Christopher Forrest: Bullet Holes and Grief (a poem)

Southern Legitimacy Statement: Vanceboro tobacco made it possible for me to internet you these poems. So cheers to generations that burned trash, gave scraps to dogs, sang Friday night gospel at Dudley’s Crossroads, and my unbreakable love for Dixie Queen.

Bullet Holes and Grief

There are trees
in Vanceboro, North Carolina
full of bullet holes.

I’m seven and every age
since I became ready
to take a life.

I think you think the killing
will be the bonding. You took
out your hearing aids
and think you’re whispering

there. steady. he’s beautiful.

I exhale the way
you taught me, focus
on the birch tree just
beyond the deer.

I always hit the trees.

Your hands shake now
and somehow I’m old enough
to be to someone else
what you always were for me.

And I hate hurting
the trees, but every hole
means a little bit more
time and a little more life.

There are trees
in Vanceboro, North Carolina
full of bullet holes. I hate hurting
the trees, but something has to die.

Written by

Dead Mule Staff