Decades ago, a group of women gathered
to learn about guns. We took turns
holding a rifle—long, sleek, solid, weighty—
hand-made of fine-grained wood and cool iron.
I liked how it fit my arms and how its words
fit my mouth—butt, stock and trigger, barrel,
bolt, chamber, magazine, and safety.
We talked a lot about safety . . . .
I fired, and braced against the recoil—
then walked to the target, surprised to see
I’d missed the bulls eye and its circles,
bale of hay and everything alive.
I dreamed of guns after that day—
I heard their sounds—at first one bullet
at a time, and then rounds and rounds—
and I stood between them and the prey.
Shooters aimed guns at me, and bullets flew
toward my body. I couldn't dodge them.
I felt the impact. And then I saw myself
as the shooter—aiming lock, stock and barrel.
Reading the news today, I remembered both
the nightmares and attraction. I pictured a shooter
in my own classroom. I heard the sounds.
Now, my heart marches with the survivors.
I pray for the living victims. And for the shooters.
How did it feel to them to use the assault and
battle rifles, carbines, snipers, and the automatic,
repeating and revolving guns, guns, guns— ?
My heart marches with the survivors. In a land
where guns are as available and attractive
as lollypops, how do we keep weapons, anger
and despair apart? How hold the weight of hate?
(Revision of Rifle 6-13-2013)
My blog poems are rough drafts.
Please respect my copyright.
© 2018 Susan L. Chast