Steady now. Steady.
I line down the sight
and fire off five rounds
that ring my ears and the air,
but miss the paper target each time.
I swing the cylinder down,
slide out scorched casings,
and slip in five new slugs.
This time I sight higher and to the right.
BAM! A little black dot
opens on the target.
And again, and again.
Now it is real that I could turn
and kill someone, or
put the barrel in my mouth
and tumble into that black hole.
I’m holding death’s hand
as killers and suicides have done
and—I hate to tell you--
its weight feels good
like a sack of coins, a bag of blood,
a book of history, a pound of meat.
First published in Tar River Poetry, v.42,no.2, Spring 2003