Issue 35, Final Fringe

“What is broken, God Blesses” and Piranha Fishing

by K.E. Ogden Issue 19 08.10.2009

Piranha Fishing

Your wife tells me I should write your obituary;			

	You've got the writing talent.
		I want this as a compliment,
		or some kindness--but I must confess,

		I always thought her a bitch.

		Here: rustling leaves sound

like rain, or

		                    It can be relaxing—
	                            a swim in Piranha-infested waters.
Razored teeth 

thirst for large 

mammals like monkeys
or humans if blood scents the water.
		                    Father, you read this
		                    from my guidebook:

		                    Lago Panacocha, a place I did not visit
		                    despite your urgings. I cannot say I'm sorry—
		                    even if “they're surprisingly easy to catch,”
				    and “make a fine meal.”

I might've brought back a jawbone;
								kept it in colored glass. . .
								but I'm not much for fishing. 

So it's cancer, then—this is what your obituary must reveal.
		                               Can you see, Father?
		                               Two squirrels twitch around
		                               the base of this trunk; 

		                               bodies ripple
		                               across clover—
		                               waves of hopping,
		                               bushy tail— 

		                               too many
		                               gnats today.

Rich's poem? He said, 

	                                 mother’s ashes were gritty and yellowed,
	                                 heavy with chunks of bone; father’s ashes 

smooth like silt. . .

		If I could put my hands inside your body you could glide through my fingers.
					You, too, would be silt, father.

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K.E. Ogden

K.E. Ogden

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K.E. Ogden grew up in Honolulu, Baton Rouge, and San Francisco. Her poems and essays have been published in Slipstream, A.I.M., Phoebe, Radical Teacher, and Teaching Tolerance. An alumna of the Teach for America program, she is a regular blogger for The Kenyon Review Online and was named Poet Laureate of Gambier, Ohio in 2008. She stirs up trouble in Los Angeles, California. Visit her online at