Savannah Sipple is from Beattyville, Kentucky, and is currently working on a collection of persona poems set in one small Appalachian town. Her work has been featured in Appalachian Heritage, The Louisville Review, New Southerner, and Motif 3: All the Livelong Day. She writes about poetry at Structure and Style.
Catherine Strong, 17
My left eye is stronger than my right,
so I tilt the gun to that side.
This is called canting.
Bub’s been to war and come home
to teach me how to take care of myself.
I don’t care what he says, he has knowledge
I will never grasp. He says his .45
is different than my .22, but that’s no reason
to be afraid of the one he packs on his hip.
The M1911 weighs my hand down,
makes me hold tight, for fear
of backfire, of a black eye, of blood.
I am surprised it doesn’t fly back
and hit me the first time I shoot,
but I have a strong grip.
The paper target tied to the tree
has holes in all the right places.
Damn, you ain’t half bad, sis.
I never wanted to learn, grew up afraid
of guns, even the ones in my house,
but there’s a thrill in loading the magazine,
the way each bullet slides into place,
the way it blasts into
the paper vandal, the way each hole
feels jagged as I roll up the target.
I feel high and sick all at once,
like the bad guy is gone,
like my fear got scared off, like Bub might
have to go back and use even bigger guns again,
like two wrongs might really make a right.
Read Savannah Sipple's previous work in Still
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