OBJECT: Contaminated Fish
BODY OF WATER: Hudson River
You lay me by the Hudson. By the Prison.
Searchlight tower gone dark in kiddie park.
You came to Ossining to fetch me back.
Drove to Bronx, 2 am, for Kansas Chicken.
But I couldn’t eat, not behind their bullet-
proof glass. Not by grass, nor rocks, nor River.
Undid my strappy shoes and wet my knees.
We used to tease: fish here have three eyes.
I wished for one to jump five feet high to me.
But nothing jumped. Fish here swim furtively.
You touched my hair, then left cheek, nose, lidded
eyes, and beading downy skin leading to my lips.
Slid down my chin, round my neck, to my chest.
Stopped. My hands stilled. Half aware of where
I was. I recall flying, watching, herons
billing, shad running, hunting seagulls.
Aldina Vazão Kennedy is writing a nonfiction novel about love, authoritarianism, and rebellion in 20th century Portugal. She won a BCA BRIO fellowship in 2005 for a collection of short stories about her family’s history. Kennedy directed the 2010 Sarah Lawrence College Poetry Festival, the largest free poetry festival in New York State. Her poetry appears in Underwater New York, an online anthology. Kennedy won a Pulitzer for spot reporting in 1992 for her team covering of the Union Square subway crash. She majored in foreign policy and diplomacy at Brown University and has an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College.