The one time her father
put a gun in her hand,
my wife shot until
a shell rattled inside her
goggles, the casement
a coal flung from the barrel.
She knows how much
fire weighs more than I do.
I never saw her staring
down the sight, ordered
to stamp the target
on the chest.
As we pass the shooting
range, she starts
when I grab her hand;
how like a heart,
her knuckles clench
and clench again.
The bump onto the onramp woke us from our phones
as we saw the highway our bus jerked onto,
the operator not saying we were taking a detour
until we were merging into traffic. Downtown,
a marathon was stomping on bus lanes in bibs and
track shorts. Our stop was shoved to the finish line;
I was pushed into a crowd, learned to share space
by watching it taken away as joggers skipped down
avenues taped shut. As a kid, I never had the luxury
of stepping off the curb without looking both ways;
not since the night I heard the shriek of brakes
from the basement, the hammer of skull on hood,
an engine tearing up the street, its license plate
a flash. Neighbors came to their porches, then
the street, then the ambulance, Cameron’s mother
moaning after the sirens stopped. Running in a street is
no different than running through a cemetery. I don’t
want to count how many people I have stepped over
because I’m afraid, not of seeing a face I recognize,
but my own, stamped in pavement by treads
who didn’t know I was in their way.
Geoff Anderson curated Columbus, OH’s first poetry shows for biracial writers (The Other Box), translation (Lingua Franca), and immigration (New World). He’s a Callaloo fellow and his chapbook, Humming Dirges, won Paper Nautilus’s Debut Series (2017). He has work on/forthcoming in Tinderbox, Juked, Southern Indiana Review, and www.andersongeoff.com.