Assult Rifles Are For Pussies

Not knowing any better
or unreasonably toying
carelessly with chance and risk
I've come real close
to killing a person
or an animal:

we were in the new house,
1975
down a long dirt road
off the pavement
on a river
deep in the woods
and that first full morning
my mother was painting the walls
naked inside the hot humid house,
she told me to stay on the cement porch
and keep an eye out
where I played with the dogs,
our dog and the neighbor's
big black Belgian shepherd named Norton
when, after a while
two men carrying guns
were coming off the dirt road
and down the path to our house,
I darted in, told mom to get her clothes on
and the men introduced themselves as friends of my slick stepdad's,
Dr. Marshall Gentry, a podiatrist
and Dr. Thurgood Feelish, a pediatrician,
they told me they liked to play with guns,
that they sold them to cops and F.B.I from time to time,
they unloaded a shotgun into a few really big trees
and I was feeling happy that the trees were too big to die or fall down, just as mom came out
they were helping me with a Sterling British submachine gun
fitted with a suppressor
that Dr. Gentry rested on the iron rail that ran around the porch
I pulled the trigger tentatively at first,
firing a bullet into the river,
then one of the doctors told me I could just
hold it down,
“it’s automatic” he said
and I saw the silent bullets
raining onto the surface of the green river,
Norton chasing them,
just playing,
snapping at them with his jaws,
he wants to catch them I thought
and I got cold and sweaty and stopped shooting
the quiet rushing up on me
filling the space
where I was almost a murderer,
where
I dreamed up an apology
for Norton’s owner.