Put Himself DownbyDeepAsleep©
All that my father ever wanted
since the disease took his running legs
was to eat a fucking bullet.
His hands don't work,
so I had to cock the gun,
I had to do it for him, because
the man who
taught me to run,
taught me how to chop wood,
taught me to love women,
taught me girls were better
because god loved them more
for holding our future -
because this man’s hands didn’t work.
He held a gun before he ever held me
and no one said thank you for
doing what was asked of him,
“Thanks for stitching up our boys,
thanks for forgetting how to feel for a while,
thanks for having nightmares,
Thanks for not being able to walk, anymore.
Thanks for not being able to call
your own way out, anymore.”
And I pulled the slide back
on the gun he taught me
how to shoot,
how to hold,
how to respect.
It’s always loaded,
even when you take the bullets out,
even while you’re oiling the springs
and brushing out the barrel,
every gun is always loaded as long
as it’s still a gun, that’s what war taught.
And if a gun is always loaded,
you don't take your eyes off it -
not if you love your family.
He taught me not to bring death into
my house and I don’t own a gun,
but I cocked his to ease his mind,
cocked the gun that put down my dog
when she walked out into the night to
die alone and
that’s what he wants to do.
Wheel himself out into the night
and look up at the patterns of stars
that he taught me,
look there’s Venus and BANG,
there’s his blood reaching for the sky
with the hope that maybe a little
reflected starlight will catch up his heart,
carry it up to make a new constellation.
“The Veteran Father.”
But he won’t -
he never wanted to be cleaned up after.
I cocked the gun,
undid the safety.
I didn’t put any bullets in it.
The gun represents the security of knowing
that he won't have to roll instead of run forever.