The Air Rifle

by David Huddle

The double-barreled twelve gauge that knocked
even our father back a step when he fired it;
the pump-action twenty-gauge he later
gave to me; the pistol (Mother's favorite)
we thought was a Yankee's, its notched hammer
becoming its rear sight when it was cocked;
the damaged Kentucky long rifle;
two over-and-under shotgun-rifles;
and a thirty-thirty with a shiny stock.
In the room whose walls held all these weapons,
along with a dull dagger in a sheath
and a dinner horn for calling field hands,
I aimed a toy at my brother's ear, breathed
once, and triggered merely noise with my shot.

Last updated December 19, 2022