Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


For Some Slight I Can't Quite Recall

Was with the pudgy hands of a thirteen-year-old
that I took the marble of his head
just barely balanced on his reedy neck
and with the brute tutelage
of years fighting the neighbor kids
and too the lightning of my father's
stiff palm I leaned the boy's head
full force into the rattly pane of glass
on the school bus and did so with the eagle of justice
screaming in my ear as he always does
for the irate and stupid I made the window sing
and bend and the skinny boy too
whose eyes grew to lakes lit by mortar fire
bleating with his glasses crooked
I'm not an animal walking in place
on the green vinyl seat looking far away
and me watching him and probably almost smiling
at the song and dance I made of the weak
and skinny boy who towering above me
became even smaller and bizarre and birdlike
pinned and beating his wings frantically
against his cage and me probably
almost smiling as is the way of the stupid
and cruel watching the weak and small
and innocent not getting away.

Credit


From Bringing the Shovel Down, published by University of Pittsburgh Press. Copyright © 2011 by Ross Gay. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.

Author


Ross Gay

Ross Gay is the author of Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2015), winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Kingsley Tufts Award.

Date Published: 2011-01-01

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/some-slight-i-cant-quite-recall