Jocelyn Page’s ‘Pufferfish’

Jocelyn Page is a poet from Connecticut, USA, who currently lives in South East London. Her work has appeared in Smiths Knoll, The Interpreter’s House, City Lighthouse anthology (Tall Lighthouse, 2009), and on various music websites including the Royal Philharmonic Hear Here project. In 2008 her work was Highly Commended by The New Writer Prose & Poetry Magazine. Her debut pamphlet will be published in 2010 by Tall Lighthouse.
Jocelyn Page

You’re on your way to the mall
to an air-conditioned day
where customers will be right
& you’ll need to ask a manager
to authorize any refund, when driving
through that octopus of an intersection
where you’re always surprised your light’s green
you’ll see his car & your bowels’ll prickle
then swell like a pastry bag prepped to pipe
you’ll see someone else where you used to be
that spot in the car that was yours
like the chair at the dining room table
where Dad always sits & nobody else
would even think of sitting there.
& she’ll be in the middle of that bench seat
next to him, the stick shift denting her thighs
& you’ll drive by, changed.
It’ll be with you then, you’ll carry it
like a terminal diagnosis
all nine hours of your shift
& between sales it’ll dwarf you
at the cash register it’ll hide
& in the stock room you’ll feel faint
all day long it’ll loiter
like a pufferfish, ready to flood itself
big onto the scene or rest alert
behind the treasure chest
small, ready & all about the poison.
Read more of Jocelyn’s poetry here and here.

9 thoughts on “Jocelyn Page’s ‘Pufferfish’

  1. Pascale

    Thanks for this Michelle. I have the pleasure of Jocelyn’s presence in the Tate Modern courses, she’s really talented. I have a dried puffer fish too that I found on the shore of Venezuela years ago, quite fond of it. Powerful poem.

  2. Julie

    I love it. The voice moves so well with the story in this poem. I’ve felt that terminal diagnosis, and it hits me in the soul. I love how she uses bowels swelling like a pastry bag and a puffer fish in the same poem, and it works perfectly. Excellent poetry!

    It’s so good to see you again, Michelle. I hope your trip was wonderful.

  3. christine

    Hey, you’re back! Very interesting poem you’ve shared. She portrays an intimate awareness of her surroundings, and then leads the reader into a charged moment.

  4. Michelle Post author

    I’ve missed you, friends. It was an amazing experience. I’m still processing it.

    Jocelyn is one of the wonderful people that I had the good fortune to meet. She read ‘Pufferfish’ on one of the last evenings we were all together. We spent the final two evenings in a group reading our work in ‘The Ted Hughes Room’ – also known as The Hughsie – in front of a crackling fire.

    Over the next couple of weeks I’m hoping to post some poems from the poets I met last week.

  5. Regina

    Wow- a great poem here… I really “felt” everything going on in this poem. Excellent!
    And I am happy you’re back, Michelle!

  6. Michelle Post author

    Hi Dale, hi Regina!

    For me, Jocelyn’s ending is perfect – and I can hear her voice when I read the poem.

    “small, ready & all about the poison.”

    I love it.

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