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From the archives — I never regret how the pistol’s trigger felt — Jeffrey Calhoun

I never regret how the pistol’s trigger felt

A boy stoned me with a pitcher’s arm;
how quickly we learned the power of a rock.
An ambulance scared the kid,
its siren proclaiming his sin
and mine. Men tried to revive me,
but a hollow man conducts no charge;
besides, my heart, shriveled like a bad plant,
wasn’t worth the voltage.

In hell, I think of childhood dinners:
a house of golden arches,
burgers consumed in minutes,
the fist of Mom or Dad when I spoke.

I stand in ankle flames,
let them warm me as I eat pitchfork oatmeal.
I remember my mother’s breakfast burritos,
my room’s creaky bed, my parent’s hands
wrestling with my bedroom doorknob.
I’d positioned a chair, but it would not hold
the barrage of whispers about a video camera
and a new excuse for the teachers.

A nightmare’s etiology is cholesterol, caffeine,
and shivering devils with red nails.
One night, I’m the business end of a pistol,
cracking a symphony of relief all night.

by Jeffrey Calhoun

from Autumn Sky Poetry Number 4, December 2006


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