Attention clicks, blinks,
focusing—chambers clean
on each gun as it’s fully

loaded: marks at 50,
100 yards, 200 yards.
Slick shells scatter

like flies from a feast
of road kill. We are
shooting my dad’s 4-10,

30-ought-6—my best friend’s
.308 pistol he bought
six months after

losing his last gun:
an antique Luger
with a swastika

scratched out on its pearl-
smooth grip. (The sheriff
took it in a drug bust, then—

rumor has it.) He likes
this new gun, he tells me,
even more than the first.

It’s much lighter—
but uses the same
hollow points—takes

mere seconds to load,
even with a big clip—
is concealed easily,

and can be drawn
quickly if a situation
seems to require it.

“Pure speed,” he says,
“means everything. And
don’t you forget that.”

We are practicing shots
we know we’ll never take,
since we rarely lock

any doors here—just
gun cabinets, tool sheds,
sometimes cars that seem

worth protecting. But
who’d boost one of ours?
Mine’s a blue Chevy, busted up

something awful. And
my friend’s has a warrant
or two out on it—I think

maybe for speeding
or some other shit—so
no one will steal that.

-after Yusef Komunyakaa