“Back Story” by Chris Bullard

Chris Bullard


The mate in spandex straps us, front and back,
to flapping canvas sail and walks us backwards
to the speedboat’s slippery stern, back
to where the blue-green sea roils in the backwash.
You shout, “This is great,” but I shout back,
“Let’s ask the captain for our money back.”
And then a windstorm lifts us. Looking back,
I see us rising, slipping off the back
from safety into sky. The one way back
is down. I yell, “Too high!” and pull you back
though you’re not scared—not here, or back
at home, where I press, sleeping, to your back,
afraid to lose you, who holds nothing back.

from Rattle #32, Winter 2009
Tribute to the Sonnet


Chris Bullard: “I wrote this sonnet in Kim Addonizio’s workshop at the West Chester University Poetry Conference. Kim wanted us to invent a new poetic form. I was interested in the ghazal with its repetitive use of the same word in different contexts. I found, as I worked on this poem, that I could create a similar effect within the sonnet form. Call it a sonzal. Kim offered some suggestions on my first draft that I incorporated into this version.”

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