New Work by P.W. Bridgman

Two new poems by P.W. Bridgman which are published in the current issue of The Bangor Literary Journal.  Read other new poems and flash fiction by other writers in the current issue for free.


Poetry by P.W. Bridgman Biography:

P.W. Bridgman writes from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. He has earned graduate and postgraduate degrees in psychology and a degree in law as well. His poems and short fiction and have been published in The Antigonish Review, Grain, The Honest Ulsterman, Ars Medica, The Glasgow Review of Books, The Moth Magazine, Poetry Salzburg Review, Litro Magazine (UK), Litro Magazine (NY), Praxis, Pif Magazine, Ascent Aspirations, The New Orphic Review, Easy Street, London Grip, A New Ulster, Section 8 Magazine, Mulberry Fork Review, Aerodrome and other literary periodicals and e-zines. Bridgman’s writing has also appeared in anthologies published in Canada, Ireland, England and Scotland, and his first book—a selection of short stories entitled Standing at an Angle to My Age—was published in 2013. You may learn more about P.W. Bridgman by visiting his website at <>.


Not the Way a Bullet Leaves a Gun


Ruth leaves Jim the way a hand leaves a glove,

with five gentle thumb-and-forefinger tugs from right to left.

Each of the fingers comes partly free,

then the thumb:

each tug a little more confident,

each causing the gentle, leathern grip of wedlock

to relax a touch more until, at last,

it comes full away

with a sound

like a sigh.


She leaves him the way a ferry leaves a dock:

with four short soundings of the ship’s whistle,

spaced months apart

(their import unmistakable to anyone but him),

followed by a long one

(the one that signals imminent departure).

Her hull begins to shudder,

engines churn inside it,

water boils up in the widening

space between them,

between loading ramp and dock.

Going nowhere and everywhere, she waves.

He waves back.


She does not leave him the way he had always feared,

the way a bullet leaves a gun (all trajectory and target,

with a bang and a puff of smoke,

gone in a trice and forever buried,

deep in another’s heart).

At least not that.


At least not that.


Don’t Touch That Dame


P0T 2W0: September 1960


On my deathbed my thoughts shall return

to eight-year-old Gloria Dye.


Red-faced, rough-skinned, tousle-headed, scrappy,

perplexed by unkindness, tormented by eczema,

resolutely rejecting of pity.


Strong yet vulnerable.  Enigmatic, so very enigmatic.

On my deathbed I shall wonder:

whatever became…


On the schoolyard they said: “Don’t touch that dame

or you’ll die.”  “We can’t touch her or else we’ll die,”

they said.


Not my words. From me, no words at all—

kind or unkind, helpful or hurtful, comforting or cruel—

were spoken to, or for the benefit of, or to the detriment of,

Gloria Dye.


On my deathbed I shall remember tears withheld,

her fierce beauty.  I shall be galled by my own

faltering silence.


I shall take not even hollow comfort from knowing

that I showed her no active unkindness.


No active unkindness.


On my deathbed I shall plead for forgiveness,

not from God but from Gloria Dye.


On my deathbed I shall yearn to reach out

and touch that dame.

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