Caper's Poets

Defending The Valley — Derek Richards

there’s a shoulder bruise from a shotgun
nearly as sore as the ache
in the center of my chest.
mary-ellen tells me she’s pregnant
and the rebels have taken another mountain.

i could use a mug of hot coffee
or a swig of grandad’s whiskey.
it’s colder this summer than any winter night.

those first gunshots,
those first villages burning,
armed with an axe slicing firewood,
sneaking kisses from my wife.

twenty-two names came across the river
spoken solemnly by a teenage boy.
his horse staggered, exhausted,
but the boy urged him on down the Old Road,
twenty-two names fast.

mary-ellen would like a daughter
but we need a son.
all that white powder drifting down from the mountains.
blue-eyed skinny boys expertly load automatics
and we’ve got farmers armed with rusted rakes.

Captain, I believe you scored six across the stream?
my nephew examines me; he wants to smile.
Are you shooting, Hedik, or are you counting?
Shooting sir, but I’ve got two eyes.


Filed under: Derek Richards, Issue 3, ,

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