In 1993 my young son was sleeping in his room while I watched the 11:00 news.
There was a story of a young child killed in a drive-by shooting.
I sat alone sobbing. That year I began to write About A Gun.
Then there were more stories like that. More. And more.
Now this nightmare of “collateral damage.” And I'm at it still...
About A Gun
What is it about a gun?
Are we born to love that weight in the hand?
Why not instead another tool
designed for the task and the hand?
Hammer, axe, brush, broom,
scalpel, plane, a rolling pin—
tools that transform, nurture, maintain,
or leave something still standing
long after we fall.
What is it about a gun and weight and metal
warming to the hand that craves
the slow squeeze?
What is it about a gun and children?
Small hands warming ours
after the first pure drool and coo,
first joy, first smiles, first words, first steps.
Our Love, their Future—twin seeds tended.
But is Love a weightless thing
next to anger, greed, fear?
Yes, this about a gun—
Gun Magic. That weight finding
the hands of children; those bullets
finding their warm bodies
like metal finds the magnet.
The schoolyard fist fight, Rifle Club,
impulsive kids-will-be-kids pranks—
wistful memories. Black & white TV.
Now, high on classroom walls,
clocks still jump-tick the minutes while in
schooltown or uptown or downtown,
some kid faces a gun. The fear,
the pop, the bullet-tattoo, the smell,
the shock-startle of blood or pain
or Departure. Crossing Over.
Or Left Behind to remember always.
Words, thought, blood congeal
with Love and memory and shriveled years—
beside one more rag doll on a sidewalk,
on some classroom or living room floor.
Surgeons digging, blotting, stitching
like sweatshop girls working by the piece.
And the weight—of useless words, of endless grief,
of souls unable to float upward, pressed down
by the litter of child bodies.
Shadow children now,
exploding onto the screen,
into front page stories,
swelling into statistics,
shrinking into absolute silence.
Measured by relentless clocks
flashing precise seconds, minutes, months,
years of stone grief into soul darkness.
Those guns. That power.
What is it about a gun?
Weight and power and death in the hand?
And this waiting? Always this waiting.
What is it about a gun,
about Love spent to be buried?
Hope anorexic, flung out of reach?
If war-blood fed Flander’s poppies,
can these deaths feed Love and Hope?
Can we will Them to rise and rain down protection?
Can Love and Hope move us to act?
Can we believe in Them—like Spring, ticking,
pulsing under some grim snow.
Susan Wyant © 2018
© copyright 2006-2018 Susan D. Wyant, all rights reserved.
Please don't copy without my permission.