books--and read around in it a bit before shelving it at work. Now, clearing that shelf of the semester's texts, I found the volume again. Now, I'm delving deeper.

Here are two that strike me today. Each has a clear voice and a sense of mystery for me. I feel drawn in by these two, even if I haven't quite worked out or felt out all the nuances. I like where I am being taken, if that's the best phrase. "Canal," the second, is a prose-poem, and since the original line endings won't fit into my blog as given, I've marked those endings with "/".

I hope you find Fisher's poems striking as well.


It's a true story: we were at sea, together at risk,
and he was very poor, a regular fisherman, from
a family of such. He happened to fill the equation
in the geometry of appetite I trace: for even the blind
can see! And so you see it's not so much about the eye
as whatever is made to serve the master who asks
for wine, wants the pickled fruits de mer alongside
the treatise on navigation and the maps that show
what oceans hide.
Yet men still drown
in order to know the difference between sky
and whatever name you give to the deep. Otherwise
they see the sea as surface, want to sit on the beach
and say Look at me, looking at the sea!



Because, despite the eye's illusion, parallel lines do not converge: so that it was that / we walked the canal in tandem, you on the north side, I on the south. I / watched as you stooped to fix your shoe, as you took off your jacket, then put it / back on again; I knew you were cold, too, when the wind came, and the rains, / and then snow, sleet, hail--such offense taken, though there never was a / crime, never the imagined tryst in the summer canal, our bodies pale against / the nightblack reeds. But if the eye can love--and it can, it does--then I held / you and was held.