Poem by Sharon Olson
Taking the Bait: Guilford, Connecticut
fat-back, hard-headed shad.
These fish had it all figured out, death in a cornfield,
mashed together with all their fellow menhaden
in a place called Menunkatuck,
down-river from the Quonnipaug,
just east of the Quinnipiac,
south of Walgreen’s,
some human skeletons piled on top,
nothing finer than the grass of Guilford Green,
a shad casserole, the soft ground
underpinning the tombstones,
a hint of alewife near the town hall,
the bug fish congregating on Water Street,
all the shoes in the shoe stores properly oiled,
by-product of the black and blue whitefish,
slim pickings now in the Sound,
out of the hands of fisherman
into the jaws of factory grinders,
making fish fertilizer instead of bait,
feeding the fields but interrupting
the food chain, the industry floundering.
You know we are sunk when the fish
themselves are hungry.
Link to video -- https://youtu.be/ECY2F1kuDrE
Sharon Olson is a retired librarian originally from California who currently lives in Annapolis, Maryland. Her book of poems, The Long Night of Flying, was published by Sixteen
Rivers Press in 2006, and her second book Will There Be Music? (Cherry Grove Collections) appeared in 2019. Her poems have appeared in many journals including Off the Coast, String Poet, Arroyo Literary Review, The Curator, Adanna, Heron Tree, New Verse News, Cider Press Review, and Rat’s Ass Review. Her blog is at https://slopoet.blogspot.com.
The poems that follow are powerful evidence that Poetry Speaks Back to Hunger!