Eight Ball

By Claudia Emerson 1957–2014 Claudia Emerson
It was fifty cents a game
             beneath exhausted ceiling fans,
the smoke’s old spiral. Hooded lights
             burned distant, dull. I was tired, but you
insisted on one more, so I chalked
             the cue—the bored blue—broke, scratched.
It was always possible
             for you to run the table, leave me
nothing. But I recall the easy
             shot you missed, and then the way
we both studied, circling—keeping
             what you had left me between us.

Poem copyright ©2005 by Claudia Emerson, whose most recent book of poetry is Figure Studies, Louisiana State University Press, 2008. Poem reprinted from Late Wife, Louisiana State University Press, 2005, by permission of Claudia Emerson and the publisher.

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Poet Claudia Emerson 1957–2014

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

 Claudia  Emerson


Born and raised in Chatham, Virginia, Claudia Emerson studied writing at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. Her poetry, steeped in the Southern Narrative tradition, bears the influences of Ellen Bryant Voigt, Betty Adcock, and William Faulkner. Of the collection Late Wife (2005), poet Deborah Pope observed, “Like the estranged lover in one of her poems who pitches horseshoes in the dark with preternatural precision, . . .

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POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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