by Colin Channer
The back porch is where
her father used to sit on Sundays
after church to clean his gun.
She would sit on the step below him
in her long skirt and beret
typing what he called her foolishness:
letters to the editor, plays about domestics
and dialectic, poems she imagined
Lennon turning into songs.
One day there was a jamming
in her Smith Corona,
and in trying to fix it
she just made it worse.
Her father left his Smith & Wesson
on the gray Formica table
that they used to eat on in the years
before he got promoted.
He spread a sheet of newsprint
on the blue and orange tiles,
divided her tool into parts.
Like most things,
he did this operation in silence,
pointing every now and then
to teach by example.
She began to mimic.
Miming led to picking up:
cylinders, rods, hammers, gears.
He returned to his own assembly.
She resumed her vocation with words.
Kik-kik-kik, steel percussing.
She took her smooth contraption
off her lap, looked across her shoulder,
watched him spin the barrel,
spin the barrel, lock it,
flash it open, look for bullets,
slap it, lock it, cock the hammer,
pull the trigger,
pak-pak-pak-pak-pak, and pak,
smiling at the pitch of it,
locksmith hearing tumblers sing in key.
Published on July 30, 2015