Perry Janes: Shooter

There are things I don’t know,
can’t know, and maybe don’t want to,
including what a man’s teeth look like
through a rifle’s magnifying scope. Tonight
a frightened anchor on the radio reports
a gunman stalking Interstate 96 firing
into backseats, windshields, drivers behaving

erratically, causing pile-ups. I’m sick of
God and his potholes, the many mouths
opening relentlessly, beneath. Tonight
a costumed boy with ketchup-
colored wounds pressed in his gut
will ring my doorbell with hands held out
expecting something sweet. The truth?
All I want is to sit on the living room
couch with my mother, my father, and not
imagine them as ghosts. To hold
the teacup handle of my lover’s wrist
and not to feel for fractures. O eye
on the highway, muzzled median, bullet
meant for my seat: I too have sought
to slow the snaking blur that passes
every afternoon. To cradle something
cold against my chest and feel the judder
as it kicks from my grasp, away.
When I think of you, I imagine just
barely escaping. Your index finger leads
my car’s bald tires. Maybe this is love,
not pulling the trigger. Maybe no one
will ever know me so completely. Tonight
all I have is enough to feel grateful for.
My parents in their bodies, my lover in hers.
A parade of costumed children bravely
trying on their deaths. The boy
at my door smiling,
those teeth—

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