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they came home from summer camp skin peeling away from their faces in bright red patches revealing newness underneath they have learned to shoot rifles I asked what next? bottles, birds, beasts larger they spoke of father's gun once carefully hidden locked away unloaded with its bullets in the six-numbered combination safe loaded now, stored on a high closet shelf standing in the back corner on tip-toe the smooth dull blackness can be seen the edges, outline viewed with awe proper reverence given to the dark instrument destruction its sole purpose what fear has brought this man his sole purpose to heal deftly sewing skin back in proper place his ungainly hands touching, poking, prodding, searching for the cause of discomfort his patients' eyes full of trust and pain now when his eldest creeps in through an unlocked window, upsetting the alarm in the dead of night once again forgetting her key running through the dark house to turn off the deafening blast reaching for the gun in a sleepy drunken stupor only thought of an intruder as a second blast rings out lying in a swiftly widening pool of crimson his eyes widen in recognition mine return his gaze full of trust and pain.
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