Jody Azzouni

Poetry

Well, son, we could always throw the pigskin around

Originally published in Hiram Poetry Review, Fall 1992-Spring 1993
Added 9/08/2019
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Well, son, we could always throw the pigskin around

Poem | Jody's Notes

 

Time was,

I would have introduced you to blood,

taught you to slice open the throat,

strip the skin from the carcass gracefully.

Cooking didn’t come naturally to anyone,

you understand,

so in those days we forced the women

to burn the food, and in this way

we could press something hot

against our lips again.

They never figured out the thrill,

never saw what we were grinning about

while the hot juices drooled down our faces.

 

Time was,

I would have taught you to love blood,

the relatives I mean, the tribe,

and kill those your genes didn’t recognize.

Not long ago,

we could have gunned down Indians together

and told your mother how the bodies twitched

while she served us hot turkey.

Even these days we can raise the blood

with chatter about the homeland,

send the dumber ones

off for blood.

 

Maybe I shouldn’t tell you,

but sometimes I doubt we’ll survive

unless they perfect cloning soon,

let the daughters, like soft amoebas,

inherit the earth.

(But this wouldn’t help,

for they would trace bloodlines

anyway, and group into families,

tight like fists.)

 

Blood is thicker than water,

but fishing has its thrills too:

the betrayal of something by its instincts,

the cold steel in the velvet flesh it must obey.

You haul it in by a thread,

the animal silent as if the hook

has ripped its voice out.

There’s a lesson here I can’t teach;

you’ll have to mutate your own way to it.