Paula Bonnell

In one of the houses facing
the small park of trees and grass
lived a happy family, the parents
both in their second marriage, and
their two sons, full brothers,
children of this new union.

One early evening, half light,
the boys in their parents’ absence
discovered a gun in a lower drawer.

Dared by his older brother,
the little one stood at the screen door,
poked the muzzle through the torn bit,
and fired the gun, out toward the park.

The long lethal path the bullet took
mercifully was intersected by no
living thing. In less than the time
it took me to write that last sentence,
the shot thudded into the trunk
of a tree.

xxxxxxxxxxxxx The gun dropped on the floor,
the boys ran and hid, waiting for a siren.
They could still hear the breeze stir
the leaves, no wail or warble overdubbing
its faint whisper. So they recovered the gun
and restored it to the drawer.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Who can
remember what they felt, years ago? or fail to
confuse it with what they felt the last time
they told the story? or, more difficult still,
find the right words for such feelings?

That shot is still flying,
that bullet still lodging in heartwood,
that gun still dangerous in its drawer.

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