on my seventh birthday by Michelledion Matthews


on my seventh birthday

dad teaches me how to fire a rifle cleanly
piercing targets dead center

cold blue-black bullets
smacking and puncturing
the pink skin of innocent balloons
unassuming pepsi cans
makeshift bulls-eyes scribbled on pizza boxes

i fire
dropthegunanddash
to admire the wounds i made
bubblegum rubber shriveled like terrible skin
shiny aluminum torn by a pointed head
cardboard corpses flaunting their battle wounds

dad says “all you do is pretend
the target is something you hate.”

i think of fractions
with mismatched bottoms that i can’t add
i think of tiffany-know-it-all
the slim blond at school who calls me whale girl
i think of dad
i fire cleanly

                – Michelledion Matthews
                   from Words Dance 3, Winter 2003