Denise Duhamel

Danger: A Triptych
June 9, 2013 Duhamel Denise

Danger: A Triptych


I thought at first it was a rock, a pebble my own tire had somehow kicked up in a weird curve.  I kept driving to my safe parking garage and, sure enough, the dimple, the valley, the chipped paint right above the driver’s side door handle.  At the body shop, the Dent Wizard says she has she sees a lot of these—bored kids with BB guns.  You’re lucky, a few inches higher and you would have had a shattered window. 

A nurse hands me a white plastic bag of clothes at the hospital—the stiff brown blood on my mother’s jeans that crunches when I try to bend it, her torn sneaker, her torn shirt, blood hardening the tear holes like frames with no snapshots inside.  Her hard bloody sock.  I came from my mother’s blood.  I arrived bathed in her. The nurse says I shouldn’t wash these clothes but save them for a lawyer.

I loved when my dad carried me upside down or when he lugged me like a sack of flour over his shoulder or when he threw me to the ceiling and caught me on the way down.  I loved when he spun me by the arms.  He instilled in me a love of Ferris wheels and roller coasters and Bungee cords.  Once I was small as an olive, once as small as a BB.  Once I wasn’t even here.

Denise Duhamel’s most recent books of poetry are Second Story (Pittsburgh, 2021) and Scald (Pittsburgh, 2017). Blowout (Pittsburgh, 2013) was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. A recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, she is a distinguished university professor at Florida International University in Miami.