Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby

“Like Shad Ascending”

Arthur J. Stewart’s “science flavored” poetry has appeared in more than a dozen journals, including Journal of the American Medical Association, Eclectic Literary Forum, Lullwater Review, Cultural Studies in Science Education, and Chemical and Engineering News. He lives in Lenoir City and is a Tennessee Poetry Prize winner and a 2013 inductee into the East Tennessee Literary Hall of Fame. From Where We Came is his fifth poetry collection.

Like Shad Ascending

on National Public Radio
today: shad
are starting their annual run
up the Hudson River; the water temperature hit
fifty degrees so yes, they began

slipping up-river,
silver bodies, as William
Carlos Williams said
in the bitter world of spring, midway
between the surface and the mud.

On the radio
upon being interviewed about the run,
someone said,
when cooked, they taste
positively dreadful:
the fishiest, oiliest thing
you can imagine
stuffed with bones,
covered with dirt. Yet

still, like us
they rise, year after year,
again and again, one
generation after another,
slipping upstream through time.