Mar 2013
Two New Poems by Andrew Hudgins
Posted in Conte Presents by Tavel at 1:59 pm | 53 Comments »

There, There

Bent over the roaring cradle,
           I felt like a crocodile
           as, in the dark puddle
           of my shadow, the beloved bundle
           yodeled terror. I leaned
           closer, mugging, and failed
           to wheedle
           a smile or even a lull
           from the rage-ruddled
           face. He bellowed
           until his mother cuddled
           him into her neck (blond
           sweep of hair, cologne), and he lolled
           in indolent oohs, and coddling
           there-theres. The ululations dwindled
           into gurgles and drool.
           His diaper yellowed.
           She offered him to me. Barelegged,
           he hung between us, his feet pedaling
           fetid air until she lodged
           him in my hands. He smelled
           of Italian irises and lime–her cologne–
           as did I. Astraddle
           my hip, enclosed
           in her perfume, he blabbed
           happily while I dandled
           him—there, there–loved
           in the constricting middle.


I Saw My Shadow Walking

I saw my shadow walking South
           on Market Street at dawn.
           He had a long gun in his hand,
           a Winchester 1901.

He held it in the air and waved.
           I wondered if I’d died.
           He walked down to the children’s park
           and sat down on the slide.

I hadn’t seen him for two weeks.
           He’d slipped his medication
           and stolen from beneath my bed
           my Winchester 1901.

The cops told him to drop the gun.
           He squinted at the sun
           as he swung up and aimed at them
           that Winchester 1901.

Grace Pittman opened her front door
           and bent to fetch the news
           when she heard two pistol shots resound
           as she said in interviews.

“I looked and saw the shadow drop
           like a punctured bag of air,”
           Grace Pittman told reporters,
           who didn’t really care.

My shadow wasn’t dangerous.
           The point, I guess, is moot.
           He must have hated me so much
           he forced the cops to shoot.

I scrubbed his blood off slide and swings,
           and shadowless in sun,
           I walked to city hall and claimed
           my Winchester 1901.


Andrew Hudgins’ most recent book is American Rendering: New and Selected Poems (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), and in June he will publish two new books: The Joker: A Memoir (Simon & Schuster) and A Clown at Midnight (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). He teaches at The Ohio State University

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