The Tale Of The Ithaca Shotgun

My father once owned
an Ithaca shotgun
he got from a kid at his job
who was going to Vietnam
and couldn’t take it with him

12 gauge with a monster kick
that knocked my six year old ass
right down the one time I shot it
Weird looking gun with a lever
that broke it open
at the barrel for loading
Good for birds and pests
and not much else

No idea when or where he sold it
or gave it away or turned it in
but now and then
I think about its oaken stock
and wonder about
how the kick would feel to me
now that I’m grown

Last night I dreamed I was living
in a condo somewhere not here
and a boy with bright eyes
knocked on my door
and asked for his gun back
I said didn’t have it
and told him the name
of the town where I grew up
and if was looking for his gun
he should knock on their doors
He nodded and turned away
to walk there in his combat boots
to go ask people he’d never seen
for a gun long ago lost

I saw him join
all the rest of the ghost boys
from all the rest of history
thronging the streets
asking strangers for their guns
because they knew that if only
they could fire them one more time
they’d remain standing up after the kick
this time they wouldn’t fall down

My shoulder aches for them
Aches for the gun my father got rid of
Aches for wanting to handle correctly
what I could not when I was young

Just another ghost boy
citizen of a dead nation
a whole nation of us

imagining a gun
that we could master this time
to feel masterful
and grown

About Tony Brown

A poet with a history in slam, lots of publications; my personal poetry and a little bit of daily life and opinions. Read the page called "About..." for the details. View all posts by Tony Brown

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