by Mark Jay Brewin Jr.
for my father
Fire and strike sevenfold. Salute and witness the grown-ups
whiskey stagger around the farmstead and backfield.
Crawl among the knee-grass, throw rotting beefsteak
tomatoes at your cousins. When hit, yell, I’m going down…
Skitter along the cow-fence, into your uncle’s barn,
watch him lop off horns with crank-shears, the fresh
blunted skull-crowns, the glossy spurt, blood
beading down the heifers’ flanks. When asked, stop
your ears with newspaper pages, climb barn rafters.
Play back what they said, how they said it, Do it, boy. Go on,
and spook the pigeons without falling, while they
pick them off, one by one, with a .22—don’t slip, breathe
through your mouth so you don’t smell the cat-piss.
Wait, alone, for hours—fireworks aren’t something to miss.