"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.