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North American Dreaming: Johnny

Some “toys’’ are not for the exploring fingers of young children, as William Burkholder’s poem reveals.

Do visit Troubadour21 magazine which Bill co-edits www.troubadour21.com

Neglected, loaded,
lying on the shelf,
Saturday night special,
chambered rounds
itching
cylinders
confinement.

Little hands,
little hands playing,
boredom makes its call
telling them
to search and explore.

Standing on hatboxes
Mom brought from the store,
climbing and fumbling,
cylinder tumbling,
brass cased cartridges shining.

Spying down the barrel
to see that glow,
curiosity of this little cat
takes it toll.

The hammer drops,
the round it pops,
crimson paints the walls.

And down the stairs,
and around the hall,
Mother calls his name,

"Johnny?"

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