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  • An Abridged History of American Violence
  • Iain Haley Pollock (bio)

The boys are kicking over garbage cansand smashing car windows with heavesof glass bottles. Time in the pest houseof school or seasoning in an irrigation ditch

has moved them to boredom with bare knucklesand stolen knives. Soon, their insecuritywill concentrate on the grip of a Glock

till an enemy, who a minute beforewas unknown and not an enemy, appearsunder a streetlight. The provocationwill be slight: soft palms hardening

into a shove. In days to come,friends of the enemy will strip the barkfrom the few trees they know and graffiti

their grief on the trunk. And the boys,even after the votive jars have filledwith rainwater and plastic rose bouquetshave somehow wilted in the humidity,

the boys will also mourn their killed.In their woe they will want for a lightto slow-drag through them, a light

like the reflection of sequin or chrome.They will not find it and they will notfind it until they are discovered face upin a dirt lot where neighbors remember

a house, a while back, was torn down,where now bricks and teeth of glass push up,like Indian bones, through the soil. [End Page 61]

Iain Haley Pollock

Iain Haley Pollock’s first collection of poems, Spit Back a Boy (U of Georgia P, 2011), won the 2010 Cave Canem Poetry Prize. He teaches English at Rye Country Day School in Rye, New York, and is a member of the poetry faculty at the Solstice MFA Program of Pine Manor College.



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