Title It Shotgun Wound
for Jackson Pollack on the bar of the Cedar Tavern: the shot that got spilled after you'd taken several rounds, making the oak bar report your vigor each time with the glass emptied of its mayhem. Before the impulse could travel its course to spark your hand reaching again for the glass, Creeley's clumsy ebullience, bounding to the bar, spilled the bitter dose. As he apologized, you were thinking there's no such thing as accident. A moment ago, you were ready to put a nickel in the Wurlitzer and dance your way back to Easthampton. But now, you took him by the shoulders, gripped him like the bathroom door you once ripped from its hinges because of the mirror on it. You wanted to discipline him, instruct him in the logic of charged particles, make Creeley feel the stray electron as he may have when his eyeball caught pixied windshield as an infant. If you had known that child's long months stifling tears for fear of aggravating the wound, you would have marveled how he stored his grief as you marveled now his standing up to your bully- face. Everyone thought you knew each other, how you looked just then in one another's arms.
From Totem, published by the American Poetry Review. Copyright © 2007 by Gregory Pardlo. Used with permission.
Gregory Pardlo's second poetry collection, Digest (Four Way Books, 2014), received the 2015 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry and was shortlisted for the 2015 NAACP Image Award.
Date Published: 2007-01-01
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/title-it-shotgun-wound