painter’s jeans on and hair all tied up, it’s june
and i’m told there was a gunshot on elizabeth street.
babies on a dandelion wagon hit with partial bullet shell.
my mother sips her lemonade in that transitory heartbreak,
then tends back to the garden before handing me
a bowl of green beans to snap.
my father almost named me remington.
every man in my family has been thrown in the county jail
for spotlighting deer, and the boys i know tell me that
i am very smart but we need guns to overthrow the government.
so we need AR-15’s? and then a no, i didn’t say that, exactly-
did the things we’ve grown deserve to bleed?
and they can’t pull an answer out.
every day, another name.
traffic stop, sunday service, matinee, there’s no escape, so
i go to bed in a lullaby of cicada purrs and then the shooting
starts again. it emanates from an empty house two blocks down,
where the front yard is knee bruise-high and impalas with headlights
turned off pull into the weather-beaten driveway come nightfall.
fireworks, i say, lying in heat. wipe the sweat. turn the cheek.
the fourth of july is another month away.