Across the highway

some local boys

are reading the second amendment

out loud


Or maybe it’s just fireworks

this time of year

Both jolt me out of sleep

on warm summer nights


The boys un-rack their rifles

from pickup cabins:

pop-tops hissing

over campfire crackle


emboldened by onlooking girls

with nervous smiles

and then

the violent little pow!pow!


pow!pows! pulverizing empties

Come September

these boys and their dads

unsheathe 20-gauges


and scan the sky for doves

over fields nearing harvest

Good hunts like

corn popping in the clouds:


hot kernels rain down

on my roof

those Saturday afternoons

By fall’s end


the rifles return

to thunder across daybreak:

a scoped roar

stills the earth


for a time

I lie in bed thinking

That’s the one

That’s the sound


of one of those boys

taking a life

in a clearing

I cannot see


but know to be nearby


*Published originally in TAB: The Journal of Poetry & Poetics, Volume 9, 2021, Issue 2