This poem contains a great story, one step at a time. Following along, we learn a lot about who Pah-Pah is, but all the remaining questions I had weren’t answered. For one, what did Pah-Pah do to fix Garner Lee? An additional thing that adds interest is that the poet is a woman.
Fix it, Pah-Pah Van Potter
Next door, Garner Lee, the deputy sheriff,
again had beaten Doll, his wife – my nursemaid,
who fried my bacon just right
and took me to pick blackberries in the woods.
Pah-Pah, your loaded shotgun
was where a five-year-old could reach it:
on the floor, between the wall
and the cherry oak headboard you carved.
So I dragged it out
by the trigger, snuggled it under my arm
and pulled it past the rocking chair that you’d made for me
and out the door and down
the 10 new, wooden steps you’d put up. I bounced
the butt until I reached the moist back yard.
I strained with it past my bike,
that, after your paint job, shined
red even in the shade of the giant mulberry tree.
At first you didn’t see
me as you loomed under the wooden shelter
behind Chicken Comer’s
where you barbecued boneless pork butts over a deep pit,
stirred up your special sauce
and got ready for your customers.
I grunted as I lifted the shotgun
to you: “Pah-Pah, shoot
Garner Lee!” and I repeated Doll’s cry, “I’m tired
of his damn shit!” You snatched
up the shotgun. When I saw it two days later,
it was locked behind the glass door
of the wooden case you’d built high
on the wall over the mantel.
The bullets were boxed and at the back
of the top shelf of the china cabinet.
That same day, Garner Lee drove off with
his suitcases, and Doll made me
a blackberry pie.