Laura McCullough


The Decapitation Of Pappy Defranco - Poem by Laura McCullough

The Atlantic City 2am Special picked Donny up
at Trump Marina and left ten minutes late.
He was twenty one
and his friends had left him,
though it was his birthday,

and at the same time, Pappy –
known for his captainship of a fishing boat
that long ago was sold
after the Inlet lost its charm –
decided to leave the bar he’d frequented
since he was younger than Donny was now.

The bus swiped him,
no one disputes this,
but he’d been drinking,
and that will affect the inevitable suit.

Donny was first off the bus –
he’d been sitting behind the driver –
and the sight of Pappy’s head,
stubbled grey hair glinting in the moonlight
like a school of fish darting in the shoals,
was enough to make Donny dizzy on his feet.

His arms grew large in his mind,
and he lifted the body,
amid screams from the other passengers
and the crowd that gathered,
and tried to place it back with the head.

He cradled the neck with one hand,
and patted the chest,
and somewhere the boat that Pappy once owned,
and the restaurants he delivered fresh flounder to,
and crabs, and clams, and the workers he hired -
young locals, or boozers on the mend,
or college kids at the shore
for a season slumming it –
and the women he’d slept with over the years,
and maybe one daughter living somewhere in Florida

all slivered across the blood-slick pavement
like traffic lights reflected in rain puddles,
as if they poured straight out of his emptying head,

across Donny’s fingers,
the fingers of a man,
twenty-one,
unlucky,
no money left in his pockets, and now,
this accumulating jackpot,
and the pounding sound of horns and alarms
as if he’d won the biggest slots of the night.


Comments about The Decapitation Of Pappy Defranco by Laura McCullough

  • (6/5/2007 8:00:00 PM)

    Wow. Loved this. Hope all is well. (Report)Reply

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Poem Submitted: Saturday, October 1, 2005



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