Catherine Pond



Bare Earth


You show me your drawings of single-shots, colts,
double barrels. Then you hold up a real one.
A bullet cracks the air, like a hull in ice.
I try to hide my surprise. Still, I can taste your smile.
Around the time of the shootings I started blacking out
on airplanes, subway trains, even in bed.
I paced the sidewalks half-asleep, like a woman
waiting to be blown into a star.
How romantic, I used to think, to die still beautiful,
a buck in velvet. But time changes things.
The last time I visited, you unveiled
your newest sculpture, a pistol cast in bronze.
It glowed, an amulet; dim slips of streetlight
clung to it like rainwater. Later that night,
you jiggled my body easily, like a sheet,
into a position you liked. Darkness pooled
in the soft shallows of my hips. Don’t take it
so personally, you said, the day Paris
was attacked. When you touched me I felt grateful,
a child who’d been given a gift.
Grateful even, when you braced your arms against
the mattress, looked right through me
to the bare earth below.


Catherine Pond‘s poems have appeared in Boston Review, Narrative, Rattle, and many more. She lives in Los Angeles, where she is a PhD candidate in Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Southern California. She holds an MFA from Columbia University where she was awarded the Academy of American Poets Prize in 2013.

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