POEM: four pounds of pressure

elkmist

four pounds of pressure

he’s in the living room, can of beer
in one meaty, sweating hand
seemed like some harmless fun
they took a couple rifles up the elk range
watched the huge bulls tramp down the frozen grass
he remembers sighting along the barrel
seeing the rack like the leafless
branches of a winter-struck oak
even now, after a day has passed
he’s not sure what made him shoot
the clickbang of the rifle followed
a split-second later by the imagined sound
of splintering bone as the big bull dropped
its herd mates scattering into the trees
his buddies clapping him on the back
full of liquid courage and testosterone
now he waits for the knock on the door
the series of sharp raps that mean jail
he imagines the faces of his elderly parents
the murmurs and sideways glances of neighbors
his life forever changed by four pounds of pressure

8 January 2014
State College, PA

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This poem was inspired by this story.

Image by Carol Mulvilhill.

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