— the kick shocks your brain blank;
ears ringing, eye throbbing, you come awake
pelting down the street, gun clenched in
aching hand, father’s blood on rosy blouse,
red on red, buttoned up to flushed neck
dorkstyle. He'd shouted stupid little slut
you dress like a whore because he read
your diary, but the boy you want has never
talked to you, never noticed you, never
spread his father’s expensive brains
across the wall with a .44
why’d a jobless small-town surgeon
need to keep a macho hand cannon
in his desk, not safe-locked or nightstand-
handy for the stealthy midnight robber
he claimed would take your virginity,
his Callaway clubs, his Sony plasma TV,
his Rockwell prints, the Tiffany jewelry
Mom already hocked to keep family afloat
in the boring sea of bills he thought
was so below a hippocrate like him.
When he shouted you in for your exam
you remember the slide of the gun drawer
but nothing else, not ’til the pavement,
sweating, throat raw meat, stopping
in the blossoming dogwoods to shove
the gun into the front of your jeans
like some ghetto gangster on TV,
but you’re a skinny schoolgirl, nerd-
pale and invisible, so you run to safety,
the dark basement of the town library,
curl under a carrel, breathe comforting book
dust, dig through your change for a shiny penny
and wish for a waking dream, a wrinkle in time.
You open your eyes: the disaster’s mapped
in stark spatter over your favorite shirt,
you pull out his machine, press the cold barrel
to your honor-roll forehead and squeeze —

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