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Loaded, a poem by Laurel Smith


Back then he showed me
how to assemble the farm
tool I did not want
to touch: a small gauge rifle.

My hesitation
surprised him: his mother
and sister shot well,
their loyalty to homegrown food
justice enough for dealing death

to fat groundhogs or
teenage racoons.  I could see
the logic of knowing
what every farm kid knew,
but I didn’t like any of it,

not aiming at a can
on a bloodless fence post,
not pulling the trigger. 

Laurel Smith lives in Vincennes, Indiana, and happily participates in projects to promote literacy and the arts. Her poems have appeared in Natural Bridge, New Millennium Writings, Tipton Poetry Journal, Flying Island, English Journal, JAMA: Journal of the AMA; also in the following anthologies: Mapping the Muse, And Know This Place, Visiting Frost.