he said, as he slid the shoe box, wrapped
in duct tape, beneath my bed. His thumb,
still damp from the shudder between mother's
thighs, kept circling the mole above my brow.
The devil's eye blazed between his teeth
Or was he lighting a joint? It doesn't matter. Tonight
I wake and mistake the bathwater wrung
from mother's hair for his voice. I open
the shoe box dusted with seven winters
& here, sunk in folds of yellowed news
-paper, lies the Colt .45 -- silent & heavy
as an amputated hand. I hold the gun
& wonder if an entry wound in the night
would make a hole wide as morning. That if
I looked through it, I would see the end of this
sentence. Or maybe just a man kneeling
at the boy's bed, his grey overalls reeking of gasoline
& cigarettes. Maybe the day will close without
the page turning as he wraps his arms around
the boy's milk-blue shoulders. The boy pretending
to be asleep as his father's clutch tightens.
The way the barrel, aimed at the sky, must tighten around a bullet
to make it speak.