November 4, 2011

Pat Durmon

CONSTELLATIONS

Two obvious facts: he had hit his target squarely
and he wore the trace of a frown on his face.
I turned to make certain
of the rarely changing constellation
for which his targets had some fame.
It had been a direct hit, slightly off-center.

Afterwards, I drew back to the laundry room,
knowing my husband would plod back to his shop
to break the rifle down to its smallest component.
He would probe and stroke every tiny part,
looking for some piece of grit or tiny burr
throwing it off. Probably he would finger the stock
up and down, up and down. Then there’d be a deep
breath—a rifle needs to be tight and shoot true
or it’s sure death
, he’d said.

He does no less if all goes sour
between him and me. That, he cannot abide:
he’ll calculate close and push me to talk and talk
to clean out all my grime and grit.
This, no different. The man is set on catching it
before it goes too far askew. Dark will be walking
our way soon. On this moonless night

we will sit silent side-by-side, bundled in a blanket
for an hour under the power of a clear wintry sky.
We will look at perfect constellations
being birthed—a common miracle around here.

from Rattle #25, Summer 2006