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Poem from:

The Quiet Jars: New & Selected Poems by Ron Houchin

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Shooting the Moon

Houchin, Ron

(1957)

Iíd fire arrows and BBs at it
by the score, never thinking what
target they finally found.

What is the moon? I kept asking.
Godís shield?  The Devilís mirror?
Itís not the perfect blister on a black foot

or the green cheese my grandfather grinned
about.  In the flat earth of my youth, I believed
only in the plain, not in books.  

Trust was straight and close cropped 
like my hair.  Why couldnít I hit 
the crescent, hanging like a banana,

with my .22?  The ammo box read,
Range: one mile.  How far could it be?
I was ten by Halloween that year 

it hung orange as a pumpkin overhead,
Godís trick-or-treat mask.  I aimed up
and up with the 12 gauge from my uncleís 

closet and waited for the wind to die down.
No fluttering leaves in the line of fire.
With the gun butt snug against my shoulder,

I squinted at the shadow of the nose
and squeezed the trigger as Iíd been shown.
Light spread over the barrel, each pellet

burned into the sky.  Shot sprayed
down round me again, likeÖspit, 
from how far?

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