Two punks blew away an old couple in Rockingham.
I bought a pistol.
Years of Hopalong Cassidy, Roy Rogers, Gunsmoke,
Dragnet, Hill Street Blues and 48 Hours
incarnate it by the beside lamp
and it beats like The Tell-Tale Heart
this first night.
Its cold-blooded steel. Its metallic smell.
The hole in its barrel, a black hole eye, stares at me.
Unblinking. Damned eye!
Safety off. Seventeen-round clip full. The red bar signals
a 9mm brass hollow-point round sleeps in its chamber.
March wind blows in bursts. Power goes out. Fuck.
Did the stairs creak? Wind? A twig against the window?
Gusts in the chimney—did I close the damper?
Whack! Just something striking the gutter.
When wind lulls, my heart nearly seizes.
The doorknob—turning? Yes? No? Did I lock it?
I reach for it, and grip, finger curled. Quivering.
Carotid artery pulses. Is the red bar visible?
Too dark to see.
Its steel chamber beats louder—and louder—and louder.
- Peter C. Venable 2014
Peter has written both free and metric verse for over fifty years and has been published in a number of poetry journals, such as American Vedantist, Vineyards, The Christian Communicator (3 issues and one forthcoming), Third Wednesday, Time of Singing (twice), Parody, The Merton Seasonal, Crux Literary Journal and forthcoming in The Laughing Dog, Windhover - A Journal of Christian Literature and Vox Poetica.