First Archery Lesson


a February rain
has soaked the grass
and the hay bales
no one shooting but me
as my teacher watches
I fumble with the arrow
and drop it
but when I reset it
and shoot it hits straight
on to the bullseye
and I fumble again
with the second
and again it falls
on the wet grass
but when I try again
it splits the first
right in the center
of the bullseye
my teacher shrugs
doesn’t smile
says I do it all the time
but for me
forever after
never again

Published in the June 2, 2017 issue: 

Ellen Cooney was born in 1948 and grew up in St. Louis, Missouri, and Montclair, New Jersey. She lives in San Francisco, California, and has written ten volumes of poetry published by Doir Press.

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