Jennifer Jackson Berry | Bloodfish

Bloodfish: poems by Jennifer Jackson Berry. Selected by co-editors Steve Bellin-Oka and Ron Mohring as Number 19 in our Keystone Chapbook Series, celebrating the work of Pennsylvania-connected poets.

Publication:  April 1, 2019 [100 copies]
25 pages
ISBN: 978-1-949333-55-8
$ 9.00

Jackson Berry_Bloodfish_webcover: Julia Garcia, “Heart”

Jennifer Jackson Berry is the author of The Feeder (YesYes Books, 2016).  She lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.


They die from swallowing the hook–
two perch, small as bait fish.
The first flips finally from its side,
          He tells me those
are death throes. I recognize the same
in the second, though it’s swum
ten yards out from the dock.

I’ve kissed the mouth
that has bitten line from fish’s mouths,
felt the hands that hurried them
back into water. Earlier I sat in his lap,
his hands on my hips, reeling
me back.

On the edge of my chair
I’m supposed to watch either the tip
of the pole or the line
where it enters the water,
watch for change in the slack,
but I’m looking back at the dying perch,

sure its failing body and the splashes it makes
will attract others, sure
it will be swallowed soon.

          I want to kiss him now,
the man who asks Who says you can’t
see the wind? Ripples cross
the still lake water–breath
from a lover’s mouth, open and waiting.