Poetry Drop – Claudia Emerson

Pitching Horseshoes

Claudia Emerson

Some of your buddies might come around
for a couple of beers and a game,
but most evenings, you pitched horseshoes

alone. I washed up the dishes
or watered the garden to the thudding
sound of the horseshoe in the pit,

or the practiced ring of metal
against metal, after the silent
arc – end over end. That last

summer, you played a seamless, unscored
game against yourself. Or night
falling. Or coming in the house.

You were good at it. From the porch
I watched you become shadowless,
then featureless, until I knew

you couldn’t see either, and still
the dusk rang out, your aim that easy;
between the iron stakes you had driven

into the hard earth yourself, you paced
back and forth as if there were a decision
to make, and you were the one to make it.

Taken from Late Wife, a collection of poems for which Emerson won the Pulitzer Prize in poetry in 2007.

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