Patrick Rosal

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Patrick Rosal

Patrick Rosal is the author of Brooklyn Antediluvian (Persea Books, 2016), winner of the 2017 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize; Boneshepherds (Persea, 2011); My American Kundiman (Persea, 2006); and Uprock Headspin Scramble and Dive (Persea, 2003).

About his winning collection, judge Rigoberto González says:

Brooklyn Antediluvian sings as both lament and celebration: it connects histories, landscapes, and stories of times past to the joyous rhythms of the present. Nothing left behind is forgotten or lost, but so too will the sorrow and surprise of separation be woven into the narrative of a continuing hard-won journey. Rosal’s poems are energetic, curious, and attuned to the momentums of the never-ending search for community and home.

He teaches at Rutgers University-Camden and lives in Philadelphia. 

by this poet


Taytay, Rizal Province, Philippines
(based on the photo by Noel Celis)

Hardly anything holds the children up, each poised
mid-air, barely the ball of one small foot
kissing the chair’s wood, so
they don’t just step across, but pause
above the water. I look at that cotton

This fireman comes every afternoon
to the café on the corner
dressed for his shift in clean dark blues
This time       it’s the second Wednesday of January
and he’s meeting his daughter again
who must be five or six
and who is always waiting for her father like this
in her charcoal gray plaid skirt
with green and
When the bass drops on Bill Withers’ 
Better Off Dead, it’s like 7 a.m.  
and I confess I’m looking 
over my shoulder once or twice
just to make sure no one in Brooklyn 
is peeking into my third-floor window 
to see me in pajamas I haven’t washed 
for three weeks before I slide 
from sink to stove in one long