Poetry: Brooke Sheridan


Down Time

Sun bakes the mud spills make
in the sand. Hajis launch white phosphorous
over the wall and burn
their own men.
Fluorescents blink
then hum again.
In the lulls, we play
war games with cards
and laugh at our kills.
The day that Christmas rain churns,
I catch drops on my tongue like snow.
A mom must have mailed the plastic wreath
tied to the grille,
allowed for a day.
A picture: me and shell casings, empty turret,
a dark local mustachioed with abandon
smiling sideways
at my blue eyes.
Other ghosts.

Target Practice

I expect a sharp crack to echo
the abandoned gravel pit but you trick me
with empty chambers, my arm jumps
and you laugh, “Don’t anticipate.” The little
.22 pistol jams, you cuss and throw it back
into the truck. “I’ll fix it later.” We move on
to the rest of your arsenal. Just as well,
the .22 doesn’t satisfy, a soft pop. Now
I am an outlaw with the .44 aimed at a renegade
milk jug. “Squeeze with the meat of your finger,
gently.” A .44 would blow a hole through you
grapefruit size, this range. I am a femme fatale
with the .38 – perfect, dense in my hand. “Exhale,
then go.” I breathe in and when I breath out
the jug flies, a startled duck.

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