Grandfather’s Gun

A gun is hidden behind the bedroom door
And I wonder what’s it for.
I am but a child,
And though imaginations do run wild,
I’m not even sure what in the hell is a gun for.

Is it an air rifle, is it a shotgun?
Curiosities run amock,
Atrocities agonize the mind,
But the brain to that door will always flock.
I’m not even sure what in the hell is that gun for.

I want to hold this gun,
Perhaps because of the danger it unknowingly unlocks,
Perhaps because I am a girl and I won’t get to hold it otherwise.
Oh, it does stand there and it mocks,
I’m not even sure what it is for!

Was it meant for war
Or just for shows of masculinity?
Was it to scare wild creatures
Or to shoot a man dead?
These thoughts wouldn’t occur to a child,
They only arrived now in adulthood
And they haunt me just as well.
Would it be different if I had instead met boyhood?
Would I actually know what it was for?

There is war in my mind
And I’ve never crossed that reality myself.
I’m thankful for the peace I know,
I’m grateful for those willing to face cold violence for me.
I grieve the war that met my grandfather
And the conflicts he fought for all of us.
We know peace even if it feels shattered,
We owe him peace even brokenhearted.
I don’t think I want to know what that gun was for, now.

There’s a war in my mind
And I’m still gathering the burning pieces of memories,
And holding on to the life that still subsists.
The Lord knows how I fight to do this family justice
In time and memory,
In poems and in glory.
No gun can ever shoot these efforts down.
War may not be eternal, but I know neither is peace.
I wonder if I should pick up that gun, regardless.

I now buried my grandfather’s hat
And the gun no longer hides behind the bedroom door.
Does it?
I haven’t gone to look for it in a while.
I’m an no longer a child,
But Lord knows my imaginations still fly wild…
I believe I should let that gun go
And not look for it anymore,
As I won’t have the guts to ever shoot it.

I wish I was stronger, but I am just a poet…
I write prayers now instead,
I write in hopes I will maintain the peace,
But my mind is always at war.
I suppose it’s a war that has been in this family’s blood.
But I’m meant to keep the peace,
It’s the job that’s been assigned to me
And I’ve only known how to do this my entire life.
I can’t just pick up a gun and go about searching war.

We now know peace and owe peace
To my grandfather’s daring.
We must honor that peace,
In time and memory,
In poems and in glory.
I shall leave the gun alone,
Where it always stood,
And wherever it should stand now.

I bid farewell to the curious child,
So I can make peace with my mind.
And for however long it lasts,
I shall write poems.
And I shall pray for our souls.
For war is too unthinkable,
Too unsettling, too indescribable…
And God knows what people have done to keep it off our doorstep,
Let alone our bedroom door.

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