A Poem For Saturday


"Safe" by Aaron Smith:

We weren’t supposed to touch
              the guns lined up
under our parents’ bed, rifles
              for hunting, pistols for protecting
our home. The carpet was burning
              lava, we’d dangle our feet,
the barrels mysterious beneath us.
              Headstands on the floor,
inches from accident, from sadness,
              and always we knew not to tell.
Nobody home, I lay my body the length
              of the bed, all the barrels
facing out. I pressed my back against
              their silent ends, metal tips
poking neck and spine—a firing squad!
              a stickup! Sometimes I’d face
them, a microphone, or love
              their tiny lips—tongue-deep
between my teeth—practicing the first kiss
              the way my sister used her fist.

(From Appetite by Aaron Smith © 2012. Used by permission of the University of Pittsburgh Press. Photo by Flickr user JD_WMWM)