I wrote this a couple Mondays ago, started it during the reading, then wrote a kind of long piece later that night. It was four parts, sort of parallel, but telling different stories. I was a little tipsy by the end of it, and it ended up sort of long and rambly. This is a revision of the first section, which I read last night at Larry's.
And yes, believe it or not, this one is basically true.
My father would sit in the kitchen and shoot
Beebees in the direction of the dog
When he barked too loud
Or too long. They’re only beebees,
He’d say. They won’t really hurt him.
They fell harmlessly in the field
Behind the doghouse, decapitating
Weeds – Queen Anne’s Lace, wild alfalfa,
The grass my mother called Timothy. They lodged themselves
In the grooved crumbly bark of the oak tree,
And in the white-painted wood
Of the doghouse, all bleached and peeling.
And some struck his dusty black fur
Embedding themselves in the flesh of his flank
Or his shoulder. When I sat
In the yard and stroked his sun-warmed side
They felt like Braille where the skin
Had grown over the metal beads.
One day he must have turned his head
Hoping perhaps to meet the foe that stung
And a tiny lead sphere struck his nose.
I cried as I touched the cool moist black skin
Soft and giving except in one little tiny spot.