The Day I Bought a Gun
Fall Poetry Contest - Top Ten Finalist
"What about this one?" I asked the clerk.
"Tell me about this one."
"It's twenty-two caliber," he said. "Semi-automatic."
"Would it kill a mountain lion?" I asked.
"No," he said. "It's not that powerful.
It could kill a rabbit."
"I won't use it on rabbits," I told him,
"but could it kill a coyote that attacked my horses?"
"Yes," he said, "it could."
"In one shot?" I asked him.
"Probably more than one," he said.
"And you must take care not to hit the horses."
"How well would it kill a rabid dog?" I asked.
"Fine, if you shoot it between the eyes
once it gets close," he said.
"Would it kill a rattlesnake that was on my porch?"
"Yes," he said. "But use a garden hose first.
Wash the snake off of the porch and into the grass.
Then shoot it when it gets away from the house."
"Then what?" I asked.
"Chop off its head," he said, "and bury it.
It can still bite you after it is dead."
"And my drunk neighbor, the one who yells at me
whenever he has had too much?
I'm afraid to go outside anymore."
"You will be as free to walk in your own yard
as if you are invisible," he said.
"And this won't kill a man, if I shoot him with it?
It will only hurt him enough to scare him off?"
"If you buy it, I'll show you how to load it," he said.