My grandpa taught me how to shoot a gun.
He took me raccoon hunting at night
and we baited the black bear in the daytime,
driving the back 80 dirt road in a rusty blue truck.
Our gun rack hung in the bathroom,
the bullets in the kitchen drawer.
The 8-point buck I shot on opening day,
trailed blood for a mile before I found him.
I rode the yellow bus to a private Catholic school in town,
sitting next to my seventh grade crush, John.
On a crisp Fall day,
John found his father’s loaded rifle hiding
in back of the coat closet. He called his friend.
They met in the woods behind 7-Eleven,
where his friend pointed the gun at him.
He pulled the trigger and
John drowned when his lungs filled with blood.
I never went hunting again.
Laura Lanik teaches high school social studies in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She is the founder and sole contributor to the book blog, Book Snob at http://www.booksnob-booksnob.blogspot.com Her writing has appeared in the Minnesota Women’s Press and Book Women magazine. This is her first published poem.