Gregory Pardlo: Willow Grove, Philadelphia

from “Philadelphia, Negro”

Alien-faced patriot in my father’s mirrored aviators
that reflected a mind full of cloud
keloids, the contrails of Blue Angels in formation
miles above the campered fields of Willow Grove
where I heard them clear as construction paper slowly
tearing as they plumbed close enough I could nearly see
flyboys saluting the tiny flag I shook in their wakes.
I visored back with pride, sitting aloft dad’s shoulders,
my salute a reflex ebbing toward ground crews in jumpsuits
executing orchestral movements with light….

About the Author

Gregory Pardlo

Prize winner, 2015

Totem, received the American Poetry Review/Honickman Prize in 2007. His poems have appeared in American Poetry ReviewBoston ReviewThe NationPloughsharesTin House, as well as anthologies including Angles of Ascent: the Norton Anthology of Contemporary African American Poetry and two editions of Best American Poetry. He is the recipient of a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship and a fellowship for translation from the National Endowment for the Arts. He has received other fellowships from the New York Times, the MacDowell Colony, the Lotos Club Foundation, and Cave Canem. He is currently a teaching fellow in Undergraduate Writing at Columbia University. He received the Pulitzer Prize in 2015 for his collection Digest.

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