Poem of the Week | October 23, 2017

This week, we are excited to present a new poem by Michael Shewmaker. Shewmaker is the author of Penumbra (Ohio UP, 2017), which won the Hollis Summers Poetry Prize. His poems recently appear in Yale Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, Sewanee Review, Poetry Daily, Parnassus, Oxford American, Narrative, and elsewhere. A former Wallace Stegner Fellow, he is a Jones Lecturer in poetry at Stanford University.



After the fight, we prepared our meal
in silence. I filleted the salmon
while you minced ginger for the glaze.
I could smell the saffron when you reached
across me for a towel.
                                        You lined
the pan with oil. We seared both sides
before we plated what we made.


Eating, I thought of what I read
that morning—
                             how, somewhere in a lab,
beneath the humming ballasts, a pair
of scientists grew a beating heart
in the lining of another heart
that failed over a year ago.


We lit the candles anyway.
You passed the bread. I passed the wine.
We took our time—took care to soften
the clatter of our silverware,


and when you finally spoke again
how could I miss, even in that light,
how lovely we’ve become—in this,
the latest hour of our resolve?


Author’s Note:

With “Anniversary,” I wanted to write an honest love poem—a poem that avoids the pitfalls of sentimentality but manages to say something heartfelt. I especially had in mind the embers of a long love versus the wildfires of a new attraction. First and foremost, though, this is a poem for my wife.