Poem of the Week | June 25, 2018

This week, we are proud to offer a new poem by Brook J. Sadler. Sadler is a poet and professor of philosophy, a Floridian, freethinker, mother, vegetarian, and feminist. Her poetry has been published with ROAR, Tampa Review, McNeese Review, The Cortland Review, Chariton Review, GW Review, Atlanta Review, The Boiler Journal, Ms. Magazine, and elsewhere.

On Gossip

At ancient Roman feasts,
the coryphene, a large fish,
was often a centerpiece:
Placed still alive on a serving dish,
guests watched as it changed hues—
from vital, sea-made blues
to colors lurid and strange—
sickly yellow, sour red, and brutal orange.
They relished the spectacle
of the slowly dying animal.

Author’s Note:

One day, while at a conference, I overheard some gossip that needled me. By chance, I had just come across an old encyclopedia entry on the coryphene. The poem leapt up at me: title first, fish next. Allowing the title to sit by itself, disconnected from the poem’s literal subject, required restraint: I needed to let the reader make the necessary metaphorical connection between the poem’s scene and the title. I am often drawn to the muscle-power of rhyming quatrains; here, the form was a good way for me to contain the poem.