If my father believed he needed to arm himself against the insanely damaged carrying rapid-fire to end everyday schoolkids with still-squishy bodies perfecting daffy walks, or teens with their dreams of endless horizons after high school, some part of them knowing life doesn’t give up on its challenge but that youth is a superpower. Well, if my father owned a gun he’d have fumbled opening the safe, shouted at my mom and sisters to be careful as he lifted a lockbox from the safe, trembled working the lockbox and shaken on realizing nothing left to open but a box of bullets and opening that would call the question. He’d have howled there was no locked box in the lockbox in the safe, not that we ever owned a safe or lockbox to lock in it, insisted we were moving back to New York. My mother, who was Christian, would have taken gun and bullets from his twitching hand to load the pistol. She gave birth four times and also could drown mice in the toilet or a pail of water. She would not have shot anyone, would have denied the weapon existed then read Bible and attendant texts while my father, calmed by a shot of whisky, demanded to know if I had read Robert Louis Stevenson yet and if me and my three sisters, each far older than I will ever be, had a clue how brilliant Beethoven was.
Sarah Sarai is the author of That Strapless Bra in Heaven (Kelsay Books), Geographies of Soul and Taffeta (Indolent Books), and The Future is Happy (BlazeVox). Her poems are in or soon will be in Mollyhouse, Cider Review, Barrow Street, DMQ Review, The Southampton Review, and others. She lives in New York.
Image: “Annual 2017-2018” by Alan Coon