Hot Metal Bridge

Current Issue : Number Twenty-Five

Shadows

BY MATTHEW OLZMANN

Two boys are making shadow puppets on the wall using a flashlight and their hands. One makes a bunny, the other a giraffe. One makes a butterfly, the other a sturgeon. Soon they both make dogs. The dogs bark silently and play all across the wall. They chase each around the room and howl at an unseen moon. Then one dog eats the other dog. The boy whose dog has been eaten is stunned. He holds his hand up to the light, but no shadow twitches forward. Hey, he says, what did you do? The other boy says, I didn’t do anything, and he holds up his hands as if to say, See, I’m not playing anymore. But on the wall, the dog is still there barking and growling and picking over the shape of what might have been the other dog, or a pile of bones, or a rip in the wallpaper.

 



Matthew Olzmann's  first book of poems, Mezzanines, was selected for the 2011 Kundiman Prize and will be published by Alice James Books in April, 2013.  His poems have appeared in Kenyon Review, New England Review, Poetry Northwest, Gulf Coast, The Southern Review and elsewhere.