—Harts, West Virginia, 1889
The shot fired from her brother’s pistol,
that wretched girl watched it, the small cloud escape
into air, the discharge
of powder: clan of motes, that dark swarming
of fate behind the trigger. Loved it
every time: the jolt inside her ribs, the ringing inside
her head she’d transform into cathedral music
she’d never heard. It would always
hollow out that stuffy space, the barn loft
muffled with sweet hay.
She saw my daddy thump onto the road,
I’m sure, the dust rising like ash
in our cold firebed, stirred.
I try to imagine her; but that’s all it is—me
trying to be that girl—here
as my mother readies to shoot
the man who made her a widow.