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Man Jumps on Hood of Car, Smashes
Windshield to Get at Errant Driver

by Matt Hohner

Inner Harbor, Baltimore
March 22, 2023

You aren’t helping the narrative, Tom.
What will people like Tucker Carlson
and the ghost of Anthony Bourdain,
junkie-trotting the east side after scoring
a bag of bad heroin, say when you refute
their claims that our city is dead, that there
be monsters on our map that must be avoided
by out-of-towners and White suburbanites
terrified of Black folk? But there you were,
standing on the hood of a man’s car, bloodying
your knuckles and kicking in the windshield
to pull the driver out, not to slash his throat
for hurling epithets at you for squeegeeing
his precious glass, but because he’d driven
into the Inner Harbor, and that’s what a father,
or a cop who doesn’t make the headlines
for the wrong reasons, or in your case,
a sous chef at Phillips Seafood does before
the dinner rush in a place nicknamed Charm City
when no one, or everyone, is looking, to save a life.
No one will speak of the bystanders who tossed
a life ring into the frigid water to pull you both
out, either, but that’s also what we do here,
for each other. Tomorrow morning, the news
will speak of a mass shooting on the west side,
one dead, five injured. The regularly scheduled
program will return to if it bleeds, it leads.
But I saw you, Tom. I saw what you did
before returning to work to filet the day’s catch,
shuck oysters, and get the crabs ready for steaming.


Matt Hohner, a Baltimore native, has been shortlisted for the Moth International Poetry Prize and won the Maryland Writers’ Association Poetry Prize. He won the 2016 Oberon Poetry Prize, the 2018 Sport Literate Anything but Baseball Poetry Prize, and the 2019 Doolin Writers’ Weekend Poetry Prize in Ireland. An editor for Loch Raven Review, Hohner’s book Thresholds and Other Poems, his first full-length book, was published by Apprentice House Press in Fall 2018. Hohner has held two residencies at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, made possible by a grant from the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation. Longlisted for the University of Canberra Vice-Chancellor’s International Poetry Prize and shortlisted for the Bridport Poetry Prize, Hohner has published or is forthcoming in Rattle: Poets Respond, New Contrast, Prairie Schooner, Narrative Magazine, takahē, The Cardiff Review, Stony Thursday, and elsewhere.

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