On a Photograph of Ernest Hemingway duck-shooting in the lagoon

This reading was recorded by Alessandro Mistrorigo for Phonodia in Venice, Italy, on the 15th of October, 2013.

Read by Philip Morre on 15 October 2013

On a Photograph of Ernest Hemingway duck-shooting in the lagoon

The boat's a bit broad for a sciopòn
more likely a sampierota
the rower in his turtleneck
very upright in the poop and slightly
out of focus the better to direct
our glance at the Great Writer
hatless amidships
inclined to his left (our right):
eyes thinned as if
weighing the weather – the specs
he needs now for the newspaper
tucked away with the grappa
in a dapper holdall
that scoops the foreground light.

Bridge and farmhouse a questionable
backdrop for this guns-at-the-ready pose,
but it is a pose, the photographer
settled in the skiff's bows
or with tripod on the jetty even.
Old campaigner,
duck-slayer, girl-maven, soak,
il vecchio Hem in the grip of his myth.
Unabashed by the imbalance
of armaments, he wears under his coat
a padded jacket that might
be bulletproof – if only the birds
would stand and fight.

from The Sadness of Animals (Canterbury: San Marco Press, 2012).

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