I fall from my own hands.
I had a father who had no guns. Nor did he use the word guns.
Each autumn he’d tell me, Don’t play in the woods.
Wait until hunting season ends.
Once, before I was born, my father bought a house.
Our home on a hill at the edge of the woods
These days, at the edge of my life, there’s a man who says,
You should write a poem about that. Not the home I mentioned
or its autumns. He wants me to write about misplaced keys,
seeing my dentist, vegetable stands by the roadside in Oregon.
Good subjects, I reply. You need to write your own stuff.
My childhood home was not for sale
when my father purchased it. He knocked on a door
and encountered the owner, gun in hand, a solitary senior
who was soothed into listening, laying aside, letting go.
The seller had never lived any place but there.
The man who wants me to write his poems has lived in two places,
there and here. There, everyone in town kept guns but no one
dreamt of shooting a neighbor. Here, it’s populous and sprawly
with artists and other god-only-knows. But he likes me.
Or did until I mentioned how my father conducted business.
Two Places called me divisive, stormed off to his cabinet to brood.
I wish he’d unlock it and lift out his fear, stock by barrel by gleam.
It’s good to forge poems from the molten steel of fear.
I go visit the man at the edge of the woods
who has never lived any place but there.