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Christmas Morning And B.B Guns
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Christmas Morning And B.B Guns

The feeling of being
Not Helpless
You didn’t know what helpless was
No matter how many times you’d read the words

wrestling on the cold, cold ground
excitement heightened by the danger of real injury
as the only girl in the pile.

jump up!

Take off for the lake
Where you aren’t supposed to go
It’s trespassing
but that word makes no more sense to you then helpless on Christmas morning

Off to play with the boys new toys
B.B guns
From Grandpa

Of course

You had gotten a doll

Of course

But all that was gone
As you’re racing, trying to keep up
with the long legs around you
You’re older than the one but he is still so much larger
panting, chest heaving

You’re there!

Stand and stare as though you’ve never seen it before
Ice crusting the edges of the lake
Almost dripping off the trees
You can suddenly hear the grass crunching under your feet

Silence is broken as you confer what to shoot
A target

An unsteady shot rings as you wait your turn
The wide brown eyes of your cousin-twin
The one almost just your age
Looks at you in wild fright

did he hit it?
did he hit that poor bird?
you wait
Nothing drops

He can’t have
It’s fine

You are to scared to take your turn
Next thing you know
Feet pounding back to the house

You rush into the kitchen filled
With comforting smells

Voices yelling about running, and shoes
Knocking over the pot
And those damn guns in the house
“You’ll shoot something, put them away.”

For a moment you are sure guilt screams from your faces
Then “You three” dissolve into helpless giggles
As it turns in your mind to adventure
As the innocent dangers and frights of childhood do

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Langston Hughes


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