Bullet Holes In Backyards

Wound up
some nights
I go out to think…

Of all the truths we share
there are little reminders we choose to keep hidden
fix up the front porch

but bullet holes in backyards
they go on…

We may not know what they mean
but we know they speak
of a scarred and pock-marked past

Did the children stand beside the pond
where they were sprayed and felled
did the family huddle close to the brickwork
razed by mad ideals

The past has cratered skin
the past erodes, underfoot

But bullet holes in backyards
they go on…

Some nights I go out
some nights when we fight
I light a cigarette
draw it deep
and push my fingertips into
into…

Bullet holes in backyards
they go on

Each scratch, each groove
shifts my perspective
chills my fiery mood

And I can go back inside…

Dedicated to (but in no way about) Harry O’Neill. His shared memories and comments were such a great part of WOL and he is missed. He responded to this poem very generously and reflected on his past in a way that meant so much to me.

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