Sarah Carson

Brother Says in 1996, He Saw His Buddy Shoot A Girl

And I say, Oh, love, I say,
no, oh god, no, you didn’t.
I say, maybe if you think about it
you only dreamed you did.
I say, maybe if you think about it
you’ll decide you only thought
he could have and imagined it.
I say, maybe, worst case scenario
you’ll remember there were
a lot of accidents that year.
I say, no, sweetheart, you didn’t
see your buddy shoot a girl;
you saw Independence Day
and got a little too excited;
you saw the brick blow out
of the federal building;
you saw America and you thought,
“Well, this must be all there is.”
Maybe you saw grandma turn out
the hallway lights and a flash
of filament burned in your eyes
before you creeped out the back door.
Maybe you saw your buddy
across the watermelon field
and thought, “Fuck, who are you
to pull so much good fruit from the vine.”
But, no, baby, you did not see your buddy
shoot a girl in 1996 because I saw
you shoot her: once to cut her down.
Six more for the place in the small
of her back she never let anyone
touch. I saw you do it like I saw you
cradle the dog in your arms
where the grass met the creekbed.
I saw you do it in every photograph,
in every letter you’ve sent home.

Sarah Carson's work has appeared in Columbia Poetry Review, Cream City Review, Nashville Review, New Orleans Review, and Whiskey Island, among others. She is also the author of the books Poems in which You Die (BatCat Press) and Buick City (Mayapple Press).