Our father relented about BB guns,
gave me a shiny new one for my birthday,
excited to try it in the Forest Preserve.
It was sunny and bright
when my brother and I took turns,
like in Christmas Story, shot down imaginary foes.
We didn’t see them, we brothers
who laughed and traded our toy between us,
didn’t see the neighborhood boys emerge
from the thicket, a smirk of conquest
planted on their faces, a snarl:
What have we here!
Did Daddy give you a gun?
Too dangerous. Might hurt you.
Lifted me upside down,
shoved dirt in my mouth,
grabbed the gun from my brother,
threw him to the ground.
He rose like an angry snake, attacked them.
A quick, hard punch, his nose spewed blood.
I knelt beside him as they strode away,
their cackles never forgotten, nor the ping pings
as the gun became their birthday present instead.
My brother became a master carpenter,
fashioned custom furniture,
now creates only for friends.
I taught special ed children, whose families
sometimes punched them in the nose,
forgot about their birthdays.
Never knew what became of those brothers.
Some don’t redeem themselves. Some do.
ONE WHO LISTENED
Albert Camus died in a car crash at 47
push the rock
up, up, down,
up, up, down,
Sisyphus no myth,
born from a Plague,
you should not have listened,
died because you listened.
What of the sayer,
the one who spoke,
the one you listened to?
Your Editor persuaded:
“Drive to Paris, Albert;
It is so much faster than the plane.
We say because we say.
We cannot put our hands
over our minds.
The grief of the Editor:
“O, Albert, what the world lost
because you listened,
A retired special education teacher, Vern Fein has published over one hundred fifty poems on over sixty sites, a few being: *82 Review, Bindweed Magazine, Gyroscope Review, Courtship of Winds, Young Raven’s Review, Nine Muses, Monterey Poetry Review, and Corvus Review.